Guillermo Calzadilla

(Cuba, 1971)

Related Material

Signs Facing the Sky is a fictitious depiction of the city as an aerial landscape. Allora and Calzadilla conducted a series of informal interviews with people living, working, and frequenting buildings located beneath the landing flight path to San Diego’s Lindbergh International Airport, in which they asked them to reveal their hidden dreams and desires. They then combined footage of downtown San Diego, which was recorded from a birds-eye perspective to mirror the view of the city as it is seen from incoming airplanes, with motion-tracking animation. The result is an aerial view of the city in which illuminated rooftop signs depict the wishes and secrets of San Diego’s inhabitants.

Through a collage of appropriated texts, Allora and Calzadilla have created a cinematic discourse about the city in which the voices of San Diego’s residents intersect and overlap. This fictive space in which the city’s inhabitants become active agents in the construction of the polis, inscribing their personal narratives of fear, hope, and desire on its architectural fabric, maps a “subjective” experience of the city. By creating a relationship between urban space and the desires of its populace, Allora and Calzadilla suggest the possibility that the city is constructed through the collective fantasies of its inhabitants.

For the public phase of inSite__05, Signs Facing the Sky was projected in the open-air patio of the Airport Lounge in San Diego (then a new bar built in a former dry-cleaning facility). Inside the bar, the walls were filled with text quoting the dreams and desires of the interviewed residents. The patio was also located directly under the flight path—less than 1/8 of a mile from the airport runway. The sight and deafening sound of passenger jets passing overhead (often at just five minute intervals) during the projection created a discursive parallel between reality and fiction.

Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Donna Conwell
Venue: Airport Lounge, San Diego

Allora & Calzadilla, Signs Facing the Sky, inSite05.

Allora & Calzadilla, Signs Facing the Sky, inSite_05 (process).

Allora & Calzadilla, Signs Facing the Sky, inSite_05 (project presentation).