Nylon Chrysalis

Throughout city centres and ‘old towns’ of the metropolis’ of Europe, growths of scaffolds and coverings are ever-present. Their presence amongst historic architecture is a reminder that cities are never complete; cities are always in a state of flux. 

As the sun sets and the construction crews retreat, a transformation occurs within the nighttime street’s shadows. These utilitarian structures, once mere tools of construction, undergo an aesthetic shift. Bathed in the nocturnal glow of the surrounding urban area, the scaffold, now quiet and still, takes on a new form, becoming a sculptural-like prop within the theatre of the nighttime city. The stark contrast between the glaring sodium and fluorescent illumination and the deepened shadows of night creates a captivating dichotomy between the historic permanent structure and the synthetic temporary covering. Affixed to and enveloping host buildings like an insect’s woven chrysalis, these quiet veiled structures conceal a metamorphosis within, inviting the viewer to ponder their transient beauty.  

These structures, often encountered within historic city centers, are not just a product of construction, but also of a globalized ease of travel and an increased desire to see and experience the exotic other. They are a tangible manifestation of the economics of tourism, as cities cleanse and rejuvenate aged buildings, transforming districts into enticing enclaves of the authentic for the tourist and their gaze. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, of 983 million tourist trips in 2011, 504 million arrived in Europe, an increase of 6.2% over the previous year. The streetscape and buildings themselves have become a precious commodity that cities across the continent are investing in, shaping the very fabric of these urban landscapes.

 

...more

Scaffolds and coverings exist within this landscape yet are invisible to the tourist who experiences this new location through a camera lens. The tourist’s lens is methodically averted from this synthetic invader. It is not part of the authentic and, therefore, does not belong in the photo album “memoryscape.” 

Nylon Chrysalis freezes the temporal existence of scaffold and coverings. Photography documents the fleeting presence of these entities within the urban setting, making visible what is not seen by the tourist. The artificial lighting of the nighttime city collapses geographic proximity. Like Italo Calvino’s imaginary city of Thekla (from his novel Invisible Cities), composed entirely of cranes and scaffolds, Nylon Chrysalis forms a possible topography, a topography not visible to some but existing across the cities of Europe.

"", exhibition view by William Mokrynski

Appeared in EYEMAZING

A feature of Nylon Chysalis written by Karl e. Johnson, appeared in Issue 04-2010 of Eymazing Magazine, Amsterdam.

A PDF of the article can be viewed here.

Throughout city centres and ‘old towns’ of the metropolis’ of Europe, growths of scaffolds and coverings are ever-present. Their presence amongst historic architecture is a reminder that cities are never complete; cities are always in a state of flux. 

As the sun sets and the construction crews retreat, a transformation occurs within the nighttime street’s shadows. These utilitarian structures, once mere tools of construction, undergo an aesthetic shift.

 

...more

Bathed in the nocturnal glow of the surrounding urban area, the scaffold, now quiet and still, takes on a new form, becoming a sculptural-like prop within the theatre of the nighttime city. The stark contrast between the glaring sodium and fluorescent illumination and the deepened shadows of night creates a captivating dichotomy between the historic permanent structure and the synthetic temporary covering. Affixed to and enveloping host buildings like an insect’s woven chrysalis, these quiet veiled structures conceal a metamorphosis within, inviting the viewer to ponder their transient beauty.  

These structures, often encountered within historic city centers, are not just a product of construction, but also of a globalized ease of travel and an increased desire to see and experience the exotic other. They are a tangible manifestation of the economics of tourism, as cities cleanse and rejuvenate aged buildings, transforming districts into enticing enclaves of the authentic for the tourist and their gaze. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, of 983 million tourist trips in 2011, 504 million arrived in Europe, an increase of 6.2% over the previous year. The streetscape and buildings themselves have become a precious commodity that cities across the continent are investing in, shaping the very fabric of these urban landscapes.

Scaffolds and coverings exist within this landscape yet are invisible to the tourist who experiences this new location through a camera lens. The tourist’s lens is methodically averted from this synthetic invader. It is not part of the authentic and, therefore, does not belong in the photo album “memoryscape.” 

Nylon Chrysalis freezes the temporal existence of scaffold and coverings. Photography documents the fleeting presence of these entities within the urban setting, making visible what is not seen by the tourist. The artificial lighting of the nighttime city collapses geographic proximity. Like Italo Calvino’s imaginary city of Thekla (from his novel Invisible Cities), composed entirely of cranes and scaffolds, Nylon Chrysalis forms a possible topography, a topography not visible to some but existing across the cities of Europe.

"", exhibition view by William Mokrynski

Appeared in EYEMAZING

A feature of Nylon Chysalis written by Karl e. Johnson, appeared in Issue 04-2010 of Eymazing Magazine, Amsterdam.

A PDF of the article can be viewed here.