An Urban Data Stream

Joseph Heathcott focuses on facades around the world, as sentinels witnessing the drama of metropolitan life, recording architectural, social, and commercial happenings.

Joseph Heathcott, Bollards and shadows. Puebla, Mexico, 2014
Facades are an urban mis-en-scène that articulate the spaces in which we move. They are at once silent sentinels, witnessing the drama of metropolitan life, at the same time recording architectural, social, and commercial happenings. Through corrosion, decay, adaptation and renewal they acquire scratch-and-dent personas, becoming well-worn characters. 
Their epidural accumulations, like battle scars and tattoos, tell us stories about the city. Facades record urban data communicating and concealing the facts of the city, revealing and obscuring the innumerable banal conditions of urbanity. They are roiling, hectic, chopped-up surfaces whose topology changes at different rates: they tell their stories both through the formal qualities of structure as well as in the ever-changing surfaces they show us.  In the end, they not only reflect the urban processes, but also shape the very conditions of city life around them.


Joseph Heathcott (1968) is a writer, photographer, and educator based in New York, where he is Associate Professor of Urban Studies at The New School. The photographs included here come from an ongoing project begun in 2012 to record building facades around the world. 

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