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  Rob Carter
   
 
Metropolis
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Metropolis

 
Rob Carter (England, 1976) lives and works in Brooklyn, USA. He is a visual artist who creates re-constructed imagery of architecture and landscape, using photography, time-lapse and video animation. Rob Carter received his BFA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (Oxford, 1998). In August 2000 he relocated to New York to attend Hunter College, receiving his MFA in 2003. Since then he has exhibited his work in numerous locations in Europe and North America.

Carter’s work uses stop-motion animation, time-lapse video and large format photographs to spotlight iconic and political structures in our urban environment, especially sports stadia, skyscrapers, churches, and other historical landmarks. Cut photographic images and living plants are used to make often humorous retellings of history - morphing and recontextualizing architecture and urban development. Recent work draws parallels between the inspiration and power of the natural world, and human attempts to understand, manipulate and control it in the past, present and future.

Metropolis (2008) is a quirky and very abridged narrative history of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It uses stop motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion. Starting around 1755 on a Native American trading path, the viewer is presented with the building of the first house in Charlotte. From there we see the town develop through the historic dismissal of the English, to the prosperity made by the discovery of gold and the subsequent roots of the building of the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. Now the landscape turns white with cotton, and the modern city is ‘born’, with a more detailed re-creation of the economic boom and surprising architectural transformation that has occurred in the past 20 years.

Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA, primarily due to the influx of the banking community, resulting in an unusually fast architectural and population expansion. However, this new downtown Metropolis is therefore subject to the whim of the market and the interest of the giant corporations that choose to do business there. Made entirely from images printed on paper, the animation literally represents this sped up urban planners dream, but suggests the frailty of that dream, however concrete it may feel on the ground today. Ultimately the video continues the city development into an imagined hubristic future, of more and more skyscrapers and sports arenas and into a bleak environmental future. It is an extreme representation of the already serious water shortages that face many expanding American cities today; but this is less a warning, as much as a statement of our paper thin significance no matter how many monuments of steel, glass and concrete we build.


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