Closed cities

In Closed Cities published by Kehrer VerlagGregor Sailer examines the forms taken by closed cities in Siberia, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Chile, Algeria/Western Sahara and Argentina. The term ‘closed city’ was originally coined for the Soviet Union, where, for various reasons, the existence of numerous towns was long kept secret. Some of them were not officially revealed and added to maps until the beginning of this century. 

Even today, there are still artificially created urban zones across the globe that are hermetically sealed off from the outside world either by walls or by the hostile landscape that surrounds them. These might be places where raw materials are extracted, military sites, refugee camps or even gated communities for the affluent. Although no people appear in the photographs of Sailer, the cities are by no means abandoned. Laundry hangs in rows outside the concrete desert shelters which house the oil workers, graffiti can be seen in the communal outdoor eating area for factory employees and the wealthy are represented by their headlights driving through modern gated communities in the night.

A map near the end of the book identifies the cities by their respective functions: Diamond City, Refugee City, Oil City, Gas City, Copper City and Gated New Town. Three short essays written by Margit Zuckriegl, Walter Moser and Wencke Hertzsch, address the photo’s of Sailer as an investigative art and provide an urban planner’s view of the sociological aspects of living in closed systems. The book was designed by Manuel Radde.

Get the book here.