The Cement Project: In Search of Love Letters, Living History, and Lost Time in the Sidewalk Etchings of the City

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When presented with a patch of wet cement and a chance at immortality in the built environment of the city, what do you write? Love notes, political slogans, band names, and simple declarations of existence on a certain date; just about every kind of message is etched in the cement of the sidewalks of San Francisco.

In The Cement Project, Lyle reveals the city as something other than a collection of streets and buildings: It is the convergence of all the ideas and aspirations of everyone who has ever lived there. The cement etchings, presented in an extensive collection of photographs, create a narrative that accompanies a walk down any street. The wet cement functions as a time-lapse photo, encapsulating the voices of decades of city dwellers.

In the spirit of both Walter Benjamin and Jane Jacobs, the photographs of cement etchings are for Lyle a jumping-off point, triggering tales of lost legends, lost utopias, and lost love in a city that is constantly decaying, regenerating, and accumulating new layers of history—a fascinating meditation on the art of walking, reading, and remembering in an urban environment.

Additional Information

Author Erick Lyle
Publisher Soft Skull Press
Page Count 160pp
Publication Size 9 x 7
Publication Notes softcover
Publication Date Unknown
ISBN 978-1593762506

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