Winter 2003

Editor’s Note

Cite 56 was guest edited by Bruce Webb and Christof Spieler. In his introduction, "On the Move," Webb writes:

Since the industrial revolution, America has been a country on the move. A nation of relatively independent towns serving limited and contiguous hinterlands changed irrevocably into a nation of industrial cities integrated into a national economy. Large metropolitan centers evolved into interchange junctions within an ever-expanding transportation web that moved raw materials, manufactured goods, and people from place to place. In a very real way, physical linkages to the rest of the country substantiated the 20th-century industrial city. Where you were was only a temporary state. Visionaries of the post-industrial society imagined a worldwide community without propinquity, an electronic network of contact points represented, for example, by the Italian design group Superstudio as an endless communications and service grid of the non-place urban realm. The grid itself became a metaphor for modernity, whether in the rationalized geometries of International Style architecture or in the lines of transmission and service that distributed technological entitlements to homes and businesses. Electrification brought energy to remote locations for illuminating, heating and cooling, and powering engines,* electric lines eliminated the need to widely distribute bulky fuel. A succession of communications devices — the telegraph, telephone, radio, television — made it possible to disseminate vast amounts of information and entertainment without anyone's having to travel from the receiving end at home base. Almost anything that could be reduced to binary abstraction — money, for example — could be transmitted electronically, eliminating the need for many face-to-face encounters. But alas, not everything can be e-mailed. Until science catches up with the beam-me-up capabilities of Star Trek, human societies must still move people and goods through physical space.


Joel Warren Barna; Alison Cook; Terrence Doody; Stephen Fox; Lisa Gray; Cynthia Greenwood; Jean Krehnak; Barry Moore; Carrie Rushing; Danny Marc Samuels; Mitchell J. Shields; Christof Spieler; and Bruce C. Webb.