The Cooper Union Thesis, Spring 2014—Fall 2015.
Recepient of the Tony and David Yarnell Thesis Prize.
Can an instant be forever?
It is dry and hot as I am
photographing this city of relentless sun. The city, raised on a fortified stone
plinth, collides with and animates the sea. The salt in the air begins to sting
subtle wounds. There are only shadows within thick defensive walls to free the
body from these omnipresent elements. I leave the city with eight rolls of film
carrying its memory. We continue apart from one another. The city transforms…
The city I photographed no longer exists. The Forever City exists only in these
photographs as an architectural construction of light and shadow.
This city, built on a raised and
fortified peninsula on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, is contained. It is an
island of time. Each inhabitant, construction, and destruction has left a trace
within this perimeter, and continues to do so. Unlike many ancient sites, the
continuing re-articulation and shifting urban fabric of this city has never
been recorded or traditionally preserved. The Forever City exists in layers of
memories and time. With a process of extraction and
isolation of architectural and corporal elements, I am attempting to mark an
instant of a city that has been inhabited for 2,000 years.
I am proposing a methodology to
record the unrecorded by defining the city’s tectonic characteristics with
light and shadow. Elements extracted from the photographs are used to develop
an alphabet of the city, and with architectural studies and iterations, I can
begin to make my mark in time on The Forever City. The thesis is a question of
my own presence on this timeline. In order to make record of this layered city,
it is necessary to build yet another layer of memory upon it, furthering its
I am seeking to preserve the city,
as I perceived it at that moment. The Forever City can be rewritten and removed
from its context to acquire a new spatial character. A character that can exist
autonomously, yet contain the memory of its origin. Ultimately, the records of
the city can be rewritten into the site they were originally found, to exist as
intimate architectural moments of memory within The Forever City — a city that can
now contain the preservation of its own history.