Brian Foo/Continuous City

Multimedia artist Brian Foo's latest project explores how urban forms shapes our lives.

Would New York in a different shape still be as busy, vibrant, chaotic? Would it still be New York?

That's the question at the heart of "Continuous City," a multimedia project by Brian Foo — part chapter book, part website, part art project — in which two ordinary New Yorkers wake up to a new iteration of the city each morning.

Inspired in part by Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, in which Marco Polo tells Mongol emperor Kublai Khan tales of absurd agglomerations, "Continuous City" toys with fantastic variations in urban design, such as: What if New York were a giant checkerboard? Or a circle? In one scenario, our heroes find that New York's buildings are all stacked on top of each other, and they must adjust their lives accordingly.

"I look at New York as a third character messing with their relationship," says Foo. "They're at the mercy whenever they wake up to whatever the next iteration of New York would be."

To illustrate these metamorphoses, Foo made watercolor drawings of over 200 buildings. You can "paint" your own city with them on his site. In the end, "Continuous City" will include a book, posters, prints, shirts, and a more developed web application that allows users to craft their own permutations of New York and potentially add their own buildings as well.

Foo posted "Continuous Cities" as a Kickstarter project at the beginning of June, where it, like his previous project, "Cities of You,"  quickly obliterated its funding goals.

Insets, from top to bottom: The Flatiron Building, the MetLife Building, the New Museum. Courtesy Brian Foo.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  2. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  3. Design

    How We Map Epidemics

    Cartographers are mapping the coronavirus in more sophisticated ways than past epidemics. But visualizing outbreaks dates back to cholera and yellow fever.

  4. Equity

    What Mike Bloomberg Got Wrong About Redlining and the Financial Crisis

    Comments about New Deal-era housing discrimination made by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg echo a familiar narrative about minority homeowners.

  5. Environment

    Where America's Climate Migrants Will Go As Sea Level Rises

    13 million U.S. coastal residents are expected to be displaced by 2100 due to sea level rise. Researchers are starting to predict where they’ll go.

×