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Parasite Paradise

In his newest work, Parasite Paradise, Paul de Guzman presents photographs that are about the human side of architecture. The photographs are of previously sent postcards, some dating back to the early 20th century, propped up against architectural models created using Lego bricks. De Guzman has photographed the model/postcard groupings from both the front and the rear, referencing architectural photography that captures perspectival views of structures. The models are based on architectural details from the postcards but de Guzman has not created exact replicas of the original landmarks. Instead the models act as reminders of the images on the postcards and in turn, the postcards are reminders of the original architecture.

De Guzman has created the models using what he calls "transient objects" to express the "temporary nature of architecture". Although the Lego bricks will no doubt last for a long time, their configuration as seen in the photographs can be easily disassembled. The postcards too might continue on to another owner. Both of these aspects of the work suggest that the photographs are not about the physical objects depicted. Instead, they are about how humans relate to architecture and the various incarnations that relation takes. In this case the incarnations are in the form of Lego replicas, correspondences, and photographs. These incarnations inform how we perceive the structure in question. The building or monument is made of more than concrete and steel. It is also made of language, image, and ideas that create a vocabulary for understanding the architecture beyond its physical dimensions. The finished structure continues to evolve as more people interact with it and discuss it. Parasite Paradise calls attention to the thread that connects people together: architect, vacationer, postcard recipient, de Guzman and now the viewer. A thread that, as de Guzman put it, "acts as a reminder that architecture invokes narrative and is a result of a lived social human experience."

John Shelling, Love Letters to Architects, Blackflash magazine, Fall 2009, p.13