Ever since the opening of the Guggenheim-Museum in Bilbao in 1997 urban managers all over the world have been trying to re-create its impact by commissioning ever more extravagant buildings as a means of branding their cities. Largely un-noticed the perception of this so-called “iconic architecture” is very much influenced by the availability of adequate photoopportunities that allow convenient, yet nonetheless spectacular images to be taken and subsequently disseminated in large numbers via social media platforms by tourists and other visitors. Taking Hong Kong as a starting point and case study this essay looks at the background, nature and workings of such urban photo-opportunities, and comes to the conclusion that potentially the photo-opportunity may even work – in terms of shaping the perception of a city – without any especially iconic building at all.
Peter Benz. “The City, Shaped by the Photo-Opportunity.” In Common: Journal for Art and the Public Sphere 6 (September 2015).
The full article can be read here.