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My Twin Brother, Bruno Argento

My Twin Brother, Bruno Argento

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Published by David Orban
by Bruce Sterling
interpreted by David Orban

Presented at the Multiverso conference, part of the ICOGRADA conference series for Torino World
Design Capital 2008, on 19 October 2008 in Turin.

Photos from: kandinski, lonesome cycler, zac mc, sedoglia, torephoto

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution
by Bruce Sterling
interpreted by David Orban

Presented at the Multiverso conference, part of the ICOGRADA conference series for Torino World
Design Capital 2008, on 19 October 2008 in Turin.

Photos from: kandinski, lonesome cycler, zac mc, sedoglia, torephoto

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

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Published by: David Orban on Oct 20, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/19/2009

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My Twin Brother, Bruno Argento
by Bruce Sterling interpreted by David Orban
Buongiorno! Thanks for inviting me to your fascinating event here at Icograda Design Week!Since I'm a writer of science fantasies—I write fantascienza—I'm extremely interested in the topic today—which is multiverses and parallel worlds. I'm very, very familiar with these issues.Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure that you think that a "multiverse" is a metaphor, a far-fetchedidea. You do not expect any public appearance from anyone who *came here* from a worldparallel to your own.However, I did that. I am a native of a parallel world. Yes, I amBruce Sterling, the science fiction writer. Or rather, I am BruceSterling from another part of the multiverse. In my own world,Bruce Sterling is not American. He was not born in Texas. Notat all. Never! In my world, Bruce Sterling is Italian! He was bornin Torino. He is a Turinese science fiction writer. And yes, thatman would be me. My name is—of course—Bruno Argento. Iam the Italian Bruce Sterling!I know this is hard for you to believe. Don't worry—wescience fiction writers are used to that problem. As you can see, I know everything Bruce Sterlingknows—I am here when Bruce Sterling is supposed to be speaking—and yet I am BrunoArgento, and I can speak fluent Italian. As you can see, I am here and he is gone. This form of  travel is much easier than you think. You yourselves don't know how to travel the multiverse.Youhave only vague ideas. In my own Torino, our ideas are specific and practical. We know how. Wecan move from one multiverse to another rather easily. In fact, as soon as I finish this speech, I amgoing back.You can look all over Torino, you will find no trace of Bruno Argento. Instead, you willfind that Bruce Sterling is back in Torino. I hope this relieves your doubts.Now, when I first arrived here in your multiverse, I realized that I, Bruno Argento, was a Texan in this world. No, I was not pleased. This Texan and I do have parallel careers. I am in my mid-fifties, just like him. I write novels, I write popular science, I write about computer technology quite a
My Twin Brother, Bruno Argento
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lot. Just like him. I am also keenly interested in design issues. So I am, in many ways, rather like thisAmerican you know as Bruce Sterling.There is, however, a major difference. Your Bruce Sterling is a foreigner who can barely readItalian. He knows almost nothing about our real Torino. When he wanders among you he is like asmall child, he's full of wonder and childlike astonishment. Italians should pity this man. They should try to help him. Whereas I myself am Torino's best known writer of futuristic sciencefiction. I was born here, I was educated here, I was married here, I have children here. But I don'twant to boast about my successful career. I certainly don't want to talk any more about BruceSterling.Instead, I want to talk, in detail, about Torino. My own Torino. Torino: a literary city. An engineeringcity. A city of design. A city of education. A city of architecture and urban planning. A capital city.Yes, Torino. Torino in the multiverse.Now, my Torino, the Torino of Bruno Argento, isa Torino from a parallel world. So my Torino isnot entirely and totally identical to your Torino. Ido not want to tell you that my Torino, theTorino of Bruno Argento, is superior to your Torino. I do not claim that—because Torino isunique in all the multiverse. All forms of Torinoare, in some sense, Torino.However, I do know Torino. I know every quarter, I know every street. I know every every variety of chocolate and I know every caféwhere you can get bicerin. I know my city almost as well as Giuseppe Culicchia.All forms of Torino have some form of Beppe Culicchia in them. I thought it was important for you to know that.Now to the point of my visit here. I must tell you, frankly, as a fellow Turinese, that in my futuristic, visionary, fantascienza Torino, we have certain features that you seem to lack.First, there is Slow Food. I know that all Piedmontese are properly proud of your Slow FoodMovement. I certainly don't want to hurt your feelings. But our Slow Food is slower than yours.Much slower. In your world, Carlo Petrini, Carlino from Bra, he is considered an oppositionalfigure. He's an anti-globalist, he's against McDonald's and fast food. Carlo is someone pushingagainst the grain.
My Twin Brother, Bruno Argento
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In my Torino, Carlo Petrini is an establishment figure. He is a gentleman and a key part the power structure. Mr Petrini has been elected to office. He owns a TV network. He's a multimillionairewho manages a giant Italian global grocery chain. When Petrini shows up in town in his convoy or armored limousines, people show up to *protect* the McDonalds. McDonalds' cowers in fear infront of Carlo Petrini. Signor Petrini is a major agent of Turinese cultural imperialism.I see that you're looking somewhat puzzled. I think I had better explain this term, "Turinesecultural imperialism." To you, these words sound strange. In my multiverse, we Turinese have tohear that all the time. In my world, whenever people say "Turinese cultural imperialism," they mean that they feel the pressure, the power, of Turinese culture. Our culture is changing them.Sometimes it's slow and subtle, like Savoyard marriage politics.Sometimes it is rapid and astonishing, like the Risorgimento. But they do feel it. Because it is real. They know we are there.It's not a military imperialism. It is not a financial imperialism. It is animperialism that other people do not know how to resist. They do notresist. They are barely able to describe it.It is something like the incredible presence of one of Piemonte's morefamous daughters: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Carla Bruni, the PremiereDame of neighboring France. No, that was not plausible; that did notseem likely. Bruce Sterling being suddenly replaced by Bruno Argento, that is easy to believe,compared to Carla Bruni becoming the Premiere Dame of France. It happened anyway. Peoplesimply don't know what to make of it, yet they are overwhelmed by its charm. In my world.Torino is the Carla Bruni of cities. That's what they mean when they say "Turinese culturalimperialism." They mean that something—the structure of our lives, our attitude, our way of being—emanates from us.Let me try to talk about this in a more practical, more immediate way. As we all know, Torino is"World Capital of Design 2008." The same is true in my own Torino. My Torino also the "WorldCapital of the Food Heritage Industry." And my Torino is the "World Capital of Green Vehicles." We're also the "World Capital of Palace Restoration." Also the "World Capital of ArtisticCyberculture." We are even the "European Capital of Endangered Regional Languages." Westopped asking to be the capital of these enterprises. People FORCE us to be the capital.My Torino is not the capital of Italy. That would be Rome, known as "the Eternal City." Torino isnot "eternal." My be I be frank here? It is no practical use to be "eternal." If you are an eternalcapital, it means, by definition, that nothing interesting ever happens to you. Tombs are eternal. If you want to be a tomb, you should call yourself eternal. Torino is not a tomb. Torino is the WorldCapital of Futurism.
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