Notes for a docudrama on the city (2006–2008)

While living in Brussels in 2006, I began writing about the city as a dynamic site through which people, money and goods flow. I directly related this to the flow of life through the city, concentrating also on key moments in the city's history, such as the cholera epidemic of the 19th century, which still defines the way Brussels physically appears today. In the text, I combined this historical outlook with data on migration and the economy and with my own experience as a foreigner dealing with bureaucracy in the city. This text eventually appeared in the book The Residents published by Argos.

The second part in the series was written in the autumn of 2006, while I was looking for an apartment in Berlin, after having decided to leave Brussels due to the difficulty of getting a freelance workpermit and visa to stay there. The text on Berlin uses the apartment search as a way to segue into reflections on garbage management, museums and the disposal of the dead.

The third text looks at the city of Houston, Texas, where I grew up. It revolves around the hurricane of 1900 that destroyed Galveston and contributed to the growth of Houston, the lethal circulation of car traffic through the city, the religious industry in Houston, and the exploration of space. This text appeared in the magazine Gringo in 2007. All three of the texts were written with an understanding of the city as a site to control life and death, and not just as built environments.

Download a pdf of Notes for a Docudrama on the City.