floral phantasmagoria: finbarr fallon converts singapore into a surreal dreamscape in scarlet

british architectural photographer finbarr fallon’s ‘floral phantasmagoria’ invites viewers into a world unseen, presenting a surreal dreamscape in scarlet. photographic tropes and iconic images of singapore are recast as ghostly buildings rising amidst and above shifting masses of red, punctuated by vivid tints of pink.

fallon’s series uses infrared photography as a medium to resensitize the urban dweller to how deeply embedded greenery is in the everyday experience of singapore — forcing the viewer to see the ubiquity of greenery not just as a matter of fact, but one of fantasy. invisible wavelengths outside the visible spectrum emitted by the flora are captured through multiple infrared exposures and are blended to produce the vivid hues.

the fantastical representation of red vegetation straining against its monochromatic scaffolding also highlights the tensions inherent in vertical skyrise greenery as the lifeblood of the liveable and land-scarce city. while the buildings and greenery can be made to coexist, the implications of their interdependence remain an important question.

the question of how the seemingly opposite pleasures of urban/rural can be reconciled in a single spacetime — how a bucolic green setting could be imbued with the hum of a busy city — seems an intractable one. it’s no surprise that singapore, the natural resourceless wunderkind of southeast asia, has resolved the dilemma with great efficiency.

driven by the vision of a ‘city in a garden’, the city-state takes a pragmatic approach to greening a land-limited island. besides safeguarding parkland, the state maximizes even liminal spaces like road dividers through planting, and capitalizes on development (paradoxically) as an opportunity for greenery, by mandating landscape replacement as a prerequisite for planning approval. this allows for a city that is dense yet liveable: a model that many other cities with pressing problems should look to when germinating their own variation of a liveable city. through this series, familiar scenes are rendered into unexpected colors to visually distill and heighten the tension between greenery and building, evoking the wonder and magic of a garden city like no other.

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: maria erman | designboom

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