An atlas is a book of maps. That's been the definition for centuries.
Now Rebecca Solnit gives us a radical reinterpretation of what an atlas can be with Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas. Solnit's free guided tour of the City by the Bay begins on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Library,14 W. 10th.
Infinite City has plenty of maps, certainly. But it has so much more.
Solnit's goal is to provide many layers of meaning to illuminate the city as it is experienced by its inhabitants. She explores the Bay Area thematically, connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's sequential photography from the 1870s (a precursor of the motion picture) with the filming in San Francisco of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.
This is an atlas alive with landmarks and little-known treasures: World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers, locations of infamous murders, sites important to gay history and that of the '60s counterculture
Politics, economics, recreation, the characters of different neighborhoods - all are examined in this colorful and comprehensive atlas.
Infinite City is the product of a Herculean effort by a small army of artists, writers, and mapmakers. They have produced a breathtakingly original work of art.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
Co-sponsored by The Commons at the University of Kansas, a partnership between the Hall Center for the Humanities, the Spencer Museum of Art, and the Biodiversity Institute that brings together scholars and students from the science, humanities and arts to explore the reciprocal relationships between nature and culture.