Design – Wk 1 Mastery Project

Link to video on Dropbox:


Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities explores the inherent and inescapable subjectivity of experience and storytelling. Our memories and inner dialogue are a filter through which we process the world. No matter how new the locale or how open the mind is, one cannot avoid the ‘invisible landscape’ of our past, which conditions our visible present (p. 20). In the same way, cities absorb the influences of their citizens and visitors and reflect this energy and experience in their facades, streets, transport, etc. (p. 10-11). 

I wanted to capture this idea of experience deriving from within and informing the external; shaping perspective. While travel and documentation can be immersive, they are also deeply reflective — inward and outwardly so. To visually represent this concept of essentially a feedback loop between person and city, my video explores the New York via literal reflections only. I hope to conjure the role of self in experience, but also convey that warped personal perspective — how there is no such thing as viewing the world objectively.

Rather than using effects in post-production, I let the reflective surfaces speak directly to this idea of attempted objectivity in viewing the world, and how subjectivity, time, memory, vantage point, etc, affects how our stories and experiences are retold. The mirror is like Marco Polo, attempting to recreate or convey an experience as faithfully as possible, but inevitably, the story will be communicated and received subjectively. “The city displays one face to the traveler arriving overland and a different one to him who arrives by sea…” (p.17).


I appreciate the critique re: soundtrack and will experiment with other options. Thanks!