As Sterling’s blog Beyond the Beyond points out, artist Sergio Cezar makes huge models of the Brazilian favelas out of cardboard.
There is something disturbing about scale. The 200 dolls houses of Rachel Whiteread’s Place(2008) – part of Psycho Buildings at the Hayward – were downright creepy. Maybe it’s because there’s something unsettling about the way we loom over things when they’re unsettlingly small. You can’t help feeling a little like Adolf Hitler looming over Albert Speer’s models for a new Berlin.
It’s also something to do with the fact that we aim for a kind of perfection when making models. I once met a criminologist who made model villages. True story. I wondered if he would put the odd burglar breaking into a model house into his creations but it turned out his model villages were entirely crime free. He preferred it that way. We Brits tend to make villages set in some imaginary idyllic past.
And so when you look at them there’s a dissonance between their vision of miniature perfection and the imperfection of what they represent. Which is why I kind of like this vision of a slum; it makes it look cute for a second until you start thinking of what it must be like to live in it and what that person in the black limousine is doing there.