To be lifted to the summit of the World Trade Centre is to be lifted out of the city's grasp.
(Michel de Certeau, 'The Practice of Everyday Life'.)
The turn of the century brought a renewed interest and confidence in constructing high-rise buildings in a number of major cities around the world. It has become the corporate building type for an increasingly global industry and global architecture. Although many projects slowed, ground to a halt, or were scrapped altogether as a direct result of the worldwide economic downturn, others continued at a pace. This body of work, comprising of 3 integrated parts, looks in detail at these constructions using a combination of both interior and exterior still images and video. Straight editorial like images, video pieces taken from a fixed camera position (including sound), and more abstract responses to the subject matter are placed within the same exhibition, allowing the three approaches to create an intriguing dialogue and critique of these exclusive locations. From environments situated on the upper floors of major high-rise developments to nocturnal images looking up towards the illuminated and isolated summits of these structures from the streets below. Subsequently raising a number of questions about: their relationship to the city; the nature and notion of the view; the significance that is culturally placed on the ownership of or access we have to these privileged viewpoints; the activities that take place within them; the way in which they are designed; utilised and presented to us; the companies and individuals that demand them; their significance within the contemporary urban landscape; and architecture's inherent relationship with ideas of theatre and theatricality.
Through a number of visual strategies, the work explores the discourse surrounding notions of power through architectural theory and the observation of a number of architectural/design techniques as well as addressing ideas of representation and spectatorship. The project includes images taken in 10 major cities - Frankfurt, Dubai, Taipei, Seoul, Rotterdam, London, Paris, Kaohsiung, Berlin and Manchester. However, the location for each image is not revealed, allowing for a blurring of context to exist throughout the project.
Although this project includes video works, it's important to note that both 'Curtain' and 'Blind' overtly reference and question the medium of photography, through the subtle use of moving image, with the mechanical devises captured performing a function similar to that of a shutter or eye. This is further enhanced by an additional reference to photographic exposure when the camera, in fully automatic mode, struggles to balance the light in the interior and exterior spaces, resulting in a sudden and dramatic shift in 'Curtain', and a virtual whiteout in 'Blind'.