Printer Friendly

Off The Map: Lost Places, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Lands, Feral Places.

OFF THE MAP: Lost Places, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Lands, Feral Places

by Alastair Bonnett

Aurum Press, hb, 16.99 [pounds sterling]

Alastair Bonnett was one of psychogeography's pioneers, intent on transforming the 'generic blandscapes' that surround us. Even the ordinary can become magical once it's re-oriented, and in Off the Map, he explores unmapped places, from a Ballardian excursion onto a traffic island in the interstices of a motorway system to North Korea's uninhabited city of Kijong-dong, built to lure defectors from its neighbour by showcasing the technological advancements achieved under Communism.

Kijong-dong's eerie twin can be found in the shape of Zheleznogorsk, one of the former Soviet Union's 'closed cities'. Built for nuclear research, it was only formally admitted to exist in 1992, and four years later its inhabitants voted to return to its locked-away status--a post-Communist gated community, less 'an echo from history than a contemporary reflection of urban distrust and consumer choice'.

Other places are haunted by earlier identities. Cities are palimpsests whose forgotten versions lie beneath the surface--Leningrad remains 'more troublesome ... and sometimes more alive' than Saint Petersburg--and can contain labyrinthine cellar systems, awaiting rediscovery by urban explorers.

A mesmerising study of ambiguous, temporary places.

COPYRIGHT 2014 Circle Publishing Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Comment:Off The Map: Lost Places, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Lands, Feral Places.
Author:Herron, Mick
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2014
Previous Article:The World's Great Wonders: How They were Made and Why They are Amazing.
Next Article:City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters