The exhibition’s wonderfully unwieldy scale and its dizzying categorization refused benign consumption. Both its strength and its weakness lay in the fact that it was really three projects under one roof, covering a time span from 1850 to the present day. Even three visits did not truly do the show justice, but its exhausting extent nevertheless perfectly complemented the archival strategies it presented, as if its densely-installed two floors – encompassing legions of framed prints and closely-packed vitrines and several digital slideshows – were inspired by a labyrinthine Borgesian tale. For many visitors, the stamina required to experience it could have been off-putting. There are only so many images of shift workers, tract housing, farmland or grain silos that one can absorb. Yet, attempting to embrace such immense amounts of data – whether Timothy H. O’Sullivan’s territorial surveys of the USA in the 1860s and ’70s, August Sander’s collective portrait of the German people in the late 1920s, or the Mass-Observation movement in Britain from 1937 until the early 1950s – provided the exhilarating, if relentless, basis for the whole project."
...further reading on Frieze online
[Image above: Cover of Frieze's issue 121; Image below: Pere Català Pic, 'Fotomuntatge sobre el Barri Gòtic per a la societat d'Atracció de Forasters de Barcelona', 1935. Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona – Arxiu Fotogràfic]