Photoshop City – Photoshop城市 Secretary The subject can inhabit spaces the body cannot reach. Visualization is a category of architectural work that aims to induce a desire for architecture so potent that buildings are brought into being. The built environment may provide a shelter for bodies in the present, but it is architectural visualization that allows us to inhabit spaces that do not yet exist. In this they are far from neutral.
“Photoshop City” is an installation by the Stockholm-based architecture office Secretary, which uses Adobe Photoshop to explore the capacities and potentials of visualization as a tool and object of design research. The work is made up of two sets of videos—Housework (2017) and Spacework (2019). The production of the latter is performed in public over the course of the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen. Each video documents a photograph of an existing urban setting being manipulated in order to reveal the unbuilt ideals that haunt built form.
The “Housework” series is oriented towards acts of maintenance: these videos show an apartment being tidied and infrastructural surfaces being polished, residential buildings being given more stately proportions, a creek being returned to the wilderness, and a fictional inner-city renewal pushed to a state of hyper-masculine commercialization. In these acts, Secretary aims to make good on the promises of urbanity and sustainability that informed these architectures, exposing the irrational rhythms and subjective preferences that inform acts of visualization.
The “Spacework” series is made in site in Shenzhen, taking the space of Futian High-Speed Railway Station as their point of department. In these videos, Secretary tests a range of visualization techniques with the aim of projecting the corridor of the train station into the distant future (and into deep space). This exercise in speculative fiction experiments with the possibility of projecting beyond the hyper-masculine optics of militarized extraterritorial colonization that have dominated our thinking about the future city in recent centuries.
CREDITS: Helen Runting, Rutger Sjögrim, Karin Matz, Hélène Frichot
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