The Villages of Irvine

Irvine is one of America’s most famous master-planned communities, made up of dozens of “villages,” each with a distinct architectural character. Less distinct are the individual buildings, which are subtly mirrored, shifted, and finished in ways that maintain predictability while making it difficult to pinpoint exact copies. The Villages of Irvine extends the techniques developed for Iterations in order to make visible the spatial strategies of the city’s development. I combine images of eight examples of a building model, setting up a juxtaposition of the common and unique characteristics of each scene. The consistent elements reinforce each other through repetition, while the unique circumstances of each site become ephemeral. The archetype of each model emerges as a result of this accumulation of information.

In The Metropolis and Mental Life, sociologist Georg Simmel describes how our urban minds are “stimulated by the difference between a momentary impression and the one which preceded it.” These composite images—ten to date, with more forthcoming—collapse Irvine’s stimulations into shimmering compositions that speak to a quality ascribed to both Irvine specifically and suburbia more generally: a sense of placelessness born of repetition, where the impression and its precedent are one and the same.


The Villages of Irvine: El Camino Real #1

The Villages of Irvine: Northwood #2

The Villages of Irvine: Stonegate #1

The Villages of Irvine: Turtle Rock #2

The Villages of Irvine: Turtle Rock #7

The Villages of Irvine: University Park #2

The Villages of Irvine: Woodbridge #1

The Villages of Irvine: Woodbridge #3


Inkjet prints, each 36”H x 54”W, 2020.


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