Rana Begum is an urban Romantic. A sensibility that evolved in opposition to industrialisation and urbanisation has come full circle. In 18th century Europe the Romantics sought refuge from a vulgar future in awesome nature, finding in its inhuman majesty authenticity, purity and wild, profound beauty.
In 2008 humanity officially became an urban species with more than 50% of the global population living in cities. Now the urban environment is our most common habitat. In it Begum finds her moments of transcendence in the myriad, hard, surreal, aesthetic wonders that emerge during any journey through a city.
The essence of the urban experience lies in the human need to find meaning and order in amongst the chaos and complexity of the city. If we, like Christopher Isherwood leaning out his window in Berlin in 1930, imagine ourselves to be a camera or an eye, disconnected from thought, and stood at the heart of our city, then for us the city would become a vast, constantly shifting stream of colour and form, a visual puzzle without end or aim, full of random and momentary meetings of signs and symbols. Transient relations emerge, configure, dissolve and reconfigure as the parade of the mobile passes against the backdrop of the static.