The Integrative Seminar II which is taught as part of the First Year Studies at ISDI-Parsons, Mumbai, draws on the students existing knowledge to begin an enquiry into the notions of city, space, travel, histories and narratives – can we reorder our understanding of the city-space through an exploration of our imagination and memory. We begin to question and experiment with the powerful structures such as empires, governments, languages, lands but above all the random patterns within imagined cities. This semester the students work with a close reading of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, a text that is often said to be a “reordering of the emotional and philosophical reverberations of our civilised world.”
Through a close reading of the text, the students of this course are required to respond to the narrative, unpacking its complexities: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. It is through this exploration that we hope to achieve a deeper understanding of the idea of academic study, research and writing methodologies. These sessions also encourages students to ‘point at’ the relevant – where they are able to break down a text to its bare bones. This we feel will encourage students to encounter and interact with design in a way that allows them to analyze, critic and understand design and design processes.