Cities by Night is an ongoing participatory project dealing with women’s perception of the danger in the urban environment.
Women from different background, race and age, are invited to explore the streets of their own city, wandering alone when the sun sets, avoiding to cross the areas where they feel uncomfortable. The result of their walks are several “Cities by Night”: city maps where the dangerous areas are covered with black ink, and the clear areas show a completely different topography. By exploring the city with their bodies, in fact, these “flaneuses” draw a new city, one which borders are not merely geographical but physical, emotional and political. Apparently depicting a merely personal experience, the maps show eventually how not only gender but also shared believes, prejudices and cultural background shape, redefine and contract the urban space and our access to it.
The project, already realized in Amsterdam and Paris and soon in Bologna –IT, and Istanbul, is meant to happen in different cities and several times in the same city, so to offer many perspectives on a same urban context and confront the different results. Although titled in the same way, each “City by Night” will be than different and will have a unique legend carrying few informations about the walker –such as her age, her class, her ethnicity, her provenance, her level of acquaintance with the city.
“...I’m afraid whenever I can’t see clearly
streets full of trees,
shadows, alleys -when they smell like urine.
I’m afraid of the noise of the air being slashed by the arms of someone running behind me.
I’m afraid of wind
of unexpected aggressive noises –the clang of a nearby factory.
I’m afraid of silence.”
People participating to the project are given instruction on how to explore the city. the collected data are than given to the artist who transpose them on a map of that city.