PRINT December 2008



FOR A FEW DAYS in mid-September, it was acute: the feeling that, however little the physical contours of the world might have changed, its form now was nevertheless imbued with a kind of virtuality. How else to describe the experience of, say, a city like New York, a place seemingly intact—even prospering wildly, to judge from the ubiquitous construction cranes accenting the skyline—while headlines blared news of a financial collapse portending substantive shifts in the character (to say nothing of the underlying organization and perception) of everyday life? To walk among the glistening glass-and-steel towers lining Manhattan’s brimming streets amid the more abstract ambience of credit freezes and bailouts was to have the vague sense of dwelling in an afterimage—of living inside an impression of the past bound to dissolve as the physical environment began to catch up and

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