Bucharest - The City with One Inhabitant. The City-Me. Alina Cristea

  • Research unit Intermedia
  • Research group Photography Expanded

Noticing a gap or inconsistency in the photographic history of Bucharest, and my interest in how the (urban) landscape, the place you come from, is revealing for who you are, have lead me to start this project. This research is embedded in my practice of exploring Bucharest through analogue photography, sound recordings and text, with the aim of representing how the place where I grew up in and its communist past have formed my way of thinking and – I believe – that of its inhabitants. Ioana Pârvulescu’s quote, “the power of the landscape to form your character”, along with the idea that “the landscape is the author who describes it” , were guiding my motivation to pursue this long-term project. Literary texts about Bucharest by authors who are either still living there or have emigrated during communism made me conscious of the fact that the place where you come from has an important influence on who you are . J.-M. Besse claims that the landscape can only be an inner one , because it is the result of perception and interpretation. It undergoes a certain process of internalization which is the result of a particular and personal manner of relating to the landscape, which is influenced by your affects, emotions, your own sensitivity and cultural references afterward reflected in literary means (Besse, 2009, 17). This is one of my main aims with this project - to use the inner, the poetic, and the visual to reflect on the city, its inhabitants and, ultimately, from this micro-perspective, on the universal . Methodologically innovative, this project is at the intersection between literature, geography and the visual arts. In addition to that, my position as someone from there but who also took a distance by moving abroad, can give a unique perspective on the subject. Moreover, to paraphrase Mircea Eliade, Bucharest, as I have discovered in my research so far, has become more real to me than when I was living there. To conclude, I’d like to quote James Joyce about his relation to Dublin, which was the background of his novels: “I always write about Dublin because, if I can get to the heart of Dublin, I can get to the heart of any city in the world. The universal is contained in the particular.”

  • Promotor: Liesbeth Decan (LUCA)
  • Co-promotor: Mira Sanders (Faculty of Architecture - KU Leuven)
  • Duration: 2018 - 2022
  • Mail address: alina.cristea03@gmail.com

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