PHOTOGRAPHER MONOGRAPHS

PUBLISHER
JOVIS

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 11.75 x 10 in. / 96 pgs / 95 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
PUB DATE 4/30/2014
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CATALOG: SPRING 2014 p. 101   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9783868593181 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $45.00 CDN $45.00

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JOVIS

Christoph Gielen: Ciphers

Published by Jovis
Text by Geoff Manaugh, Johan F. Hartle, Galina Tachieva, Srdjan J. Weiss, Susannah Sayler, Edward Morris.

"Conversions XVIII Suburban California" (Interstate 15 interchange (I-15/SR-210), San Bernadino County, California. Developer: State of California Department of Transportation. Architect: E.L Yeager Construction Co. Construction: 2002) is reproduced from <I>Christoph Gielen: Ciphers</I>.Working at the intersection of art and environmental politics, photographer Christoph Gielen specializes in conducting photographic aerial studies of infrastructure in its relation to land use. Collected and published here for the first time, Gielen’s abstracting views reveal the hidden geometries of building developments that only emerge when seen from far above the ground, in the elliptical or hexagonal shapes of structures such as maximum security prisons or retirement communities. In Ciphers, Gielen uses a triptych format to present this sprawl as car culture phenomenon and a way of life--encouraging viewers to question both the nature of the developed community and the ramifications of contemporary building trends. These pictures invoke an era of carefree risk-taking, of "bigger is better," when investing in home ownership and commercial real estate were still standard practices and neither distance from workplace nor gasoline prices much mattered in determining the locations of new construction.

"Conversions XVIII Suburban California" (Interstate 15 interchange (I-15/SR-210), San Bernadino County, California. Developer: State of California Department of Transportation. Architect: E.L Yeager Construction Co. Construction: 2002) is reproduced from Christoph Gielen: Ciphers.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Exposures

Dzana Tsomondo

CIPHERS is an arresting, mesmerizing piece of art.

Arch Daily

Christoph Gielen’s aerial views offer a look at America’s most aberrant and unusual sprawl forms in ways we usually don’t get to see them: from far above the ground—a vantage point that reveals both the intricate geometry as well as the idiosyncratic allure of these developments.

The Daily Beast

Tim Teeman

High above we see the startlingly calculated execution and evolution of city centers and suburbs. The latter is the subject of photographer Christoph Gielen's wonderful book of photographs, CIPHERS, in which all manner of suburban development—ribbon and rosary-shaped, with roads delicately snaking through—is photographed abstractly to produce, as Geoff Manaugh, editor of Gizmodo writes in his introduction, "optically provocative geometries."

American Suburb X

Raphael Shammaa

Worth a thousand words, at least.

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

GEOFF MANAUGH | DATE 4/2/2014

'Geometric Sociology' in Christoph Gielen: Ciphers

'Geometric Sociology' in Christoph Gielen: Ciphers
In his classic novel The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon describes a suburb that is "less an identifiable city than a grouping of concepts—census tracts, special purpose bond issue districts, shopping nuclei, all overlaid with access roads to its own freeway." The novel's protagonist, Oedipa Maas, drives down into this Euclidean city of rough-edged shapelets, only to find with no real surprise that "nothing was happening" there.

She "looks down a slope, needing to squint for the sunlight, onto a vast sprawl of houses which had grown up all together, like a well-tended crop, from the dull brown earth," Pynchon writes, "and she thought of the time she'd opened a transistor radio to replace a battery and seen her first printed circuit. The ordered swirl of houses and streets, from this high angle, sprang at her now with the same unexpected, astonishing clarity as the circuit card had."

The architectural system unfolding in front of her held, according to Pynchon, a "hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate." Indeed, looking downhill at these fingerprint-like whorls and acute angles of a now-absent intelligence, Oedipa experiences an "odd, religious instant."
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