Architectural Cultures Condensed: Vernacular Dwelling Collages

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Can you distill the architecture of a particular city down to an image of just a single building? Not effectively – unless you’re Sweden-based artist Anastasia Savinova, who scouts and photographs the most distinctive typologies of specific locations and then blends them into a single structure via paper collage. Entitled “Genuis Loci,” the series consists of monstrous, Frankenstein-like cobbled buildings packing in as much visual information as possible.

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“Traveling around cities and countries, I take pictures of buildings, look into windows sneakily, go to local shops, flea markets and bars, watch everyday life – all this helps to build the feeling of the Place. This feeling becomes a foundation for a series of large-scale collages. The Integral Image emerges from visual information and a dozen of associations. While architecture and landscape are visual components of the integral image of the Place, at the same time, this image is inseparably linked with a mentality and a way of life.”

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“It is saturated with ‘an incorporeal something.’ Ancient Romans called it ‘genus loci’ – the protective spirit of a place. In contemporary usage, ‘genus loci’ refers to a location’s distinctive atmosphere. A big house on each collage is composed of many buildings, which are typical for a particular country or city, in their connection with the land and the spirit of the place.”

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Some almost look like they could be real structures, while the rest are pure fantasy, towering dozens or hundreds of feet into the air, sprouting forests from their roofs or balancing precariously on ladders. Can you guess from the images which countries are represented here? If you can’t figure it out, check out Savinova’s website for all the specifics.