[ISEA2014] Paper: Sharmeen Syed – Roaming Trans-cities and Airborne Fiction: click the image to enlarge and zoom in


A canvas for global and nomadic crossroads; north‑south immigration patterns; and east‑ west trading axes bisect a tabula rasa of hues, extreme climates and strange topographies. This provides a complex matrix of interconnectivities. These post‑colonial cities of the 21st century have grown out of new technologies, telecommunications and mega infrastructures that have brought about dramatic morphological and ecological changes. This is the future state of world urbanism – prescriptive and full of visual dramatization. The aerial view has provided encapsulations of civilization and modernization while simultaneously empowering the spectator with the omniscient gaze. The gaze of the cartographer mapping territory – territory to acquire and territory acquired – intrinsically associated with the production of knowledge and ultimately the    delineation of the ’empire’, be it geographical, virtual or imaginary. The past decade has witnessed the climactic boom and disintegration of urban daydreams embedded and immortalized in renderings, master plans and fictitious cameo appearances. As cities recover from hallucinated wealth, they also retain relics of the imagined and the unrealized along with the histories and global references accumulated from the past. Abound with spectacle, Hollywood‑esque appeal and the hyper‑planned, the future fictitious city has become a comment on its own urban, supra‑urban and suburban realities.

  • Sharmeen Syed, Sharjah Art Foundation, AE