Le Dodici Città Ideali, 1971

As a conceptual and anti-conformist project, the “Twelve Ideal Cities” formed a series of “counter utopias with a cathartic brief”: each one of the 12 tales imagined by Gian Piero Frassinelli uses a narrative accompanied by drawings and collages to describe the physiognomy of a city, by extrapolating the concepts of modern urbanism: “zoning”; “industrialization”; “users’ needs”; “dwelling cells”, etc. The horror of the resulting visions was meant to bestir everyone to an awareness of the alienation and absurdity of the world. So the first city (called “2000 Ton City” because a heavy platform fell onto those rebelling against the system) consisted in a division of the territory into huge squares of nature by narrow blade-walls containing individual cells measuring 2.25 x 2.25 metres. Contemporary with the publication of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, this radical project dealt a new blow to urbanism, which was thus demystified and deeply shaken in its certainties.

Aurélien Vernant

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