As vast areas of the earth’s surface are shaped and reshaped by the megaproject of global development, photographers have followed closely behind, charting the planet’s changing topography. The contemporary city – from its financial core to its sprawling periphery – has become a preferred site for exploring the inscription of economic and political power into and onto these emerging landscapes.
But what can topographic representations really tell us about the abstract processes, economic relationships, and movements of capital that constitute globalisation? Topographic representation fails to properly capture the subtleties of what sociologist Saskia Sassen terms ‘global power projects’ – networks of economic and political power that are localised in different sites across the globe. Corinne Silva and Immo Klink are among a growing number of photographers who approach the global landscape through a topological – rather than a topographic – frame. In their work, the pictorial tactic of not showing poses questions about the relationship between global power projects and the shifting boundaries of the contemporary city.