Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Calvino: Ottavia

The hanging city Ottavia (aka Octavia).
From "the invisible cities" by Italo Calvino, Chapter: "the thin cities 5"

If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell how Octavia, the spiderweb city, is made. 
There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm's bed. 
This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope-ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes-hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children's games, cable-cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants. 
Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia's inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will last only so long.


Michael Lukyniuk said...

This is a good illustration. The central figure is well-drawn; the apparatus holding him looks believable; the background gives just the amount of detail to describe the hanging city; and the cross-hatching and tones are well-done. You must have really enjoyed doing this ink drawing.

Rene Fijten said...

You make me blush with so much praise. Yes, I really enjoyed drawing this one.