authors | February 27, 2013

Senses Of The City: Teju Cole On "The Greatest Technologies Of Humanity"

Echoing the themes from his book, Teju Cole told students at Boston College that post-9/11 New York is an "open city." Not so coincidentally, that's also the title of his critically acclaimed book. A self-proclaimed lover of the city, Cole explores the way that the bustling metropolis operates today after being attacked several years ago. "You’re looking into the sky, and even today, when you see a plane going behind a building, as planes normally do," he says in the talk, "there’s a brief moment you wonder what’s going on." There is no obvious threat of another attack, but the city operates under a great pressure that something might again.

These themes are explored in his book through the eyes of its main character Julius—who stumbles around Manhattan to eventually wind up at Ground Zero. During the talk, Cole read passages of his book to the audience to illustrate the impact that city life has on its inhabitants, and how cities have developed into what they are today. As he explains, he sees cities as the "greatest technologies of humanity" as well as being "the incubator of tolerance." And while most cities tend to develop in grid-formations, he also notes that there can be many variations.

An excellent story teller both in print and in person, Cole delves into the way we live and how the infrastructure around us impacts us as people. Named as one of Flavorwire's 100 Most Important Living Writers residing in New York, and earning a place on many prestigious best-of lists for Open City, Cole's work is accessible to many diverse audiences. Whether in his books or on stage, Cole presents moving insights into the way we live and how we all connect with the spaces around us.

Up Next

sales | February 26, 2013