A CITY TO LIVE IN
In looking at the contemporary cityscape, tectonic industries were drawn to the notion of the non-place; the modernist architectural forms utilised for leisure, transit and commerce (for example the hotel, the fast-food chain, the shopping mall etc). These corporate exteriors and interiors are identical throughout the world, enabling the traveller to circumnavigate the globe and never touch, or be affected by, local culture. This world exists only in the present tense; it is timeless, locationless, directionless and largely featureless. In opposition to the traditional ideal of place, these bland forms have few connotations of history, memory, relations or any specific events or identities.
The starting point for A City To Live In was the creation of mixed-media scale models of the built environment. The models are generic examples of the non-place; they are not based upon specific buildings, but rather speak of a specific type of architecture. The models are then photographed, and it is these which are presented. The images produced are recognisable yet ambiguous; seemingly real yet speaking of the nature of the artificial. By greatly enlarging images taken as close-up shots of small-scale models the image is diffused and, upon closer inspection, dissolves into the photographic ground. This blurred quality suggests a sensation of movement at speed through the environment in which this artificially created architecture exists.
A City To Live In is a two-part installation consisting of twelve black and white photographs of models (60 x 80cm) and three glass floor pieces (80 x 150cm). Each glass panel stands upon clear acrylic cylinders, raising them 8cm off the floor.The glass is acid-etched and therefore relatively opaque. Upon this surface, sand-blasted shapes refer to cut-outs of non-places extracted from various city-plans. These forms function to fragment the map of the city. Roads, residential areas and all other details have been omitted, leaving only the plans, or footprints, of non-places. The details of these fragmented plans are more or less evident, depending on the lighting conditions within the gallery space; at certain times they are barely visible, at others the shapes cast shadows onto the floor.