An extension of his work as an architect, Rui Nunes’s photographic projects focus on urban and industrial landscapes. Each series is generated by systematically documenting examples of specific typologies, spaces, or forms. The act of cataloguing opens the subject to analysis and new interpretation. Examples of his ongoing projects include surveys of London’s brutalist towers, turn-of-the-century tenements, parkade rooftops, and ships.
Offshore – Hyundai Patriot (2011) is a large-scale photograph of a container ship installed on the floor of the Woodward’s Atrium. At thirty-six feet long, the image invites people to walk on the surface of its “decks” and to look down on the abstract pixelated composition of multicoloured containers from the adjacent spiral staircase. The photograph is part of Nunes’s Offshore series, which catalogues the ships that pass beneath the Lions Gate Bridge into the Port of Vancouver, including chemical tankers, freighters, and cruise ships. The vessels are shot from a unique aerial view. From this vantage point, the ship itself becomes a landscape worthy of exploration, reinforcing Michel Foucault’s assertion that “the ship is the heterotopia par excellence,” a space outside of our land-bound existence.