Urban abstract – reflections on image, semiotics and awereness


Julia Heurling (Planetary Collegium, Plymouth University – Sweden)


In my artistic work, involving the meeting point of photography and pattern, I use repetition as a tool for questioning and reflecting. It simplifies, generalises, change perspective, re-evaluating what we look at and how we look a it. I consider repetition a method for abstraction.

I find urban themes very interesting to work with. I am amazed by human imaginative power. That we have the capacity to transform an idea in our head to something “real”, like building a house. In this sense cities, with all its constructions, are like monuments of human imagination. There is something surreal and intriguing about it but also something out of control and absurd.

As an artist, I would not claim to be driven by creating awareness of environmental issues. I am interested in looking at certain phenomenon, such as traffic, in an abstract sense, to create a reflection within the viewer, of what traffic could look like but also represent as a sign. Traffic can be seen as a symbol of both communication and materialism, of functionality and excess.

Drawing from two previous projects on the theme traffic (“Urban abstract” and “Flow”), this article will look at and compare semiotic aspects of the imagery of the two projects. It will reflect on how both projects address the same theme but operate and communicate through different levels of abstraction, and perhaps possess different qualities of symbolic value.


image, semiotics, repetition, abstraction, traffic, awareness


Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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