Ian Andrews


City of Light

SD Video . 5 min . 2013

City of Light explores the visual and textual rhetoric of the urban utopia. The 1939 New York World’s Fair was an immense exhibition of modern technology, billed enthusiastically as ‘the greatest engineering feat of the century,’ ‘the eighth wonder of the world,’ a vast utopian project, which Wyndam Lewis saw fit to compare to the spectacle of the Nuremburg Rallies. The theme of the fair was ‘building the world of tomorrow,’ which was expressed visually in thousands of exhibitions and pavilions, covering some 1216 acres. Its monumental architecture resonated with such grand projects as Haussmans’ Paris, Albert Speer’s plan for Berlin, and the 1939 plan for Moscow. Despite a sense of incredulity imposed by the post-modern condition toward such grand narratives, one can’t easily dismiss the warm feeling of wonderment that the utopian images of the fair bring. 

In City of Light, archival images from the fair are combined to create fictional grand vistas that play with the symmetry of architectural forms that respond to the theme of utopia as ‘non-place.’ These constructions are punctuated by a series of randomly generated inter-titles in the style of the 1930s newsreel.