“Walls are a nice invention, but if there were no holes in them, there would be no way to get in or out; they would be mausoleums or tombs. The problem is that, if you make holes in the walls, anything and anyone can get in and out (bears, visitors, dust, rats, noise). So architects invented this hybrid: a hole-wall, often called a door, which, although common enough, has always struck me as a miracle of technology.”
– Bruno Latour
The project, developed within the context of the Douglas A. Garofalo Fellowship ’18-’19 at the University Illinois Chicago, is an investigation into open borders, including architectural borders that aren’t closed off by solid walls. The project specifically explores how segregation and inequality relate to physical architectural borders in contemporary American cities.
The work culminated in a series of big drawings, presented in the exhibition “And then when I went to Chicago, that’s when I had these outer space experiences and went to the other planets.” The title is a quote by Afrofuturism pioneer Sun Ra, whom explores how art and imagination can help people look beyond this world and into another.
Throughout the project Anne cultivated an outsider’s view of cities in the American Midwest, recasting their surfaces as fluid border conditions that continually dissolve and reassemble. The work directs careful attention to the ambiguous visual character of these places, defined through conflicting impressions of surface and depth, substance and shine, aspiration and ordinariness.
Captured within the images are unexpected hyperreal settings—environments where reality and representation are indistinguishable. The reflective, mirrored surfaces in the drawings play with light, multiplying into the space around them. At the same time, shininess renders such surfaces—and what is behind them—illegible. This quality lures but also obscures, concealing plainness more often than beauty or mystery.
Today, cities are made up of these types of flat, shiny surfaces: screens and facades of all scales. We continuously encounter various shallow worlds that dictate our psychic experiences and cultural conventions. This is even more apparent in the sprawling Midwest, where the extensive, emblematic grid and towering skyscrapers wrapped in gleaming windows stand in stark contrast, and everyday interiors—places like bars and waiting rooms—can be subtly dominated by lifeless screens, as if offering a backdrop of the outside world. Whether the glossy pages of a magazine, the filters that infuse our virtual feed, or the buildings that tower over us, our culture is infatuated with seizing and sharing attractive or compelling moments, often without thought to what gazes back or to looking beyond—to the dissolution of edges that seem clear and stable.
“And then when I went to Chicago, that’s when I had these outer space experiences and went to the other planets” develops intuitive research on architectural form, scale, and material as a way to explore these pointed contrasts within our everyday fields of vision.