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São Pualo and Atlanta As Exemplars of "Noplaceness"

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Atlanta's long been compared to its urban brethren in this country: "New York of the South," "L.A. of the East," et cetera. But how does our "noplaceness" stack up compared to São Paulo, Brazil? There's a conversation starter! (Or ender depending on who's talking). Such was the question posed at the first international discussion centered around the inaugural issue of Atlanta Art Now, which is currently themed around the idea of noplaceness. You're probably familiar with the concept, even if you didn't know it had a proper name. Dutch Stararchitect Rem Koolhas pinned the term on metro Atlanta decades ago after witnessing our dispersed, faceless growth pattern that typifies Anywhere, USA. It's a condition that favors links to the "outside world" as a symptom of globalization (through airports, highways, and communication tools) rather than the now quaint notion of local identity.

The sheer gigantism and density of São Pualo, the largest city in the southern hemisphere, make Atlanta look like small fish in comparison, but Atlanta Art Now poses some interesting similarities. Both are sprawling car-oriented metros with traffic headaches; instead of one solid nucleus, each has a multitude of activity centers. Residents of one part of town have little want or reason to frequent other areas. You've got to love this snippet: "Thanks to the Internet, the whole world is potentially closer to most of us than, say, Alpharetta is to East Point or Marietta to Peachtree City." Have truer words ever been written?

· “Noplaceness” goes to São Paulo for first international book launch []
· Atlanta Art Now