In a society obsessed with the visual, there is an increasing tendency to mistake good images with good architecture. Perfect renderings printed on glossy billboards have not only colonized global cities, but are also used to approve, evaluate and sell new construction projects. These digitally constructed, imagined landscapes become real before reality: their shiny presence merges with the existing urban environment, masking the raw construction sites they overlook and forming a representation of a future city in citizens' minds. And when construction terminates, finished buildings imitate the aesthetics of digital architecture, leading to a hyper-real experience of physical space, as well as a fixed idea of what life in the city should look like.
Rendered Cities will present newly commissioned works by artists Felicity Hammond, Lawrence Lek, and Laura Yuile, that address the future of our cities in light of these digital aesthetics, and investigate the political, economic, and ideological forces behind their proliferation.
Felicity Hammond's work uses photography and sculpture to reflect on how digital representations of buildings become part of the urban fabric before their construction, and how these marketing techniques create the effect of a ruin in reverse when buildings are completed. A video essay by Lawrence Lek will trace the political symbolism of the skyscraper as the global repetition of an urban form and a contemporary manifestation of wealth and power. Laura Yuile will present an installation that will change throughout the duration of the show, which considers how familial structures and methods of living are sold to us via advertising and narratives of wellness and wellbeing.