Dutch artist Hans Eijkelboom’s book and exhibit, Paris—New York—Shanghai picks out the minuscule ways people in three big cities all resemble one another, then pulls them together in tapestries of logos and patterns, looks and costumes. Gone are the days of aesthetic differences, the book suggests; we are now all one nation, under Louis Vuitton.
But perhaps this state of things is changing. As Eijkelboom notes below, “I think the cities who look more and more alike are a result of an old balance of power, and one that globalization shall substantially weaken and finally lead towards greater diversity.”
Paris—New York—Shanghai is available from Aperture. All photos © the artist, all rights reserved.
What are your personal feelings about the visual sameness we see in big cities?
I am very interested in urban culture because an ever-increasing part of the world’s population lives in cities; it’s why urban culture is becoming more dominant. Globalization is a process where not much is known, where the old elite has lost its power, and with that its dominant position in culture, but what’s coming next in that empty place is still not clear.
The difference between the poor and the rich is becoming continuously bigger in all big cities; that’s a development which probably will be a major determining factor.
What do you like to do when you travel? Where would you like to go that you haven’t been to?
When I travel I am working. Usually I have a concrete idea of what I want to do and I accomplish that. The next place where I want to visit is Tokyo.
When you’re traveling, what stands out?
Sporadically I see really unique things. Generally I see different solutions for the same problems in all cultures.
I live in Paris, which in some areas looks exactly like any other city, dominated by global images. People line up to have their pictures taken in front of the Nespresso boutique.
How strange it seems to appear. I think the cities who look more and more alike are a result of an old balance of power, and one that globalization shall substantially weaken and finally lead towards greater diversity.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m preparing for an exhibition in the MUHKA (Museum for Contemporary Art) in Antwerp, Belgium. The opening is September 11th. I am also working on a book, “Photo Notes 1992—2007” that will be published by Aperture in New York next year.