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Hardcover | $16.95 Trade | £14.95 | 328 pp. | 4.75 x 6.25 in | 200 color illus. | August 2009 | ISBN: 9780262013291
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Alphabet City

Alphabet City is a series of annual hardcover anthologies originating from Toronto, Canada. Each volume in the series addresses a one-word topic of global concern and draws on the diverse perspectives of writers and artists from many cultures and disciplines. Each book is a graphically rich and textually surprising combination of images and texts that critically and imaginatively reinvents the topic at hand.


Alphabet City Magazine 14
Edited by John Knechtel
Introduction by John Knechtel


Water is the chemical matrix required for life, the molecular chain that connects all organisms on the planet. But in the twenty-first century, water may replace oil as the most prized of resources. Just as gas-guzzling SUVs use more than their share of fuel, water-guzzling regions threaten the water supply for the rest of the world. In Water, writers, scientists, architects, and artists consider the many aspects of water, at levels from the microscopic to the global, touching on subjects that range from new water infrastructures to ancient bathing rituals. Water includes a chemist’s accounting of the true cost of water; photographs taken inside a city’s secret waterways; an urban planner’s description of how Toronto, New York, Hamburg, and Seoul have redesigned and rethought their waterfront areas; a conceptual artist’s series of water bottles “branded” with various modern credos; photographs of a water-damaged ledger from the 1905 Yukon gold rush; two architects’ rethinking of how to collect, divert, and transport water from water-rich to water-poor regions; a philosopher’s invocation of the spiritual lessons of water; and photographs of a disturbingly beautiful flooded landscape.

About the Editor

John Knechtel is Director of Alphabet City Media in Toronto.


“From molecule to global resource, water is examined from every angle...Water offers a flood of images that leaves a nostalgic residue for a resource we so often take for granted. There's also the haunting effect of the book itself—something archival that makes us feel we hold a precious remnant in our hands.”—Los Angeles Times
“Visually eclectic and artistically driven...This book is like having an art gallery in your hands.”—Booklist