The urban incubator: (De)constructive (re)presentation of heterotopian spatiality and virtual image(ries)

Wael Salah Fahmi


This paper provides an imaginary navigation with the camera’s eye to grasp the psychogeography of post-modern urban spatial fragments, whilst considering the proliferation and fragmentation in production and consumption of phantasmagoric other (‘unconscious’ and ‘hidden’) urban spaces. Through an 'imaginary' Urban Incubator, the paper proposes a (de)(re)constructive reading of a conflation of real cities under space-time compression, mapped into fictional terrain of heterotopian imagery and virtuality. Such urban experimentation within cit(y)(ies) involves a sequence of digital images and video stills, constructing spatio-temporal narratives as means of navigation between imaginary (sense of) place identity, and cognitive imaging. In an attempt to capture the spirit of the 'nocturnal city' as an 'urban navigator' or as a 'flâneur', other (unconscious and hidden) urban spaces in various metropolises are represented as digital collages, experimental diagrams, virtual installations, visual semiotics, and spatial narratives. Digital fragments and diagrams will bring urban images into sharp juxtaposition, 'de-solidifying' the physical and dissolving spatial distinctions between reality and mythical spaces, between the screen and the imagination, between the virtual urbanity of the information machine and the actual urbanity of the city. Such representation will call into play the possibility of a coterminous and dialectic merging of very real city of bricks and a conceptual 'city of pixels'.

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