Discover the Stendhal Syndrome: The Condition Where People Faint, or Feel Totally Overwhelmed, in the Presence of Great Art

Clutch imaginary pearls, rest the back of your hand on your forehead, look wan and stricken, begin to wilt, and most people will recognize the symptoms of your sarcasm, aimed at some pejoratively feminized qualities we’ve seen characters embody in movies. The “literary swoon” as Iaian Bamforth writes at the British Journal of General Practice, dates back much further than film, to the early years of the modern novel itself, and it was once a male domain.

“Somewhere around the time of the French Revolution (or perhaps a little before it) feelings were let loose on the world.” Rationalism went out vogue and passion was in—lots of it, though not all at once. It took some decades before the discovery of emotion reached the climax of Romanticism and denouement of Victorian sentimentality:

Back in 1761, readers had swooned when they encountered the ‘true voice of feeling’ in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s novel La Nouvelle Héloïse; by the end of the decade, all of Europe was being sentimental in the manner made fashionable a few years later by Laurence Sterne in his A Sentimental Journey. Then there was Goethe’s novella, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), which made its author a celebrity.

It’s impossible to overstate how popular Goethe’s book became among the aristocratic young men of Europe. Napoleon “reputedly carried a copy of the novel with him on his military campaign.” Its swooning hero, whom we might be tempted to diagnose with any number of personality and mood disorders, develops a disturbing and debilitating obsession with an engaged woman and finally commits suicide. The novel supposedly inspired many copycats and “the media’s first moral panic.”




If we can feel such exaltation, disquiet, and fear when in the grip of romantic passion, or when faced with nature’s implacable behemoths, as in Kant's Sublime, so too may we be overcome by art. Napoleonic novelist Stendhal suggested as much in a dramatic account of such an experience. Stendhal, the pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle, was no inexperienced dreamer. He had traveled and fought extensively with the Grand Army (including that fateful march through Russia, and back) and had held several government offices abroad. His realist fiction didn’t always comport with the more lyrical tenor of the times.

Photo of the Basilica of Santa Croce by Diana Ringo, via Wikimedia Commons

But he was also of the generation of young men who read Werther while touring Europe, contemplating the varieties of emotion. He had held a similarly unrequited obsession for an unavailable woman, and once wrote that “in Italy… people are still driven to despair by love.” During a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce in 1817, he “found a monk to let him into the chapel,” writes Bamforth, “where he could sit on a genuflecting stool, tilt his head back and take in the prospect of Volterrano’s fresco of the Sibyls without interruption." As Stendhal described the scene:

I was already in a kind of ecstasy by the idea of being in Florence, and the proximity of the great men whose tombs I had just seen. Absorbed in contemplating sublime beauty, I saw it close-up—I touched it, so to speak. I had reached that point of emotion where the heavenly sensations of the fine arts meet passionate feeling. As I emerged from Santa Croce, I had palpitations (what they call an attack of the nerves in Berlin); the life went out of me, and I walked in fear of falling.

With the recording of this experience, Stendhal “brought the literary swoon into tourism,” Bamforth remarks. Such passages became far more commonplace in travelogues, not least those involving the city of Florence. So many cases similar to Stendhal's have been reported in the city that the condition acquired the name Stendhal syndrome in the late seventies from Dr. Graziella Magherini, chief of psychiatry at the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital. It presents as an acute state of exhilarated anxiety that causes people to feel faint, or to collapse, in the presence of art.

Magherini and her assistants compiled studies of 107 different cases in 1989. Since then, Santa Maria Nuova has continued to treat tourists for the syndrome with some regularity. “Dr. Magherini insists,” writes The New York Times, that “certain men and women are susceptible to swooning in the presence of great art, especially when far from home.” Stendhal didn’t invent the phenomenon, of course. And it need not be solely caused by sufferers’ love of the 15th century.

The stresses of travel can sometimes be enough to make anyone faint, though further research may rule out other factors. The effect, however, does not seem to occur with nearly as much frequency in other major cities with other major cultural treasures. “It is surely the sheer concentration of great art in Florence that causes such issues,” claims Jonathan Jones at The Guardian. Trying to take it all in while navigating unfamiliar streets and crowds.... "More cynically, some might say the long queues do add a layer of stress on the heart.”

There’s also no discounting the effect of expectation. “It is among religious travelers that Stendhal’s syndrome seems to have found its most florid expression,” notes Bamforth. Stendhal admitted that his “ecstasy” began with an awareness of his “proximity of the great men whose tombs I had just seen.” Without his prior education, the effect might have disappeared entirely. The story of the Renaissance, in his time and ours, has impressed upon us such a reverence for its artists, statesmen, and engineers, that sensitive visitors may feel they can hardly stand in the actual presence of Florence's abundant treasures.

Perhaps Stendhal syndrome should be regarded as akin to a spiritual experience. A study of religious travelers to Jerusalem found that “otherwise normal patients tended to have ‘an idealistic subconscious image of Jerusalem’” before they succumbed to Stendhal syndrome. Carl Jung described his own such feelings about Pompeii and Rome, which he could never bring himself to visit because he lived in such awe of its historical aura. Those primed to have symptoms tend also to have a sentimental nature, a word that once meant great depth of feeling rather than a callow or mawkish nature.

We might all expect great art to overwhelm us, but Stendhal syndrome is rare and rarified. The experience of many more travelers accords with Mark Twain’s 1869 The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrim’s Progress, a fictionalized memoir “lampooning the grandiose travel accounts of his contemporaries,” notes Bamforth. It became “one of the best-selling travel books ever” and gave its author’s name to what one researcher calls Mark Twain Malaise, “a cynical mood which overcomes travelers and leaves them totally unimpressed with anything UNESCO has on its universal heritage list.” Sentimentalists might wish these weary tourists would stay home and let them swoon in peace.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Traditional Inuit Thoat Singing and the Modern World Collide in This Astonishing Video

Let’s just get this out of the way…

Musically speaking, Inuit throat singing—or katajjaqis not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

For all those who find this traditional form mesmerizing, there are others who get antsy with no lyrics or easily discernible melody on which to hang their hat, or who experience the bleak sound of the Arctic wind coupled with the singers’ preliminary breathing as a horror movie soundtrack.

If, as a member of one of the latter camps, you feel inclined to bail after a minute or so of Wapikoni Mobile’s Sundance-endorsed video above—you get it, it’s something akin to Mongolian or Tuvan throat-singing, it’s circular breathing, there’s a lot of picturesque snow up therewe beg you to reconsider, on two counts.




1) In an era of autotuned "everyone’s-a-star" perfection, Katajjaq is a hearty hold-out, a community-spirited singing game whose competitors seek neither stardom nor riches, but rather, to challenge themselves and amuse each other without screens throughout the long winter nights.

Practitioner Evie Mark breaks it down thusly:

One very typical example is when the husbands would go on hunting trips.  The women would gather together when they have nothing to do, no more sewing to do, no more cleaning to do, they would just have fun, and one of the ways of entertaining themselves is throat-singing.

It goes like this. Two women face each other very closely, and they would throat sing like this:

If I would be with my partner right now, I would say A, she would say A, I would say A, she would say A, I say C, she says C.  So she repeats after me.  It would be a sort of rolling of sounds.  And, once that happens, you create a rhythm.  And the only way the rhythm would be broken is when one of the two women starts laughing or if one of them stops because she is tired.  It's a kind of game.  We always say the first person to laugh or the first person to stop is the one to lose.  It's nothing serious.  Throat singing is way of having fun.  That's the general idea, it's to have fun during gatherings.  It is also a way to prove to your friends around you or your family that if you are a good throat-singer, you're gonna win the game.

Throat-singing is a very accurate technique in a sense that when you are singing fast, the person who is following the leader has to go in every little gap the leader leaves for her to fill in.  For instance, if I was to say 1 + 1 + 1 + 1, the ones being what I sing and the pluses the gaps, she would go in-between the ones, singing on the pluses.  Then, if I change my rhythm, this woman has to follow that change of rhythm and fill in the gaps of that new rhythm.  She has to be very accurate.  She has to have a very good ear and she has to follow visually what I am doing.

Throat singing is not exactly easy on your diaphragm.  You are using a lot of your muscles in your diaphragm for breathing in and breathing out.  I have to find a space between sounds to breath in in order for me to throat-sing for 20 minutes or more.  20 minutes has been my maximum length of time to throat-sing.  You have to focus on your lungs or your diaphragm.  If you throat-sing using mainly breathing, you are gonna hyperventilate, you're gonna get dizzy and damage your throat.

2) The video, starring Eva Kaukai and Manon Chamberland from Kangirsuk in northern Québec (population: 394), deflates conventional notions of traditional practices as the provenance of somewhere quaint, exotic, taxidermied…

Beginning around the 90-second mark, the singers are joined by a drone that surveys the surrounding area. Viewers get a glimpse of what their Arctic homeland looks like in the warm season, as well as some hunters flaying their kill prior to loading it into a late model pick up, presumably bound for a building in a wholly suburban seeming neighborhood, complete with telephone poles, satellite dishes, andgaspelectric light.

Via Aeon

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC for the new season of her monthly book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday

 

You Can Sleep in an Edward Hopper Painting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Is This the Next New Museum Trend?

Let's pretend our Fairy Art Mother is granting one wish—to spend the night inside the painting of your choice.

What painting will we each choose, and why?

Will you sleep out in the open, undisturbed by lions, a la Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy?

Or experience the voluptuous dreams of Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June?

Paul Gaugin’s portrait of his son, Clovis presents a tantalizing prospect for those of us who haven’t slept like a baby in decades…

The Nightmare by Herny Fuseli should chime with Gothic sensibilities…

And it’s a fairly safe bet that some of us will select Edward Hopper's Western Motel, at the top of this post, if only because we heard the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was accepting double occupancy bookings for an extremely faithful facsimile, as part of its Edward Hopper and the American Hotel exhibition.




Alas, if unsurprisingly, the Hopper Hotel Experience, with mini golf and a curated tour, sold out quickly, with prices ranging from $150 to $500 for an off-hours stay.

Ticket-holding visitors can still peer in at the room any time the exhibit is open to the public, but it’s after hours when the Instagramming kicks into high gear.

What guest could resist the temptation to strike a pose amid the vintage luggage and (bluetooth-enabled) wood paneled radio, filling in for the 1957 painting’s lone figure, an iconic Hopper woman in a burgundy dress?

The Art Institute of Chicago notes that she is singular among Hopper’s subjects, in that she appears to be gazing directly at the viewer.

But as per the Yale University Art Gallery, from which Western Motel is on loan:

The woman staring across the room does not seem to see us; the pensiveness of her stare and her tense posture accentuate the sense of some impending event. She appears to be waiting: the luggage is packed, the room is devoid of personal objects, the bed is made, and a car is parked outside the window.

Hopefully, those lucky enough to have secured a booking will have perfected the pose in the mirror at home prior to arrival. This “motel” is a bit of a stage set, in that guests must leave the painting to access the public bathroom that constitutes the facilities.

(No word on whether the theme extends to a paper “sanitized for your protection” band across the toilet, but there’s no shower and a security officer is stationed outside the room for the duration of each stay.)

The popularity of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit tie-in may spark other museums to follow suit.

The Art Institute of Chicago started the trend in 2016 with a painstaking recreation of Vincent Van Gogh’s room at Arles, which it listed on Air BnB for $10/night.

Think of all the fun we could have if the bedrooms of art history opened to us...

Dog lovers could get cozy in Andrew Wyeth’s Master Bedroom.

Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) would require something more than double occupancy for proper Instagramming.

Piero della Francesca’s The Dream of Constantine might elicit impressive messages from the sub-conscience...

Tuberculosis nothwithstanding, Aubrey Beardsley’s Self Portrait in Bed is rife with possibilities.

Or skip the cultural foreplay and head straight for the NSFW pleasures of The French Bed, a la Rembrandt’s etching.

Edward Hopper and the American Hotel will be traveling to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields in June 2020.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, December 9 when her monthly book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain celebrates Dennison’s Christmas Book (1921). Follow her @AyunHalliday.

How to Behave in a British Pub: A World War II Training Film from 1943, Featuring Burgess Meredith

Forewarned is forearmed, so in 1943, the United States Office of War Information created a training film to prevent soldiers bound for Great Britain from earning their Ugly American stripes.

The excerpt above concentrates on pub etiquette, casting actor and Army Air Corps captain Burgess Meredith in the role of a discreet military Virgil, explaining in hushed tones the British penchant for non-chilled beer and smoking or reading the paper unmolested.

He also cautions incoming GIs against throwing their money around or making fun of kilt-wearing Scotsmen—commonsense advice that still applies.




To ensure the message sticks, he conjures a cringeworthy, semi-sloshed bad apple, who struts around in uniform, braying insults at the locals, until he disappears in a puff of smoke.

No wonder the reception’s a bit frosty, when Meredith, ventures forth, also in uniform. But unlike the brash baddie who went before, Meredith has vetted his hosts, approaching as one might a skittish animal. He offers cigarettes, enjoys a game of darts as a spectator, and buys his new friends drinks, being careful to choose something in their price range, knowing that they will insist on reciprocating in kind.

The film is primarily concerned with teaching restraint.

In another section of the not-quite-38-minute film officially called A Welcome to Britain (see below), Meredith cautions young recruits to take small portions of food, knowing how restricted their hosts’ rations are.

The most uncomfortable teachable moment comes when an elderly Englishwoman spontaneously invites a black GI to tea, after thanking him for his service:

Now look men, you heard that conversation, that's not unusual here. It’s the sort of thing that happens quite a lot. Now let's be frank about it, there are colored soldiers as well as white here, and there are less social restrictions in this country. An English woman asking a colored boy to tea, he was polite about it, and she was polite about it. Now, that might not happen at home, but the point is, we're not at home, and the point is too, if we bring a lot of prejudices here, what are we going to do about them?

(No advice to young black soldiers on whether they’re honor bound to accept, should an elderly Englishwoman invite them to tea, when they were perhaps en route to the pub.)

Watch the entirety of A Welcome to Britain, including a cameo by Bob Hope at the 30 minute mark, here.

For an updated guide to British pub etiquette, check out the American expats of Postmodern Family reaction video here.

via Daniel Holland

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, December 9 when her monthly book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain celebrates Dennison’s Christmas Book (1921). Follow her @AyunHalliday.

A Collection of Vintage Fruit Crate Labels Offers a Voluptuous Vision of the Sunshine State

Ah, Florida… The Sunshine State.

Tourists began flocking to it in earnest once the railroads expanded in the late 19th century, drawn by visions of sunset beaches, graceful palms, and plump citrus fruit in a warm weather setting.

The fantasy gathered steam in the 1920s when citrus growers began affixing colorful labels to the fruit crates that shipped out over those same railroad lines, seeking to distinguish themselves from the competition with memorable visuals.




These labels offered lovers of grapefruit and oranges who were stuck in colder climes tantalizing glimpses of a dreamy land filled with Spanish Moss and graceful long-legged birds. Words like “golden” and “sunshine” sealed the deal.

(The reality of citrus picking, then and now, is one of hard labor, usually performed by underpaid, unskilled migrants.)

The State Library of Florida’s Florida Crate Label Collection has amassed more than 600 examples from the 1920s through the 1950s, many of which have been digitized and added to a searchable database.

While the majority of the labels peddle the sunshine state mythos, others pay homage to growers’ family members and pets.

Others like Killarney Luck, UmpireSherlock’s Delight, and Watson’s Dream built brand identity by playing on the grove’s name or location, though one does wonder about the models for the deliciously dour Kiss-Me label. Siblings, perhaps? Maybe the Kissimmee Citrus Growers Association disapproved of the PDA their name seems so ripe for.

Native Americans' prominent representation likely owed as much to the public’s fascination with Westerns as to the state’s tribal heritage, evident in the names of so many locations, like Umatilla and Immokalee, where citrus crops took root.

Meanwhile, MammyAunty, and Dixieland brands relied on a stereotypical representation of African-Americans that had a proven track record with consumers of pancakes and Cream of Wheat.

The vibrantly illustrated crate labels were put on hold during World War II, when the bulk of the citrus crop was earmarked for the military.

By the mid-50s, cardboard boxes on which company names and logos could be printed directly had become the industry standard, relegating crate labels to antique stores, swap meets, and flea markets.

Begin your exploration of the Florida Crate Label Collection here, browsing by imageplacecompany, or brand name.

Via Kottke

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, November 4 when her monthly book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain celebrates Louise Jordan Miln’s “Wooings and Weddings in Many Climes (1900). Follow her @AyunHalliday.

 

A Brief History of the Great American Road Trip

I live in Asia, where no few people express an interest in traveling to my homeland, the United States of America. When I meet such people, I always give them the same advice: if you go, make sure to take a cross-country road trip. But then I would say that, at least according to the premise of the PBS Idea Channel video above, "Why Do Americans Love Road Trips?" While driving from New York to Louisville, Nashville, and then Philadelphia, host Mike Rugnetta theorizes about the connection between the road trip and the very concept of America. It begins with physical suitability, what with the U.S.' relatively low gas prices, amenable terrain, and sheer size: "America is big," Rugnetta points out. "Some might say too big."

As Rugnetta drives farther, he goes deeper: for quite a long stretch of U.S. history, "progress and mobility were peas in a pod, and mobility has always been a subtext of America's favorite societal bulwark, freedom." In other words, "America's idea of its own awesomeness" — and does any word more clearly mark modern American speech? — "is very much built on metaphors having to do with movement."




In the 20th century, movement came to mean cars, especially as the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the 1950s came around, at which time President Eisenhower, "inspired by the awesome system of roads he saw in Germany," authorized the construction of a national highway system, the replacement for storied but non-comprehensive interstate roads like Route 66.

From then on, the United States saw an enormous surge in both car ownership, auto-industry employment, "the middle class, suburbia, fast food," and a host of other phenomena still seen as characteristically American. "To say that modern America was built both by and for the car," as Rugnetta puts it, "would not be an insane overstatement." But he also notes that the idea of the road trip itself goes back to 1880s Germany, when Bertha Benz, wife of Benz Moterwagen founder Karl Benz, took her husband's then-experimental car on a then-illegal 66-mile drive through the countryside. The first American road trip was taken in 1903 by a doctor named Horatio Jackson and, as the Rough Guides video above tells it, involved a bet, a dog, and — the whole way from San Francisco to New York — no signage at all.

Rugnetta also presents a philosophical question, derived from the Sorites Paradox: at what point does a "drive" turn into a "road trip?" Does it take a certain number of miles, of gas-tank refills, of roadside attractions? A coast-to-coast drive of the kind pioneered by Jackson unquestionably qualifies as a road trip. So does the automobile journey taken by Dutchman Henny Hogenbijl in the summer of 1955, his color film of which you can see above. Beginning with footage of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, New World Symphony shows off the sights Hogenbijl saw while driving from New York to Los Angeles, with places like Niagara Falls, Chicago, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and Salt Lake City as the stops in between — or the places, to use the phrase Rugnetta credits with great importance in American myth, Hogenbijl was just "passin' through."

Not long ago, a modern-day Hogenbijl made that great American road trip with the destinations reversed. Like Hogenbijl, he filmed it; unlike Hogenbijl, he filmed not the stops but the driving itself, and every single minute it took him to get across the United States at that. Lucky for the busy viewer, the video compresses this eight days of footage into a mere seven hours, adding an indicator of the state being passed through in the lower-left corner of the frame. Even sped up, the viewing experience underscores a point I try to make to all the hopeful road-trippers I meet on this side of the world: you must drive across America not just to experience how interesting the country is, but at the same time how boring it is. Allow me one use that most characteristically American locution when I say that both America's interestingness and its boringness, as well as its many other qualities best seen on the road, inspire awe — that is, they're awesome.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Art Trips: Visit the Art of Cities Around the World, from Los Angeles & London, to Venice and New York

When first we visit a city, even a small one, we can't hope to see all of it. Hence the need for strategies of approach and exploration: do we walk its main streets? Eat its food and drink its drinks? Visit its most beloved bookstores? Sarah Urist Green gets into cities through their art, hardly a surprising habit for the creator of the PBS Digital Studios series The Art Assignment. We first featured The Art Assignment five years ago here on Open Culture, and Green and her collaborators have kept up the good work ever since. In that time their mission of "traveling around the country, visiting artists and asking them to give you an art assignment" has expanded, taking them outside America as well. On the road they've collected not just material for regular episodes, but for special Art Trips as well.

Their first Art Trip to Los Angeles, for instance, takes Green and company to the Hammer Museum, the galleries of Culver City (one of which has a show up of Andy Warhol's shadow paintings), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (where they walk under Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass and through Chris Burden's much-Instagrammed Urban Light), and the then-newly-opened Broad Art Museum. In between they take side trips for refreshment at the noted ice cream sandwich shop Coolhaus (named in honor of the Dutch architect) and deep into the Inland Empire city of Bakersfield. This combination of places expected and unexpected comes not without the occasional tourist cliche, such as Green's description of "the most quintessential of Los Angeles experiences: driving."




The Art Assigment's return visit to the southern Californian metropolis focuses on "the Los Angeles hiding in plain sight" with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a series of exhibitions all over the city on Latino and Latina artists at institutions like the Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Los Angeles Central Library, and the Geffen Contemporary. All the while Green and her team eat plenty of tacos, as any Angeleno would advise, and the final night of their stay finds them in Grand Park among the shrine-like handmade offerings set up for Día de los Muertos, all of them crafted with an eeriness matched only by their good humor.

Los Angeles has become an acknowledged art capital over the past half-century, but London, fair to say, has a bit more history behind it. The Art Assignment's time in the English capital coincides with Frieze Week, when galleries from all over the world descend on Regent's Park to show off their most striking artistic wares. Not coincidentally, the museums and galleries based in the city use the same part of the year to schedule some of their most anticipated shows, turning the few days of this Art Trip in London into a mad rush from Trafalgar Square to the National Portrait Gallery to the Royal Academy of Arts to the Courtauld Institute of Art, by which point Green admits the onset of "masterpiece overload " — but also has several galleries, not to mention the main event of Frieze itself, to go.

Frieze Week doesn't come to Detroit, the onetime capital of American auto manufacturing whose population peaked in the middle of the 20th century and whose subsequent hard times, culminating in the city's 2013 bankruptcy, have been chronicled with both fascination and despair. But The Art Assignment finds a Detroit apart from the ruined factories, theaters, and train stations, the stuff of so many internet slideshows, at the Motown Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts (home to Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals), as well as in folk-art environments like the famous Heidelberg Project and public-art environments like downtown Detroit, whose recent revival has proven as compelling as its long decline. But many ruins remain, and artists like Scott Hocking have found in them not just their subjects but their materials as well.

More striking than Detroit's urban desolation is that of another unlikely The Art Assignment destination, Marfa, Texas. In his essay "The Republic of Marfa," Sean Wilsey describes it as "a hardscrabble ranching community in the upper Chihuahuan desert, sixty miles north of the Mexican border, that inhabits some of the most beautiful and intransigent countryside imaginable." In the mid-1970s "the minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, exiling himself from what he termed the 'glib and harsh' New York art scene, in order to live in a sort of high plains laboratory devoted to building, sculpture, furniture design, museology, conservation, and a dash of ranching," and his influence — as well as the presence of his large-scale installations — helped to make Marfa "a sort of city-state of cattlemen, artists, writers, fugitives, smugglers, free-thinkers, environmentalists, soldiers and secessionists."

In Marfa Green explores the monumental work Judd left behind as well as the monumental work other artists have since contributed, including a project in a converted military barracks by neon artist Dan Flavin and a fake Prada store. Other Art Trip destinations include the likes of Chicago and Columbus, Indiana (modern-architecture mecca and setting of the recent feature film by video essayist Kogonada) as well as Tijuana and the Venice Biennale, all of which you can find on one playlist. Green has even done an Art Trip right where she lives, the "bland-leaning, chain restaurant-loving" Midwestern city of Indianapolis — which boasts the Museum of Psychphonics, an under-freeway art installation by Vito Acconci, and a fair few bike-share book-share stations as well. We can never fully know the cities we don't live in, but nor can we ever fully know the cities we do live in either — which, if we nevertheless enjoy the attempt as much as Green does, is no bad thing at all.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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