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La Placita, La Futura

La Placita, La Futura

La Placita, La Futura is both a mini-exhibition catalog for the culminating work of the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative's 2014 Summer Institute, and also a provocation about new ways to see the city. It contains descriptions of 18 projects conducted over the course of the Institute, as well as 6 beautiful stories about imaginary cities written in the style of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities.

"Let me tell you about Una: the threshold city of cities, gateway to the Five Wonders beyond. The roaring din screeches to a halt, and you shed your exoskeleton. You emerge up through ruptures in the ground; she awakens you with dazzling light. The smell of decay dissipates. Your skin warms under the glaring sun and your eyes focus on a bench here, a waterfall there, a picturesque lookout point. A cascade of clouds suspend and protect you from the scorching sunshine.

Motionless exoskeletons discarded below remain as fragments of decadence…fragments of a land where travelers encounter one another with fixed gazes and fixed itineraries. Above, without an armour, you become a part of the society ordered not by distinctions of wealth or authority, but rather governed by an ideal of collective motion. In Una, lifestyles from all trades collide; merchants, pilgrims and laborers’ paths intersect. You cannot say that one aspect of the city is truer than the other, but you hear of Una above as something unmistakable, rare, and perhaps ecstatic.

Una is inclined to behave with vibrancy. I will describe to you her fluorescence and tell you how she whispers in your ear of freedom. Inhabitants delight in her momentum, moving you ever downward to the Five Wonders. You have always an option of pathways. Standing from the top of her sloping mountain, you are reminded of water flowing as if carrying sailors, swimmers, and swans, and pausing to let them off to share merriment, dancing, and gossip. The hovering cloud cover beckons you to stroll with others, liberated from anonymity. Even at a glance, you imagine the pleasure of sliding down, the sensation on your skin as you are propelled across the expanse of space. At the bottom of her reaches: samba dancers, accountants, trombonists, and senators gather as they approach the city walls looming ahead. After you return from the Five Wonders, it is a slow climb back to the top of Una."

Todd Presner, Dana Cuff, Jonathan Crisman, Yoh Kawano, Jia Gu, AK Munaim, Carla Salehian, Jonathan Banfill, Kyra Bauman, Salim Bamakhrama, Humberto Castro, Tsu Chin Chen, Andre Comandon, Chi Dang, Ellen Gerdes, Deonte Harris, Claudia Huang, Ji Eun Lee, Fang-Ru Lin, Luis Ochoa, Lucia Phan, Graham Pugh, Wanmeng Ren, Rosaleen Rhee, Cameron Woods Robertson, Xiaopeng Shen, Addie Shrodes, Di Song, Melody Wu, Emily Helen An-Mei Yen, Sarah Yoshida, Jenny Yu, Noah Zaccaglini

Numbered edition of 80 books, Risograph printed with orange and black inks, and hand cut and prong fastener bound. Published September 12, 2014.

Editor: Jonathan Crisman
Publisher: UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative
Printer: No Style Press
Size: 4.25x5.5”
Pages: 48