The Roman god Janus, a two-faced guardian of doorways represents in the same instance inflow and outflow, the past and the present, becoming and unbecoming, Being Janus-faced is an intricate expression of binaries, two opposites or two conditions. ‘The City, Janus-faced’ builds on this implication.
Inflow and outflow patterns the megapolis. Structural edifices and spatial transformations elevate the living, and bury the dead deep in its crevasses while expelling the misfits, the misunderstood and the m(d)isplaced. With masterstrokes of landscaping, the city seeks to tuck away the ambiguous and ambivalent. Geographies of the megapolis and its chimera are retained until its final frontiers are met, bursting out of its capacity of human aspiration, and dismantled within its own refuse. Or else, the metropolis becomes a blip in another’s megalomaniac utopia, a victim in the clash of utopias. Then, the city of the gods, humans and the urchins are dismantled and wiped out, erased in the non-celestial game of (de)constructions!
Then, the ‘exodus’. Human feet moving in unison to find the next megapolis, shifting history while sifting through the mess of cartography. The unison of moving feet unwittingly muffled with silent cacophony of footfalls and bodies burdened by fragmentation and dislocation. Boundaries raised somewhere some time. In pursuit of elevated utopias, we move into raised cathedrals living within the securities of grilled windows, sharper fences, and concealed cameras (CCTV).
Inside these high walled and high raised parameters, happiness is sought immersed in the virtual world of the internet and satellite TVs. Closed-circuit cameras assure us our safe existence and the outside is surveyed from the safety of an insular and perceivably cleansed ‘interior.’ Within these safe interiors, we witness a world that we have little control of. We watch in paralysis the history destroyed, mythology industrially manufactured, humanity suspected and cities crumble to dust. We even watch our own houses being robbed like we watch a paranormal activity on celluloid. We witness the dark swirl like a black shroud rising and turning the world topsy-turvy.
The City, Janus- Faced presents, the located-the dislocated and the constructed-deconstructed. This is a curious act of seeing and showing, the self and the other, muffled together, in the veil of chequered progress, to celebrate and lament our hyper-urban existence, at once.