Micropolitan America

Ongoing research funded by the William Kinne Travel fellowhsip, New York, 2010

This project produces a temporal reading of the fringes of the United States through a methodology applied on the map and on the road, carving out a cross country section of a contemporary micropolitan American territory. A series of road trips are mapped out and executed to weave through remote States following a sequence of stops in places that we identify as “-villes”.

As an operative definition for the project “-ville” is a town that is smaller than a city- even though the terms town and city are legally interchangeable in the United States- bearing the suffix -ville and incorporated to have a town hall, an identifiable main street and some sort of urban condition that doesn’t always manifest itself in a similar manner, yet always exits. In the suffix -ville hides a distorted application of an urban condition that selects from the structure of the city elements that in themselves theoretically cannot exist autonomously.

Our reading of the extremities of the American internal territory is attempted through a sequence of Greysvilles, Crossvilles, Maryvilles but also Moscows, Paris, Florences spread out in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.  We see a connection between the application of the foreign suffix -ville to what otherwise is a mere municipal corporation and the adoption of a recognisable city name- in most cases european city, as yet another attempt to simulate urbanity within the remoteness of the American territory.

‘-ville, USA’ produces a typological archive as well as a real time empirical analysis of these curious, mutilated yet extremely interesting and remote urban manifestations, broken down to the scale of the civic building in the scale of the town.

This is an ongoing project that aspires to contextualise this -ville constellation as a current and critical reading of the American, post election, landscape.

Sofia Krimizi, Kyriakos Kyriakou. Student work by Rebekah King and Ryan Mckay