City Gazing

Astronauts who have seen the earth in the midst of space, experience the fragility of life on earth first-hand. Every astronaut who sees the earth floating in the vastness of space, experiences the ‘overview effect’, a mental shift of awareness how fragile life on earth is. When they return to earth, they feel compelled to commit themselves to a sustainable future.

City Gazing is a site-specific light art installation showing how a city developed over the last 100 years as seen from space. For every city a new edition is designed and produced, showing the development of that specific city. Each edition comes with a custom soundscape that tells the story of the city. Floating in the sky, the work lets us see our cities from a distance, highlighting the technological power we have as well as the fragility of life on earth. 

Since the first edition in 2017, City Gazing has been shown in cities all over the world. From the old canals of Amsterdam to the expansion of Dubai in the 90s. For every edition old maps are studied to see what the main roads were and what are the important points of interest like train stations, harbours and airports. Each edition shows the unique pattern of development of the city, where all editions together show a general pattern in urban development that emerged all over the world. 

For every edition a composer creates a special soundscape that tells the story of the city. From the rapid growth of Dubai in the 80s, to the bombing of Singapore in WWII, to the relocation of the government to Riyadh in the 70s. It’s all expressed in sound and vision. 

About the artist

Justus Bruns and Mingus Vogel met at Delft University of Technology and have been working together since 2017 under the name VOUW. The studio looks at what is happening in the world today and what the future will look like by creating physical installations that make the public space better for everyone. Instead of getting people addicted to their phones and isolate them from society, they believe technology should be used to create real and shared experiences.

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