‘From now on, I’ll describe the cities to you,’ the Khan had said, ‘In your journeys you will see if they exist.’
But the cities visited by Marco Polo were always different from those thought of by the emperor.
‘And yet I have constructed in my mind a model city from which all possible cities can be deduced,’ Kublai said. ‘It contains ev- erything corresponding to the norm. Since the cities that exist diverge in varying degree from the norm, I need only foresee the exceptions to the norm and calculate the most probable combinations.’
‘I have also thought of a model city from which I deduce all the others’ Marco answered, ‘It is a city made only of exceptions, exclusions, incongruities, contradictions. If such a city is the most improbable, by reducing thenumber of elements, we increase the probability that the city really exists. So I have only to subtract exceptions from my model, and in whatever direction I proceed, I will arrive at one of the cities which, always as an exception, ex- ist. But I cannot force my operation beyond a certain limit: I would achieve cities too probable to be real.’
-from “Invisible cities” by Italo Calvino-
I started the project Fringe roughly in 2007, although not aware of this at the time. Fresh with a new large format camera and a grant from the Mondriaan Fund I set of to China. I always wanted to go and explore the Chinese megolopolis, indulging myself in the never-ending city, the concrete monotony and the thousands upon thousands of bay windows suggesting life with hints of individuality. The more I worked there, the more I was drawn to edges of the city, the border between the cultural and natural. It’s a strange juxtaposition of on the one hand the bleak and unpretentious architecture, housing the millions and on the other hand, the natural landscape giving way to the city, while popping up in other places. The more I looked at it, the less I differentiated between the two worlds. The focus shifted from the human perspective to the object perspective. Once undone from that social context, I was left with mere shapes, structures and horizons, making it possible to fully look and gaze at these structures, transcending into silence and alienating beauty.