(con)juncture was lawson fletcher's thought pile. Now blogging at soundofruins.net
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flying over the city

Seeing Manhattan from the 110th floor of the World Trade Center ... the urban island ... a wave of verticals. Its agitation is momentarily arrested by vision. The gigantic mass is immobilized before the eyes. It is transformed into a texturology in which extremes coincide ... I wonder what is the source of this pleasure of 'seeing the whole', of looking down on, totalizing the most immoderate of human texts. To be lifted to the summit of the World Trade Center is to be lifted out of the city's grasp ... It transforms the bewitching world by which one was 'possessed' into a text that lies before one's eyes. It allows one to read it, to be a solar Eye, looking down like a god.
-- de Certeau, 'Walking in the City'.
We experience the inversion of this process, too, as de Certeau admits - "Must one finally fall back into the dark space where crowds move back and forth, crowds that, though visible from on high, are themselves unable to see down below?"

We (or most of us) have all experienced this fall in the experience of planeflight - as the wheels leave the tarmac we indeed feel the relief and wonder of being "lifted out of the city's grasp", even out of ground's grasp as we cut above the cloudline. But one must come back down, from above the inchoate, flat, blue-black mass of the sea, to a gradually more perceptible ground - first just the bare outlines of a state-sized map, then gradually the picture is filled in, there's a car moving, people's backyards, a tennis court with players, until finally we come back to earth.

The experience of landing is thus as much a physiological shock registered in jet lag, popping ears and so on, as it is a perceptual shock or at least transition - from the scopic freedom of planeflight to the unshakeable and somewhat dirty feeling of being back in the world, in the grip of the city. We must always cross the tarmac into the terminal, and from there things descend even further.

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