Antonio Glessi, the filmmaker of The Making of Artificial Moon which I posted about last week, sent me a link to another wonderful collaboration between students at Isia and visiting artists at the Palazzo Strozzi Centre for Contemporary Art in Florence.
Watching Antonio’s film ‘We Need More Clouds’, where visiting Dutch artist, Marnix De Nijs has the students help him take over 15,000 photographs and record sound every 20m throughout the streets of Florence so that he can reconstruct the whole city in 3D back in Rotterdam, I was inspired by the sheer gutsiness (is that a word?) of the project. No holding back – let’s just map the city of Florence and put it up somewhere else! Fantastic!
The 3D version of Florence ‘Exploded Views’ is, of course, not quite like walking through the real thing – the visitor walks through ghostly white renditions of the buildings and streets, as if the heart and living essence of them got left back in Florence, but they have their own haunting beauty – sort of soul shadows of the originals… and it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it, before the technology makes that possible?
However tempting it might be to just make the cities more and more ‘lifelike’, in his next project, Marnix is more interested in how we use cities – the distorted ‘realities’ of our actual (shared) experience. Why does almost everyone go to the same places within cities and even take the same photos?
I love these explorations in mapping – have you tried that little self-mapping widget on TripAdvisor? You enter in the names of all the places you’ve visited and it puts a pin in a world map for you, with big pins for places you know well and little ones for places you’ve visited as a tourist… it’s fun and slightly compulsive once you’ve got going… here’s mine; (though sticking 78 pins in a map is a perhaps a minor accomplishment compared to finding thousands of photos on Flickr to re-create visitor-experienced Amsterdam, which is what Marnix did next!)
Imagine though, doing something on Marnix’s scale – not just mapping, but reconstructing your distorted version of the ‘reality’ you’ve experienced and the ones you’ve yet to experience. Worlds within worlds, new worlds to be created… that’s an incredibly mind-boggling and exciting prospect. Wait till Disney gets hold of it…