City of Tomorrow is life-sized maquette that serves as a re-imagination of the modernist construction of utopia – viewed from the wrong end of the 20th century. Dutch artist Bram Braam’s immersive intervention is three-dimensional psychogeographical mapping of a failed experiment in visionary social architecture, created after a series of site-visits to the dilapidated late-1960s town centre of Cumbernauld, Scotland. Considered the most comprehensive example of the ‘new town’ model in the United Kingdom, this post-war development pioneered the urban grammar of underpasses, pedestrian footbridges and segregated footpaths. Today the area stands in what the artist calls an “in between state” of preservation, demolition and re-imagination. City of Tomorrow is the artist’s own reassembly of this reassembled town – haptic impressions given physical form, spliced and recombined as the undead spirit of an age: a monument to a passing feeling.
Bram Braam’s work repeatedly enages with modernist design, with his architectural and sculptural works turning around the shifting reception of Constructivism, De Stijl, the Bauhaus, le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and more. A recurring theme in his practice is concern for how control is manifest through architectural planning, and the fate of monuments that fail in their task of memorialization.
The City of Tomorrow will be on display at IMPORT projects in Berlin. IMPORT projects is a nonprofit curatorial initiative founded in 2012 by Anja Henckel and Nadim Samman. Hosting exhibitions, performances and symposia, IMPORT provides an experimental platform for contemporary cultural production and debate, primarily exploring the intersection of technology, personal identity and community.
Exhibition view, Frank Taal gallery, How long is now? City of tomorrow