In visible Cities by Diana Artus
Based on the book “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino
– It is the mood of the beholder which gives the city its form.
(Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities)
Paying a tribute to Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, Diana Artus explores today’s ‘visible cities’.
In Calvino’s novel Marco Polo reports Kublai Khan on 55 phantastic cities he had seen during his journeys.
Each of this cities is described as a poetic metaphor of a certain situation in life or an emotional condition. Calvino classifies them using 11 different categories.
Taking a similar approach Diana Artus is strolling through and gazing at cities looking for the visual traces of such imaginary and phantasmatic places which are subtly overlaying and pervading the real contemporary urban sceneries.
Adopting Calvino’s categories of cities she selected 55 photographs from her archive, whose sequence is given by the original book and its table of contents. Keeping parts of the text very dimmed in the background and the title plain and clear on each page, she superimposes a photography she took in a city somewhere around the globe – from Mexico City, to NY, Toronto, London, or Istanbul – creating a contemporary visual journey through urbanity.
Exerp from a conversation on the Blond art books blog
BABS: Does the book exist as a series outside of the book form?
DA: Not really, it rather assembles visual fragments from my huge archive of digital photographs taken in different cities in the last 10 years. Nevertheless it would be possible to show the eleven little series (with five images each) or even just a selection of particular pictures separately from the book as they are coherent in showing certain aspects of cities in a specific esthetics.
It may be interesting to know that I didn’t take the photographs for the book, if not the images existed first and than came the idea to do the book. All the images are taken in different cities and years (although there are many New York and Mexico City scenes, just because of the simple fact that I spent quite a while in both cities and took many pictures there) and they haven’t necessarily something to do whith each other nor were they conceived as a series at first. What connects them now and turns them into a real series is the context of the book.