fragment on the city as symbolic communication

 

By day, the city is made of flesh and stone.   

It is a binary field of openings and constraints.  

It is produced and programmed by a social order in which phenomena—whether the rise of a new parking garage or the opening of a soup kitchen—have contingent but no less definite sets of meanings.  

It stares back, and it anxiously resists a sense of play,

The temporal signature of the daytime city is flux.

 

The nighttime city is a web of electric lights.

It invites stochastic, incidental correspondences of subjective meaning.  

When I was a child, my mother warned me that there was a giant gorilla living in the blue lantern at the top of the Industrial Trust Building.  I worried that the beast might wake in a thrashing rage at any moment.  

It is half-blind, and lends itself to imaginative re-inscriptions.

The temporal signature of the nighttime city is the flicker.

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