Giacomo Costa’s recent series ‘atmosfera’ imagines dystopian buildings that push so far into the sky they are cloaked in fog. He uses sophisticated technology often reserved for cinematic or gaming universes, building these towering cityscapes from scratch.
These images are complex and prescient, having been created several months before the global pandemic. Since 2020, empty cities have become a surreal but familiar sight, where buildings seem simultaneously abandoned and inhabited. Reflecting on the connection between his works and his months in Florentine lockdown, Costa describes the feeling of being “in the middle of a fog, isolated but hyper-connected, time and space seems to be suspended.”
Costa has been constructing these fascinating and terrifying digital images for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has deftly moved between art and architecture (including as the Italian representative at the Venice Biennales for both disciplines). From afar, these buildings could be the utopian behemoths envisioned by the 1960s megastructuralists; architects who thought one giant building could house an entire city. On closer look, Costa’s metropolises reveal themselves to be more dystopian. The undulating maze of ‘atmosfera n.24’ is reminiscent of the haphazard warren of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City before it was torn down, representing a heady mix of dilapidation, overpopulation, and ambition.