Cinema City

Archival research, historic urban landscapes, architecture, urban myths and current events inspired an evolving miniature city by Iowa-based artists.

Iowa-based artists Jody Boyer and Russ Nordman presented a dynamic installation entitled Cinema City. Throughout Paragraph gallery the artists created an evolving miniature city assembled from video projections, paper buildings, and found materials. A model train, equipped with live-feed wireless video camera, ran throughout the constructed city, allowing visitors to experience the installation “cinematically” in the adjacent Project Space gallery.

Cinema City was inspired by urban landscapes that no longer exist, that in essence, exist only through their photographic and cinematic documentation. Digital databases at libraries and archives across the country contain photographic archives of the architecture of American cities now lost or radically altered due to urban renewal and new development—these sources were used as artistic inspiration for the design of Cinema City. Further, building upon the mission of Urban Culture Project to revive Kansas City’s downtown through arts and culture, and playing upon the architecture of Paragraph gallery, the installation was viewable “through the storefront,” harking back to a time when the storefront display was a common site in vibrant American down towns. During the exhibition the artists were in residence at the gallery on a series of Saturdays to add to the environment and to talk with the public, as well as to work with the public. Visitors were invited to assist with urban growth by helping with the annexing of rural areas adjacent to Cinema City  through the placement of additional buildings and developments provided by the artists.

An initiative of the Charlotte Street Foundation, Urban Culture Project, Paragraph and Project Space galleries create new opportunities for artists of all disciplines and contributes to urban revitalization by transforming spaces in downtown Kansas City into new venues for multidisciplinary contemporary arts programming.