TABLE OF CONTENTS

CITY OF CROWDS, CITY OF RUINS: NOTES ON JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY

But why are people so interested in ruins, unless there is a need to destroy an aesthetic order which has been dominant heretofore. Erotic energy aims at exciting cold violence. So long as this passion exists, ruins will exist all around you.

Arata Isozaki, 1988

OF ALL THE WORDS we have to describe the thing: mob, throng, mass, horde, or swarm, each with its own inflections, the most social is the term “crowd.” After it decisively manifested itself as a revolutionary force, 200 years ago, the crowd in enlarged mercantile cities tended to be perceived as a phenomenon of spectacle. That perception, nowhere more available to a roving eye now than in economically expansionist Japan, was first borne in to many in Western Europe during the 19th century. An individual like Baudelaire could stroll the streets of Paris, entertained by the rhythms and manners of the endless passersby. Immersed

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