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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, November 21, 2008
    Naked no longer
     
    The Naked City, a map by Debord, illustrates the Situationists' concern with the construction and perception of urban space. The map consists of 19 cut-out sections of a map of Paris, printed in black ink, which are connected with red arrows. With its invention of quarters, its shifting about of spatial relations, and its large white blanks of non-actualized space, The Naked City visualizes a fragmented city that is both the result of multiple restructuring of a capitalist society, and the very form of a radical critique of this society. [Tom McDonough]

    The Naked City was by far the most famous image to come out of situationism, and perhaps deservedly so. Its arresting, matter-of-fact design simultaneously mourned the loss of old Paris, prepared for the city of the future, explored the city’s structures and uses, criticized traditional mapping, and investigated the relationship between language, narrative, and cognition. [
    Simon Sadler]
    I've been living with Guy Debord and his chopped-up maps all this week, and so you might understand why, when I stopped my studying this afternoon and turned my mind towards how to illustrate this year's home-made Christmas card, I came up with the idea of revising The Naked City for the end of European Capital of Culture year. So I've cleared out Debord's little bits of Paris, altered the title, apologised to the late revolutionary in the bottom right-hand corner for what I'm about to do to his work, and am chopping up tiny pictures to stick in the appropriate places. Question for me is: Debord's map came without any explanation. Dare I - who enjoys writing so much - stay true to the situationist spirit and produce a Christmas letter without words? Somehow I doubt it.