Solo exhibition by Michael Bruce Weston at Steambox Gallery & Studios, School Street, Dublin 8.
27th July-06th August 2017
This Imagined City, a personal project which started at the end of 2013 and is still ongoing, began randomly while waiting in a room. It organically kept growing ever since, and still does. After all, can we ever say when a city is finished, can we fix its boundaries and say, it will not grow or change any further?
And, can we say a city has a memory or many memories?
The experience of cities and their various formations and manifestations cannot be reduced to numerical notation or wording. They invite us to engage, they present the opportunity to wander and wonder and to discover the beauties and rarities which unfold before our senses.
I believe the problem lies primarily in our effort to understand the city as a whole instead of accepting that it is as complex, dynamic and diverse as its inhabitants, as ourselves – as either residents or passers-by; that there can be as many cities as individuals. We can, not only (re)interpret and (re)imagine spaces, but also possible events, conversations… Thus the city can act as a mirror where we reflect our desires, wishes, potentials, and a place of encounters which possibly makes us act upon or say something, or simply remain still and silent.
(…) “Cities, like dreams, are made up of desires and fears, even though the thread of their discourse remains secret, its rules absurd, its perspectives misleading; and every one thing conceals another”(…)1
Starting from an inadvertent place, like the lost voyageur, we find ourselves in the city and we follow the thread of its streets, we stop at any point, sometimes for reasons unknown to us, to then continue, turn in any possible direction, maybe to retrace our steps or just stay where we happen to be, for a while.
“(…)Unfinished city, not due to some imperfection or other, but because its horizon is always felt and never reached. In constant mouvement, it ceaselessly deals its cards, provokes collisions, invents unread rimes and surprising associations. (…)”2
Even though we tend to think of a city as the result of layers of planning through time, and of chance in some cases, none of these explanations suffice to hold it together. As Italo Calvino further says in his book, The Invisible Cities,
(…) “You do not enjoy a city because of its seven or seventy-seven wonders, but because of the answer it offers to one of your questions.” 3
The viewer’s city is a randomly weaved thread of solids and voids, each one of us will experience it differently, each one of us will give it a different meaning…
Michael Bruce Weston June 2017
*With thanks to Jenny Papassotiriou and Hazel Greene for their comments on the text, and to Marie-Catherine Mousseau for suggestions on the translations.
1. Italo Calvino, Les Villes Invisibles. (1972. Paris: Folio Gallimard 2013). (own translation). ≪(…)Les villes comme les rêves sont faites de désirs et de peurs, meme si le fil de leur discours est secret, leurs règles absurdes, leurs perspectives trompeuses; et toute chose en cache une autre.(…)≫.
2. Pierre Sansot, Poétique de la Ville. (Paris: Petite Bibliothèque Payot 2004). (own translation).≪La ville inachevée, non point par suite d’une quelconque imperfection, mais comme horizon des horizons, toujours pressenti et jamais atteint. En mouvement, elle redistribue sans cesse les cartes, elle provoque des collisions, elle invente des rimes inédits, des associations surprenantes ≫.
3. Italo Calvino, op cit. (own translation) ≪Tu ne jouis pas d’une ville à cause de ses sept ou soixante-dix-sept merveilles, mais de la réponse qu’elle apporte à l’une de tes questions≫.
Exhibition photos by Robert Carroll. Thanks for the great photos Rob!
Solo Exhibition opening this Thursday 27th July 2017. Runs from the 28th July to 06t August. See Urbs Imaginaria
Pencil on paper 2015. Photo MBW.