Fall 2011 | ArteZine

InVisible Cities


“In vain, great-hearted Kublai, shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of high bastions. I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades’ curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past.”  Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

InVisible Cities consists of four monochromatic panels. To make each panel I began by choosing two points in Manhattan which would act as the frame.  The titles of the pieces were chosen for places that once existed at these coordinates, but no longer exist today.  I then walked between these sites, and, using my phone, collected the names of all the WiFi networks that appeared on my screen along the route.  I arranged the found text from each walk into grids and produced large stencils. On four-by-eight-foot aluminum panels I used acrylic paint and sprayed the ground black. Using the same pigment I then sprayed through the stencils, creating a field of names rising in low relief above the monochromatic surface. The resulting works are cameraless landscapes, invisible snapshots; representations of both the paths depicted and the moment of their recording, connecting the passage of time in the history of a city to specific date the network names were recorded. This makes the project peculiarly photographic; the recording device has simply transformed from a camera into a phone.

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