Dubai: the idea of the global city made manifest. Architectural spaces appear as imagination reified, with western modernism appropriated and re-made on a grand scale. Described variously as post-Fordist or post-modern, these new urban landscapes bear physical testimony to the massive shifts that have occurred in the underlying logic of the new city, of its design and production, since the 1970s.
In The Production of Space (1974), Henri Lefebvre describes how meaning in the city inevitably remains elusive, both revealing and concealing the logics of its conception and the modalities of power that lurk behind the ‘monuments and towers, factories and office blocks’. But the new city compounds this dislocation, extends this lacuna, through the characteristic speed at which they appear – as if in an instant. Equally accelerated is the process of inhabitation, with the stratified members of the international community flooding the city and bringing with them their familiar hierarchies, and modes of coexistence. In a city of speed surface appearances come to replace memory in a landscape where history plays no part. In this sense, the city becomes less about recollection than expectation.
For me, the camera becomes a means to explore the quotidian realities of an environment transformed into an ever-unfolding, always-becoming present. Utilising the camera’s aesthetic potential to emphasise stillness, fleeting moments and bodily gestures enable us to comprehend the contradictory place of the individual within the new global city.