cities and scenii

25 a friend is a loved one ...

Scenii?  Is this the plural of scenius,* Brian Eno’s word for ‘a scene of people supporting each other – a mini-city of sorts.**

Invisible Cities is Italo Carvelo’s masterful tale of Marco Polo‘s descriptions to Kublae Khan of many cities, gradually revealing the one city he is revealing again and again to be Venice.

That a city is not one story but many is true for all cities.^  A city can be described over and over again, each time differently – thin-sliced as another story, rich and telling, even to the point where it becomes your story, where you are the city.  What I’m trying to say is that your story, your contribution is important.  Whether we call it scenius or city, this is an environment in which your way of relating, of seeing, of thinking, of doing, is important – there are no strangers in a city which understands itself in this way:

The stranger does not come accidentally;
he brings a particular gift and illumination.

We each have something to contribute which another do not.  A scenius begins with two people – so you can be the founding mother or father, welcoming and encouraging the contribution of everyone who brings their gift.  Then there is yet another story of the city, the place, in which you live.

A scenius can be anything from people coming together to explore the idea that everyone has something to share, through to people working on projects in parallel or a project together.

Time to tell another story of the city.

(*The plural of genius is genii, so I guess this may be right.)
(**David Weinberger’s Too Big To Know is a fascinating look at how we have come to know what has always been true: there is too much to know – now the “smartest person in the room is the room.”)
(^I use the word city to describe how people decide to live in close proximity to one another, rather than a densely populated conurbation.)

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