A city's multiplicity through images

#StudioIntegrativeDesign #Master-Thesis

As places of condensed life, cities offer multiple stimuli that influence the perception of urban space. Crustacean is an illustrated story, a narrative, that connects visual impressions of numerous observers; thus offering a guide through Basel's spatial network through reflection and refraction.

Maja Riegler's master thesis takes aim on the perception of the urban area of Basel - a prototypical European mid-sized city. Those urban areas, focal points of life, stimulate us in manyfold ways. Sounds, smells, images, temperature, language and weather are but some of the external factors on our body that may influence the impression of a city.

«Ein Auswahlfaktor dessen, was wir wahrnehmen, ist Ergebnis des Auseinandersetzungsprozesses zwischen dem, was wir von Natur aus mitbringen und dem, was unsere gesellschaftliche Umwelt aus uns gemacht hat.»
Königswieser, Roswita: Selektive Wahrnehmung. In: GDI-Impuls 3/87, S. 38

But what is it we perceive in a city exactly? Architects and urban planners woo us, the residents and visitors, with newly designed buildings and public spaces. By doing so, the image of a city changes; new spatial arrangements are created. Our individual affinity to a specific æsthetic plays a very important role in observing the urban realm. Considering the diversity of these images, carried by every single individual, a collective imagination of a city is created.

The images thusly created are but ephemeral moments of perception and offer a wide range of interpretation of the stretches in-between. The probands were assigned a task described by « lange sie sich in Basel befinden, fotografieren sie ihr Basel.» (as long as you are in Basel, photograph your Basel). In the designer's work, the blind spots, the stretches in-between, are used to create a narration.

In several consecutive scenes, the city's image is shown - from different perspectives on the setting of Basel. Combined in an illustrated story, they make Basel's urban space perceivable by visual means. The story allows the spectator to witness somebody else's experience again.

For every observer, the city is different. Through the illustrated story we gain insight in how individual people experience Basel.

Crustacean - The movie comic


Prof. Armin Blasbichler

, Studio Integrative Design​

Prof. Dr. Bettina Köhler

, Masterstudio Design​