Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Rome Journal: Pluperfect
"Pluperfect" watercolor by Hallie Cohen
Rome is an archeological site.
Layers of history co-exist with an urban infrastructure that allows the current
iteration of civilization to perpetuate itself.
Railway lines run alongside ancient aqueducts. Futuristic structures, remnants of the Mussolini era, are punctuated by arches and monumental
sculptures that reflect both a nostalgia and idealization of the classical age.
The juxtapositions on almost any street corner of the city can be surreal and
the contemporary culture often reflects these contrarieties. A former power station becomes an exhibition space for antiquities. There are
tracks everywhere, but the timeline is the subliminal means of transport by
which the populace navigates its daily destiny. Nature itself is less
predictable. The Tiber runs through the city and the refulgent vegetation and
palm trees are reminders that Rome is almost tropical, a rain
forest out of which the first stirrings of an empire that bridged the gap between the pagan and
Christian worlds, would come to life. Rome is a pageant in which
the alliance between the past and the present is dramatic, theatrical and
inescapable. In the Eternal City precious collective memories are recaptured by ancient architecture.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.