Sunday, 20 September 2015

Invisible Cities: Thumbnails 1-6

Sketching quick thumbnails to adapt Calvino's Invisible Cities [1972] onto sketchbook pages:

Anastasia [1-3] - I thought main idea behind description was expressing and exaggerating beauty, but reminding the visitor where his place is in this land - "you believe you are enjoying Anastasia wholly when you are only its slave." Reminding me of artists and concepts such as Hundertwasser, Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, Cardiff's redeveloped waterfront, Canary Wharf, Heathrow Airport and other architecture places primarily to serve businesspeople (not to mention Don Bluth's Anastasia) - so became interested in conflicting business with pleasure, exaggerated entertainment (stadium screens, swimming pools, clock tower decorations, etc.), colliding with small boarded airport walkways (currency signs) - "You are nothing!"

Argia [4-5] - Exploring concept of piling up dirt-debris entirely throughout city. Covering windows and doors, overgrowing grass and plants, tight chutes that people try to walk/squeeze through. Debris pile so massive that some have to slide down dug chutes (surrounded by seagulls) to get to city centre

Armilla [6] - Exploring idea of entire structures supported by just pipes (various sizes and directions) - in a way, designed to look slightly dangerous to run at fast pace (fear of falling from large pipes with no handle support)


Links - Hundertwasser, Sony Center [Potsdamer Platz, Berlin], Canary Wharf [Tower Hamlets, London], Mermaid Quay [Cardiff waterfront], seagulls at the dump, pipes screensaver


  1. Hi Robin, I'd say you are heading in a good direction with Anastasia, I can see a lot of images buzzing though your mind my one concern is that you may have taken "you are its slave" a little too literally with that "you are nothing" sign. If the negative imagery is too blunt then it cancels out the value of the positive imagery.

    I think you're on to something with these modern business districts; sleek, clean, modern architecture designed primarily for the finance sector. The areas are beautiful yet at the same time somewhat soul-crushing. It's an intriguing dynamic to investigate.

    6 could be the foundation for quite a mish-mash city.Perhaps the pipes are a means of travel for those who have the balance to move across them quickly? Maybe they're popular with thieves or smugglers. Just a couple of thoughts there.

    Also regarding your pictures, what will be very useful when you come to write your essays and film critiques is to get to grips with Harvard Referencing.

    Providing a more direct way to verify your pictures (Google search results, based on both relevance and popularity, change all the time) will help people verify the source. It gives us all some peace of mind.

  2. Hi Robin,

    Great to see your initial ideas coming through :)
    Try not to get too bogged down with drawing lots of detail at this stage...keep your sketches nice and loose; it's all about getting lots of ideas out at the moment, before focussing in at a later stage in the project.
    I agree with Mark - it's a good idea to start using the Harvard method to reference your work, as this is the way you will need to reference images etc in your essays. You can find the UCA guide to referencing here -