In 2015, British philosopher Alain de Botton (b. 1969) uploaded a YouTube video titled How To Make an Attractive City. The film, released as part of de Botton’s The School of Life series, included six key elements that were deemed fundamental to creating an aesthetically stimulating metropolis. These pillars included offering a “pleasing balance” of order, symmetry and repetition, whilst being inherently compact, with “all of the best cities having squares no more than 100 feet in diameter, so that you can make out a person’s face on the other side – lest they become alienating.” Here, de Botton posits intriguing questions towards manmade aesthetics, and the patterns with which we organise our lives. Andreas Gefeller’s aerial photographs highlight these shapes and patterns of infrastructure, from the sprawling and asymmetrical to the small and neatly packaged. From Las Vegas to Cairo, Calgary to Milan, these illuminated maps are both stark and alluring.
Image Credits: Andreas Gefeller, SV, 2012-2015. All images courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center; and Atlas Gallery London.