Cristina Irian – STRATA|B

“A long long long time ago…”

This is how this post will start. ‘Cuz it took us such a long time to create what you see in the photos below. Partially because when creative people brainstorm, tons of ideas mix together in such unimaginable combinations. This can be good or really chaotic. Or chaotic good.

A while ago, when there was no pandemic, I was walking alongside Cristina near Bucharest’s Old Town. I was telling an interesting story, as always, when suddenly I realized I was walking and talking all by myself. I stopped and looked behind, Cristina was 5 meters behind me, photographing something: a wall.

Literally a wall. No graffiti. No posters. No tags. Nothing interesting from what I could tell from a first look. So I asked what was that she saw there, what was she photographing so passionately. She started showing me all the stuff she saw there, on that wall. It was absolutely amazing.

Lots of minutes later we were both standing on the sidewalk, people passing by and looking at the two weirdos photographing “a blank wall”. It’s a great feeling, I hope one day you all experience that.

Years later STRATA|B was born. Arguably the most complex photobook I have worked on, so far. It was an honor and a privilege to work with such an amazing and surprising artist. Maybe that’s why STRATA|B is simultaneous:

  • a photobook
  • an anthropological study
  • a long term documentary project
  • a poetry book
  • an art game
  • a possible performance act
  • a piece from a wall, literally
  • a secret of a man hidden inside a wall inside a book

STRATA|B is a story of a fragment of Bucharest, a time-frame and digital spaces. Back in 2014 there was a time when interactions between people and the walls of buildings in a part of the old city center were meticulously recorded. I visited these walls, or what was left of them, on a regular basis, and photographed them as old acquaintances.
A lot of traces didn’t last long. Very few became sparkling white, some melted in a decaying grimy and grey. The questions I had left home with gave way to others: Where do all the colors of these traces go when the wall is cleaned or becomes an indefinite grey plaster altogether? Whose white is it? Whose grey is it? Can you create a wall that includes all those interactions with people? What color would it be?
Here began the second part of the project and the construction of a digital space that includes in it – encoded – all the signs and colors originally discovered on the walls that I had previously photographed. The book contains, in a circular formula, photographs of the walls observed together with their digital transformations into color grids and landscapes of words.
For the story to continue, I added a real sample from a wall where my journey began, along with the geographical indications of the place. After you watch the book, you can go right there where the sample was taken or you can simply enter the coordinates and walk on Google Maps, and start your own journey from that very first place.
The number of copies of this edition of the “STRATA|B” album is 100, each circularly numbered, according to the pages of the book. Each copy contains a material sample from the city walls.” – Cristina Irian

STRATA|B
ISBN 978-606-94598-2-9
author: Ana Cristina Irian
editor: Cristian Bassa
Omnia Photo, 2020
Photobook format: A5 (148mm X 210mm), saddle-stitch binding (triple stapled)
Number of pages: 60 pages, color, 115g matte paper
Cover: softcover, plastified, with flaps, 200g matte paper
Text: English
Print run: 100

More information about the photobook and how to order it here: http://omnia.photo/2020/09/06/cristina-irian-stratab/