Gallery: Urban narratives

Images by architect and designer Stefano Massa (@doctorcrowd)

Read the interview, in which Stefano discusses urban narratives and creative concepts.

In Conversation: Stefano Massa

The Woolf talks urban narratives and creative concepts with a designer, architect, producer and curator of content.

Stefano Massa

Stefano Massa. Image courtesy: E. Stassi

“The crowd—I mean the crowd as one of the fundamental figures of modernity—was firstly recognised and understood by writers, philosophers and photographers, not by architects, sociologists or politicians.”

Firstly, let’s talk about you. Architect, designer, creator—what inspires you?

I am an architect, as background, even if I am working and researching also in fields which are not strictly related to the constructive aspect of design. I started this approach early during my studies, completed with the discussion of a thesis in urban design titled Crowd Space. It is a study on the relationship between cities and the crowds that inhabit them. Since then it was clear to me that I was much more interested in the relations occurring between elements of complex and dynamic systems rather than in the mere aesthetic or function of single buildings and design objects.

Speaking of inspiration, basically anything can be inspirational, really any kind of material (visual, textual, acoustic) and very diverse mixes of these ingredients. As I said, I am interested in the Continue reading

Switzerland, ISBNs and Authors

Jill Prewett (who indie publishes as JJ Marsh) gives a round-up of the information she shared at TIPE (The Independent Publishing Event)

January 2013, Zürich

Old Book Press in Schiers, Switzerland

Image: Libby O’Loghlin

As Swiss ALLi rep, I’ve had a lot of enquiries about the ISBN – International Standard Book Number.  Here are some answers.

An ISBN identifies your book, like a fingerprint. If you’re based in Switzerland, you need to apply for Swiss ISBNs. Those with an address in the UK, US, Australia, etc, can apply via those countries. In Britain, you have to buy a batch of 10. The US, Australia and Switzerland allow you to buy individual ISBNs but do remember that you will need a different number for each format, paperback, Kindle ebook, Smashwords ebook. Also a single ISBN costs 115CHF, whereas 10 cost Continue reading

Author Quotes #2

Chris Pavone

Chris Pavone, writer

Image courtesy: Chris Pavone

Not really one book, but one writer. I only used to read what I considered high-quality fiction, the kind of books that won Nobel prizes, and I looked down on popular fiction. When I was working at Doubleday, our biggest writer was John Grisham. I dismissed his books as not important because of their success. Then I started reading them. I realised the craft of writing a page-turning thriller is a real craft. There’s something great about any book you can’t put down even if it doesn’t contain a single beautiful sentence. I realised that some books are a form of entertainment, a way to pass pleasant time and maybe learn something you didn’t know. That’s what I tried to do with The Expats. Just write an entertaining book.

John Banville

Book cover, John Banville's 'The Infinities', Pan Macmillan

Image courtesy: Pan Macmillan

Would you like to be immortal?

I’d like to try it out. Although it might get boring. I believe we only see a tiny strip of reality. Dogs and cats can see things we don’t. Ghosts and fancies and fantasies, we create all these things. There is nothing more powerful than the imagination. I don’t believe in life after death. Sometimes I wish I did. But then I think about all the awful people I’d have to meet.

I was asked to contribute a short story of six words to an anthology based on the Hemingway legend: “For Sale: baby’s shoes, never worn.”

I wrote, “Should have lived more, written less.”

But I can’t really believe that.

Do you know the story of someone approaching Joyce, here in Zürich?

A man said, “May I kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses?”

Joyce replied, “No, it did lots of other things, too.”