Final Project

My final project and my final paper are directly linked because of the personal meaning they possess. Throughout my semester I must say that Neighborhood Narratives is the most enjoyable class I have had at Temple University. The sheer depth of the topics discussed and assignments completed is much more than mind opening. Among my favorite works are those of Borges and Mitchell who contributed with “Connecting Creatures” and “The Garden of Forking Paths.” Not saying that the other works were on some sort of lower level than these but simply, these readings are the ones which interested me the most. There is nothing wrong with Kublai Khan and the different cities actually being one in the same; Constant’s work on the growth of cities and urbanism from the situationist perspective is amazing; from “Memory and Community” to “Spatial Practices” are all great readings, which sadly are not interesting to me because of a failure to relate on my part. On the other hand Borges and Mitchell have all of the ideas and thoughts that I can relate to.
In my final project I attempted to use everything which I found interesting in class and place it on a flag. I used the works of everyone in class as well as incorporating the readings into this flag; which is made to symbolize our class as a whole. As you look at the flag you will notice a little bit of everything from “Connecting Creatures” to the “Garden of Forking Paths.” I attempted to use Mitchell in the flag to illustrate how he begins with the human body’s arrangement of skeleton, muscles, and organs, nerves, which our innovations have, over time, amplified, lengthened, and extended. At this particular time I am able to connect with the readings due to my having experience in Bosnia which is still harnessing the power of animals, and America which is reaching new levels of technological marvels every day. I used Mitchell’s ideas with the industrial era with steam power and combustion engines, then electricity, right up to computer programming, remote control, robots, and digital networks. My being in the United States allows me to taste and learn these new technologies as well as know what is ahead; and in a sense grab past my reach. We are now able to copy and distribute programs to multiple devices in different locations, thereby multiplying and extending our physical control through space and time. Mitchell makes a great connection with the human body and technology in that the latter stemmed from the original.
Next is my favorite work of the semester in “The Garden of Forking Paths,” in which the idea arises that the nature of reality, history, space and time as being fictional realms with infinite possibilities. The idea that history and time is a labyrinth of alternate dimensions or possibilities is mind-boggling; and the central theme of the class flag. Similar to a bad dream in which recurring moments or places of choice are experienced all simultaneously. Borges influenced me to question the possibilities of the real; in his work there are multiple literary worlds, multiple paths, and multiple dimensions all occurring at once and, as such, the possibility that we can be whatever we can dream or imagine. This is similar to my flag in that there are numerous different possibilities and ideas one can grasp but are all illustrated and given at the same time. But what amazed me most is the addictiveness of his writing in that he uses a puzzle, or game-like quality of the story and of the real; as well as the literal and symbolic labyrinths such as the labyrinth of Ts’ui Pen, labyrinth of the narrative, and the labyrinth of time and reality. This aspect of Borges I attempted to place in my flag. What sparked my interest is the question of time, what it is, how it functions, how it operates in a “labyrinth of infinite possibilities;” time is seen as a network of simultaneously divergent and convergent paths which are not absolute or uniform. But the main idea that I have gathered is that evolution and change are open in all directions. These ideas I attempted to show on my flag.
If you are a person who came from a location where change is difficult to come across, than you may be able to relate to Borges like I did. Also in today’s day and age the possibilities of people being capable of visually reaching and connecting to different locations and times with a simple click of a button is remarkable. We are able to see events from the past, from other locations; and the next step is feeling and being in those times and locations.
In relation to this I have recently experienced a level of fear that resulted in my taking in consideration every possible path I could take; of course I only chose one, the path that I come out alive. The work of Borges in particular influenced me through the semester in a way that I now look at every event and action as an endless possibility of potential actions. But I cannot help but imagine what it would be like to see all different futures and times in which one is involved in?
Lastly, I hope we meet again sometime, somewhere, somehow, someway, in a garden in which our paths become one; and I hope to use what you have taught me to better/change the world and myself. My deepest thanks to all of my friends, colleagues, and instructors in Neighborhood Narratives; I wish you all the best of luck in the future (even though I know you do not need it)...

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