Utopia in 3D

This is where Alice in Wonderland meets Matrix, a celebration of the fantastic with a first-of-its-kind 3D technology that allows visitors to dream of seemingly impossible cities. Projected photography and computer-generated simulations make up an exhibition called "Now and When: Australian Urbanism", which has been organised by the India Design Forum in partnership with the Australian High Commission.

The exhibition is a 14-minute video presentation, divided into two parts: "Now" is a 3D aerial photography study and "When" is a series of imaginative frames of future Australian cities. Creative directors of the exhibition, architectural photographer John Gollings and architect-curator Ivan Rijavec, had conceptualised the show for the 12th Venice Architectural Biennale in 2010. Over 17 Australian architectural firms have showcased their designs for the future.

Gollings' photographs contrast the east coast cities of Melbourne and Sydney with the mining-ridden sparse landscapes of the western outback. Against this backdrop, the exhibition shows what cities of the future can be. Never mind that they defy all notions of space, scale, volume and terrain. What if oceans could create an interface with an organic urban filigree that stretches far into the sea? The mega-structural, maze-like Fear Free City seems straight out of Inception as it embraces the possibilities of urbanism. In City of Hope, gigantic forms of Australian wildflowers provide a surreal vision, which finds spirituality far superior to science and pure reason.

The exhibition is on at India International Centre Annexe Gallery till January 31. Contact: 24619431

John Gollings says:This exhibition is a world first. No one has ever taken stereo or 3D images of cities at night from a helicopter before. Here, we are looking at "hyper stereo", where the 3D reality is heightened even further. Night photography gave me a new reading of the city. I saw three typologies: Melbourne as a 19th century gridded city, Sydney has an organic plan that grew from original animal tracks and waterways, and The Gold Coast as a 20th century strip city, full of vehicles. While these cities appear beautiful from above at night, each are in crisis in areas of scale, crime, high living costs, density, water shortage and traffic congestion.

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