In The Legible City (1991), Jeffrey Shaw uses language to map history onto virtual space. For this piece, he worked from maps of New York, Amsterdam, and Karlsruhe to create virtual replicas of their urban landscapes, but in his simulated versions giant virtual letters stand next to one other like buildings on city blocks. These letters spell out monologues evocative of the respective cities. To create the Manhattan version, for example, he wrote fictional monologues by Frank Lloyd Wright, Donald Trump, a taxi driver, and other past and current denizens of New York. By riding an interactive bicycle "through" this virtual city, the viewer thus encounters the history of the city inscribed in its geography.
- Jon Ippolito, Exhibition Coordinator