This series emerged as I was working for a small tech firm in downtown San Francisco, and commuting by bus in the pre-dawn hours. At that time of day, the streets are still glistening with fog, grandly empty and quiet. The overcrowded push of young driven professionals is approaching, but held at bay until daylight returns. This is the landscape of dark dreams and half-memories, manned by streetlight sentinels.


When I would leave the office again in the evening the sun was already making its exit, neon signs were flickering on and bars were spilling out onto sidewalks. Since I was cloistered in the flourescent business way of things all day, the alternate dark city was my city, the daytime workday only an interloper. In capturing the urban landscape in this intimate and dreamy time, I communicate to the viewer themes of isolation and the desire to escape from the strictures of the waking world.


Influences on this series include premillennial futurist aesthetic, European urban environments, and the UK downtempo music genre of the 1990s. To depict the city as a desolate and muted dystopia, I emphasize the city’s desaturated cool tones and compose dark scenes with an unsettling absence of people. This places the viewer in a city both of the past and of the future, one occupied only by a few lit windows in row after row of vacancy.


Joanna Tagert



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