Sue Williamson | Other Voices, Other Cities



In our age of globalization, what does it mean to live in particular place? Why do the residents of a city choose to live there, and if one message could express the essence of that city, what would it be? These are questions Sue Williamson explores in her ongoing series, Other Voices, Other Cities.

In each city, Williamson sets up a workshop of young artists and other residents, and has them discuss what distinguishes their city and its people from all others. What is good, what is bad, what is peculiar? If the city has an image or an attitude, what is it? At the workshop’s end, participants vote for the statement they feel best captures their city.

The letters of the statement are fabricated in cheap signage material, and Williamson hunts out a photo-shoot location in the city appropriate to the message. On the portrait day, the workshop participants reunite and hold up the letters to spell out the message.

At a time when much of the world is disturbed, the slogans settled upon by the residents of the different cities is engaging and revealing. Cities in the series so far are Havana, Johannesburg, London, Bern, Berlin, New York, Krakow, and most recently, Istanbul. Other cities, including Delhi, Cairo, Beijing, and Moscow or St. Petersburg are also planned.