Roland’s “ideal city” is a strange and beautiful series of images that deliberately and knowingly blends science with fiction.

There are echoes of the great 18th century conceptual architect Louis Boullée in the imaginary, impossible structures that seem to outstrip their contexts, and a highly developed, almost cinematic sense of suggested narrative between the different images in the series as a whole.

Technically sophisticated and working with (rather than against) the potential of digital technology, Roland’s work seems to have found precisely the right visual language for her subject, downplaying, rather than overworking the otherworldly aesthetic effects. It is quietly convincing and therefore very effective as a photographic vision of the future.

—Simon Baker, photography curator at the New Tate Modern Gallery

Intellectual and physical incarnation of Utopia, the term ” ideal city” means a city which is conceptually developed before being physically built—its foundation is the result of a unified intellectual will.

Spontaneous cities, on the other hand, develop gradually, as needed, and depending on many decisions. They grow organically, sometimes anarchically. In my sense, this contrast can serve as a useful metaphor for the mental construction of a picture. There are ideal pictures and spontaneous ones—each with their own artistic choices that their construction process involves.

The series Ideal city therefore deals with utopia, dystopia and anticipation. I’m interested in how the representation of “the Future” can reveal to us a lot about our Present. Diverse science fiction topics bring to light actual existential issues: the character searching to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, the representation of our civilization as an antique, a world transformed by meteorological changes.

In this series, my works blur the boundaries between reality and fiction. I am creating a tautologic science-fictionalization of the pictures inside the medium of photography itself. By collaborating with scientists, I am conducting research in order to connect Art and Science. I specifically have focused on all the technologies that can enrich the classical ways of creating pictures while still remaining in the field of photographic mimesis.

—Stephanie Roland