Global Cities

Contemporary Art + Design Galleries

Global Cities transforms global population statistics into an immersive landscape of information. 

Rather than inert data on a page, Norwood Viviano’s installation presents population change as a series of delicately-blown glass forms that hover above a map of the world. The angles, curves, and color of each form represent the history of population change over time in the city they pinpoint on the map. Very old cities, such as Beijing, China, feature long, clear tails that represent the time before accurate population records were kept, and zigzagging black forms that demonstrate the changing fates of such cities. New cities, such as Shenzhen, China, by contrast, are very short, with widening blue tops that demonstrate a period of explosive growth.

In a printed graphic along the wall, Viviano presents the same information in a different way. Here, the cities are arranged by age rather than geography and are cross-referenced with a list of global events along the far edge. From this perspective, it is possible to correlate events in world history with periods of population change, such as the contraction of the forms of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Warsaw, and Tokyo after World Wars I and II.

Global Cities was also on view in the Special Projects Gallery from July 15, 2017-November 4, 2018.