John Zissovici is an architect and visual artist whose work deals with the most material and immaterial aspects of architecture and cities. He teaches courses related to these two interests in the school of architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca New York, where he also received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture. His architectural projects include a house and studio for himself, a restaurant and a university art gallery renovation. He is currently working on a large scale construction in a desacralized church in Buffalo NY. He has had exhibitions and large scale installations in the Phoenix Museum of Art, the Burchfield Art Center in Buffalo NY, the Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca NY, and the Malaquais School of Architecture in Paris. His articles and book chapters have appeared in numerous journals and academic publications.
“For the past few years I have been making films about cities and large-scale, tiled photographic documentations of architectural and urban locations that have focused on found elements of these sites or of the medium in which I have been working. For the photographic documentations this has meant using found structures that are part of the sites, like cranes and tracks, to determine what and how the camera sees. I attach camera to these movement systems and aim it up or down to record the ground plan (or ceiling plan) of the buildings. The documents produced have a direct scalable relationship to the buildings. The format of the final image is determined by the subject rather than the camera. Ultimately these reconstructions, assemblages from hundreds of individual moments resist the totalizing view they at first would suggest.
When making films, I have appropriated material found on the Internet, for now mostly from Google Earth. The virtual world found online provides opportunities for exploring a unique version of our urban environment. Intended as an easily navigable simulation, the virtual city is more interesting as a site for speculation that already radically diverges from the actual city. I have focused my work on enhancing these breaks and divergences, and find the resulting terrain fruitful for conveying alternate notions for the occupation and navigation of urban space. Properly abused, it never lets us forget that we are in an artificial environment in an uncertain time and stimulates rather than simulates alternative visions.”