Michael Wolf and the Architecture of Density
German-born photographer Michael Wolf documents the extreme densities of Hong Kong. His series ‘Architecture of Density’ rarely contain images of people, instead letting the extreme scale of the buildings remain as the focus. The images are stunning, though I’m not quite sure how to react. It’s overwhelming to view the scale and enormity of the buildings, and then realize that people live there. The post-modernist in me wants to decry the lack of humanity in the high rises. But these images aren’t hopeless. After all, we created those buildings, right?
Says Rebecca Walker (.pdf):
A close look at one of Wolf’s architectural images uncovers irregularities such as plants, laundry and scaffolding that interrupt the orderly design of monolithic apartment buildings.
The monotonous regularity of each facade is given a distinct personality through human details.
Adds Kenneth Baker (another .pdf):
Various images describe the facades of monstrously tall and repetitive residential highrise buildings, views cropped to make the structures appear as if they might extend indefinitely, upwards and down.
The camera eye appears to hover, nearly causing us to lose the sense of which direction is earthward, even in the images that include the tops of street lights. These structures seem almost to float free of the planet and extend themselves in space without constraint.