Many of us know what it is like to live in a city – but here, the artist captures that experience in romantic imagery highlighting the day-to-day loneliness and powerlessness of urban life. The artwork creates an effect similar to that of the long take in cinematography, giving a sense of time’s flow. The reader becomes a flaneur, taking in every aspect of life in the city.
What is life like in the city? One moment you are part of a crowd, the next alone. Sometimes the unexpected happens; sometimes you are oblivious to your surroundings. One day you fight for a better life; the next you give in and drift with the flow.
Many of us experience city life today, and while every city is different, the sense of estrangement and powerlessness cities create in us are common to all.
Busy streets and sidewalks, flocks of birds overhead, pedestrian bridges – all everyday features of the city. A toothbrush, a potted plant, a cigarette, a bowl of instant noodles – seemingly insignificant objects which speak to urban life. The artist’s romantic imagery captures moments of Taipei life both absurd and inconsequential, showing us what a city really is.
Unlike most graphic novels, the artist adopts the long takes of cinematography to handle dialogue-free scenes. There are between three and nine frames on each page, each one moving forward a moment in time. Flick through the book and you become Baudelaire’s flaneur, taking in every aspect of life in the city.