After the dream they set out in search of that city;
they never found it, but they found one another; they
decided to build a city like the one in the dream.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
The impetus for this issue was born out one of those conversations that take place in the city – during one of those moments where amidst the constant cacophony of the city, we find an other with whom we can share a moment of imagined quiet, and in the imagined quiet, allow errant thoughts to be formed into words and carelessly uttered.
“Do you ever feel like you’re besieged by an endless precession1 of images, imploring you like a belligerent Greek chorus to escape to some other place, a place with yellow earth or red sorghum - or even Chengdu - any place other than where you are?” inquired she, give or take a word or two, and allowing for the possibility that she used words other than these.
“Well, yes,” said we.
In soliciting submissions, and by committing, with as much diligence as we could muster, these submissions to the printed word and the infinite page of the internet, we have perhaps flattered ourselves into thinking that our friend’s words, most likely accidentally arrived at, might be deserving of a more enduring form, and a more ample investigation. Whether this is the case, of course, is up to each reader to decide.
The same could be said of cities.
The city, as Barthes took pains to point out2, is a semiotic space. Though produced by and reproducing particular historical and social realities3, cities, much to the chagrin of longsuffering urban planners, exceed the utility of their economic and political functions4. In physical terms, we inhabit space, but the realities we inhabit are written by the meanings we attribute to these spaces. In this way, the city always means more than it means to.
For those with economic means, the play of signifiers that construct the city as a text is that which beseeches us to escape, as well as that from which we seek to escape. For those who lack such means, the same signifiers seduce us to escape in/to the city. There are as many cities as there are people who inhabit them, for each person inhabits a city of their own making. Even as we seek to escape from disagreeable realities, the means at our disposal can only be imagined in terms of a play of signs, from which we cannot escape.
From what then, precisely (protest the historians), are we trying to escape, and where then, no less precisely (inquire the cartographers), might we escape to?
Anywhere, other than where we are. For in the play of signifiers that construct the city, escape is simply a privileged space that is somewhere ‘other.’ Perhaps somewhere where the other is, or somewhere where we can be other than ourselves.
Perhaps somewhere imagined, where a fanciful conversation with an other can take place. The condition of escapism, after all, is not a directive as to where to inhabit, but how to inhabit.
We would like to thank our contributors for so diligently nurturing such spaces of possibility in the pages that follow.
 Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation (1981)
 Barthes, Roland. Semiology and the Urban (1986)
 Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. (1991)
 Barthes. Ibid.
 罗兰·巴特 《空间的生产》 (1991) 昂利•列斐伏尔
Translated by Molly Liu 刘魔力
Concrete Flux Issue III: Escapism was produced through collaboration and the hard work of the Concrete Flux collective:
Tom Baxter, Aaron Fox-Lerner, Yuan Fuca, Emma Karasz, Kendra Schaefer, Solveig Suess, Zhou Tingfeng in Beijing and Sophie Dyer in Berlin.
Solveig and Sophie cooperated on this issue's design long distance. The design of this issue was impacted by the nature
of their cooperation and the strength, or more often, weakness of the Internet connection. When Sophie worked, Solveig slept; when Solveig worked, Sophie slept.
It would not have been possible without the additional help of
our friends and fellow enthusiasts who helped along the way.
《流泥 第三期:逃避主义》由以下《流泥》作者通力合作完成: Tom Baxter, Aaron Fox-Lerner, Yuan Fuca, Emma Karasz, Kendra Schaefer, Solveig Suess, Zhou Tingfeng in Beijing and Sophie Dyer in Berlin
Sophie与Solveig远程合作对本期杂志进行设计。他们合作关系的性质与网络信号有多强,或者更多情况下, 网络信号有多弱对本期杂志设计 的性质产生巨大影响。当Sophie工作时, Solveig在睡觉; 当Sophie入 睡时, Solveig在工作。