One of my passions is observing and playing with images of supposedly ugly buildings in cities. I take photos of them, and then modify the details. Then I arrange them in different backgrounds and I mix these elements with other urban environments taken from elsewhere. These imaginary cities and compositions don't exist in reality but they are very believable. The best buildings for this type of project are those that are not aesthetically significant, those that are not necessarily ugly but there is minimal design thought behind their existence. They are invisible.
Tehran is a good city for this kind of observation, as it is full of buildings which have been built based on pure personal taste. I'm writing down two moments that inspired me at that phase. Though they seem very irrelevant to each other, they played important roles in the way I treated the city I designed for my film.
An on-site, daily observation:
Two years ago, when I was working on this pictures, my family decided to go for a full renovation of their apartment. In the evening my father used to visit the site, sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied by a neighbour. Based on the neighbour's taste the design could have comletely changed. The morning after, my father, convinced by Mr. neighbour's arguments, would convince the contractor to demolish a newly constructed wall and remount it a couple of meters further back. This conversational, community based design, pictures a dynamic that exists behind the construction of a lot of neighbourhoods and a lot of residential buildings in Tehran. I call it chit-chat architecture.
An artistic observation - Museum style:
While I was documenting visuals in Tehran, I went to an artist talk with Nicolas Grospierre, a swiss artist who was invited by the New media society. His talk was among other things about a series of photos created by him using segments of photos from buildings which existed in reality. the subtly recreated buildings in his photos which dont exist in reality were manifestations of his critisism of modernism in architecture.
This article resumes well his approach in his projects: