Well-known Spanish architectural photographer Carlos Casariego is the subject of an exhibit at the Instituto Europeo de Diseño at the Palacio de Altamira in Madrid (Spain)–“La Havana.” Casariego, who had worked on two earlier series, “Imagined Landscapes” (2000) and “Landscapes of the Mind” (2003), had this to say about his new work: “I have not sought a true portrait of the city so much as to ‘use’ it to express my own feelings.” The photos selected for the exhibit aspire to be a “path of transmission, through suggestion and fragments, of the emotions he had felt while tracing possible routes through the city theourh Google Earth.” He had studies the virtual city so closely that when he finally arrived in Havana people could not believed that he had not visited Havana before: “I would leave my room very early every day, tracing different itineraries . . . and I would continue until sunset, which in the tropics comes suddenly.” He planned his sallies with the goal of reaching places at the moment when they had the best light.
His system was ultimately defeated by the city itself: “Havana,” he claims, “is immense and one cannot pretend to encompass it.” He became an explorer looking for discoveries guided in part by a literary re-encounter with references that he believed forgotten to works Cuban writers like Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Reynaldo Arenas, José Lezama Lima, and Leonardo Padura.
The Havana project became for Casariego a melancholy work of documentation of “a Paradise on its way to extinction, a miracle of equilibrium.”
For more on the exhibit (in Spanish) go to http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000003103256&cpage=1