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.

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