Psychedelic City Maps


Looking at the patterns revealed by Google Earth views of cities around the world, Lu Xinjian was fascinated by their combination of uniqueness and uniformity.

Sitting in his apartment he began sketching the patterns he saw, distilling them into minimalistic arrangements of lines, curves, and what he calls x’s and o’s—borrowing a term from urban planning. Scanning the results into his computer, he uses Adobe Illustrator and a cutting plotter to create vinyl stencils of each city’s pattern, then paints over them in colours drawn from national or civic flags of the said city or country.

Despite distinctive landmarks and differences of form and colour, Lu Xinjian’s boiled-down cities look remarkably similar: random servings from an increasingly homogenised global soup. For over a decade, Lu Xinjian has been depicting the bird’s eye views of boisterous modern metropolises in this stylish and conceptual abstract representation, inviting the viewers to envision these locales as he experiences them. Have a look at the pictures and try and guess what cities around the world he is depicting.


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