The Image of the Self

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A rengade since conception, I surrendered my gestation at knifepoint. Captured from he womb with the hasty slash of my mother’s abdomen, I unleashed a guttural battle cry, signaling the end of a two week chase for my birth and the beginning of a new era. Like any valiant soldier, I arrived decorated. A deep pink flush gilded my left cheek and bald head, an emblem reminiscent of fellow nonconformist Mikhail Gorbachev t is unclear whether my rebellious spirit was fostered by these markings, o
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  , .e womb with the hasty slash o my mother’s abdomen, I unleashed a guttural battl ry, signaling the end o a two week chase or my birth and the beginning o a ne ra. Like any valiant soldier, I arrived decorated. A deep pink ush gilded my let chee nd bald head, an emblem reminiscent o ellow nonconormist Mikhail Gorbache is unclear whether my rebellious spirit was ostered by these markings, or whether they wer mark o my rebellion. It is undeniable, however, that their presence perpetuated my aversio the conventional lie. The doctor identifed and named the crimson blush ar beore marents could do the same with me. A Port-Wine Stain birthmark, it garners its pinky hue ro concentration o dilated capillaries beneath the skin. According to a pediatric study, thtriking discoloration graces the ace o approximately 3 out o 1,000 people. It provides niversal spectacle or the other 997, provoking stares, glares and inquires at any outing. Thocial stigma o a Port Wine Stain is only one o a range o complications associated with thirthmark. Increased tissue mass, loss o unction, uncontrolled growth, disfgurement an   45  Looking at cities can give a specialpleasure, however commonplace the sightmay be. Like a piece o architecture, the cityis a construction in space, but one o vastscale, a thing perceived only in the course olong spans o time. City design is thereore atemporal art, but it can rarely use the controlledand limited sequences o other temporal artslike music. On dierent occasions and ordierent people, the sequences are reversed,interrupted, abandoned, cut across. It is seenin all lights and all weathers.At every instant, there is more than theeye can see, more than the ear can hear,  67  a setting or a view waiting to be explored.Nothing is experienced by itsel, but alwaysin relation to its surroundings, the sequenceso events leading up to it, the memory o pastexperiences.Every citizen has had long associations withsome part o this city, and his image is soakedin memories and meanings. Moving elementsin a city , and in particular the people and theiractivities, are as important as the stationaryphysical parts. We are not simply observerso this spectacle, but are ourselves a part oit, on the stage with the other participants.Most oten, our perception o the city is notsustained, but rather partial, ragmentary,mixed with other concerns. Nearly every senseis in operation, and the image is the compositeo them all.Not only is the city an object which isperceived (and perhaps enjoyed) by millions opeople o widely diverse class and character,but it is the product o many builders who areconstantly modiying the structure or reasonso their own. while it may be stable in generaloutlines or some time, it is ever changing indetail. Only partial control can be exercisedover its growth and orm. There is no inal result,only a continuous succession o phases.  89  No wonder, then, that the art o shapingcities or sensuous enjoyment is an art quiteseparate rom architecture or music orliterature. it may learn a great deal rom theseother arts, but it cannot imitate them.
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