Liliana Moro

Le Città, 1994

The Cities is a set of small cardboard models of houses, children’s toys with which they construct an inhabitable world. In this work, the house is no longer that space which is on the face of it private. The houses are connected with each other by strings of lights which intermittently light them up from inside, linking them in a light flow which is both continuous and deferred. The electrical system thus breaks the isolation of the houses, making them branch out in “urban” space, and making “cities” of them. This installation on the ground, which we look down on, questions the notion of a scaled-down world—the miniature as a projection of our vision of the world—and challenges the significance of urban space, subject to the intermittent vibration of the electric lighting, which lends it a spasmodic temporal dimension. Through their inner luminosity, these houses also overlap with the modernist issue of the public exhibition of a private interior. The lighting which suddenly comes on may conjure up Benjamin-like “astonishment”, the shock which tears us away from habit, and shows us things as if for the first time, like being wrenched away from the world of childhood for the world of adulthood. The houses have no interior element, they are merely the node for spreading electric circuits, a media focus of the modern house which is no longer anything other than a content-less shell. The electric lights nevertheless lend an air of festivity to the whole, as if to celebrate the advent of a house, no longer closed in on its status as a refuge, but becoming a place of transfer, an open rhizome. Henceforth uninhabited, these houses have become cities, with circulation taking precedence over inscription.

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