a vol d’oiseau (as the crow flies) / zurich


barely invented, photography began to arouse nostalgia. photographers (who were yet rarely called that way) mounted expeditions to capture what they feared was about to disappear. ancient crafts, the fishers’ daughters’ tresses, old paris.

envious of these ‘missions héliographiques’, albert kahns ‘archives de la planete‘ and other such adventures, ‘a vol d’oiseau’ follows the line of horizon across zurich, on a transect from wipkingen to wiedikon, through parts of the city that are rapidly changing (or gentrifying, as some say?).

the images are handmade cyanotypes, a blue-and-white process from the early days of photography (invented in 1842). anna atkins used the technique to produce ‘photographs of british algae: cyanotype impressions’, a work sometimes considered the first photobook. of the five photographers that were part of the 1851 ‘missions héliographiques’, henri le sec is reported to have printed some of his negatives as cyanotypes as he didn’t seem to trust the archival qualities of salted paper prints.

‘a vol d’oiseau’ is a contribution to the project ‘luftlinie 2430’. the zurich series was shown in kunstraum R57 and station21 (two off-spaces) as part of a group exhibition in september 2011.

the arles series is here.