Imaginary Architectures is a project invested in the possibility of archaic methods of image making to produce alternative futures for imagining the contemporary global city. So far it has taken the form of visual essay, installation, print, and lecture, spanning across two continents and three cities (Chicago, NYC, London). It will continue to mold to the shape of the container city that houses it, transforming and evolving all the while.
It is interested in the idea of the global city as a hybrid or composite of tangible sites of urban memory and identity, interwoven, inextricable, and indistinguishable from the other: an overlapping network of cultural memory, built history and transitional space. Using the concept of the palimpsest and various literary works, including Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project, Marc Augé's concepts of the non-place and supermodernism, as well as Italo Borges' Invisible Cities, this ongoing series uses experimental strategies of layering, multiple-exposure, chemical burning and dodging during the printing process to explore the structural and conceptual overlaps of the built environments of the cities of Detroit and Berlin. Using light and chemistry the work intends to fold together negative and positive space, compress past and future, and infuse one city's iconography and visual identity with the other to create a non-place worth imagining. It is inspired by the relative permanence of a photo print particularly in relationship to the rapid, chance-based and often improvisational gestures and techniques that constitute an alternative printing process, as well as the little traces of the author (fingerprints, strands of hair caught in the exposure, nail scratches and chemical stains splattered upon the film negatives to create echoes of past prints in future ones) and furthermore the relationship of the individual to collective measures of urban memory and identity.