In Brazil, a developer named Albuquerque has been building "Alphavilles" since 1974: overprotected "model" urban enclaves, on the outskirts of big cities. A name directly inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's film Alphaville (1965), which shows a city controlled by an anxiety-inducing and absurd computer... How does the Alphaville of Sao Polo ressemble that of Godard ? Is the planet being progressively covered with Alphavilles ? Climate, urbanization, modernization, regionalism, and tourism are spatial cocktail ingrediens, sometimes boring, sometimes very surprizing. Where are the differences, where are the repetitions ?
In his novel Aventura de un fotografo en La Plata, Adolpho Bioy Casares follows a youg man in this Argentine city created in 1882 according to an orthogonal plan. An enormous grid, with some diagonals, in which the streets are simply numbered. However, even in this completely woven environment, the young photographer will live specific moments, and ABC's descriptions of photographic instants, recounting both the registred image and the constructed space, are very stimulating.
An area of New York is called "Alphabet City" because its streets carry the names of letters. In some big cities like Shangai or Buenos Aires, the streets systematically carry the names of other cities, superimposing faraway spaces while creating new proximities.
"- In Ostend, I love Gibraltar." (Bashung) - In Brasilia, there is Chandigarh. - In Paris there is Buenos Aires and in Palm Springs there is Kyoto.
The book of images is published on the occasion of two exhibitions that will take place, one in Antwerp (at de Singel) and the other in Zurich (at the Kunsthalle). The images of Zurich are by Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
From A to Z across eighty cities, a list absolutely non-exhaustive...
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster - Introduction (p.4)