In Brazil, a developer called Albuquerque has built since 1974 a serious number of «Alphavilles» : they are typical urban enclaves, overprotected, in the suburb of big metropolis. The name is directly inspired from the Jean Luc Godard’s movie Alphaville (1965) describing a computer controled city, intimating as well as stupid…
What is the similarities among Sao Paulo and the JLG’s Alphaville ? Is the planet is going to be a huge Alphaville ? Climate, urbanization, modernism, regionalism, tourism are ingredients of spatial cocktails that is sometimes boring, sometimes extremly surprising. Where are the differences ? Where are the repetitions ?
In the novel The adventures of a Photographer in La Plata, Adolfo Boy Casares tells about the adventures of a young man in the Argentine City created in 1882 on a grid-masterplan. In this immense grid blueprint the streets have no name, only numbers. However, even in the environment is totally framed, the young photographer will live specific moments, and the descriptions done by ABC of photographic moment, telling both the captured pictures and the built space, are strongly stimulating.
There is a famous part of New York called Alphabet City because the streets have no names, only letters. In certain big metropolis as Shanghai or Buenos Aires, streets have the name of others cities, making superpositions of distant places and creating surprising proximities between them.
« In Ostende, I love Gibraltar – In Brasilia, there is Chandigarh – In Paris, there is Buenos Aires, and in Palm Spring, there is Kyoto » Alain Bashung
More informations here
Gonzales-Foerster Dominique, Alphavilles? , Les Presses Du Réel, 2004