Zaira, City of High Bastions
Typographic Structure
This three-dimensional structure is a typographic interpretation of a chapter from Italo Calvino's 1972 novel Invisible Cities, in which a city constructed entirely of memories is described to Mongol emperor Kublai Khan by Italian explorer Marco Polo. The structure is composed of deconstructed images (from photographs taken in the Kensington Market neighbourhood of downtown Toronto) & deconstructed type (Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk), assembled in an unplanned, random mode similar to that of Surrealist automatism. This particular version is the fourth iteration of the structure. 
In vain, great-hearted Kublai, shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of high bastions. I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways...
But I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...
...the height of a lamppost and the distance from the ground of a hanged usurper's swaying feet; the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite...
...the firing range of a gunboat which has suddenly appeared beyond the cape and the bomb that destroys the guttering...
...the three old men seated on the dock mending nets and telling each other for the hundredth time the story of the gunboat of the usurper, who some say was the queen's illegitimate son...
As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira today should contain all Zaira's past.
The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps...