Collaboration: City as a Person

This is a project created by Marija Biljan, temporarily based in Palermo, Sicily. She has a background in anthropology and she loves collecting stories of people and places, exploring concepts of identity and/in space. Her main tool is writing. She keeps exploring relationships with and of places through her anthropological art project City as a Person (e-mail:


Click here to see the network of places and artists who have collaborated so far

Encounter  (One of my illustrations was selected to be pat of this CAP multilingual publication)

About the project and artistic collaboration described by Marija:
“The project City as a person was born in 2015 while I was living in Valencia, Spain. It started out of my personal discomfort in that city. While trying to understand why I don’t like Valencia, but at the same time miss Lisbon as if it were a friend of mine, I also started having conversations with people around me, asking them to imagine their city as if it were a person.
Since then I have been interviewing people wherever I go. I speak to locals and foreigners; the only condition to make an interview is that the person has to have an experience of one place that goes a bit beyond than just „tourist“ visit.
After the interviews get transcribed and, if needed, translated, I forward them to illustrators collaborating on the project. The international network of artist grew naturally, from friends who did their first contributions, to people I met only through our virtual network. Artists often don’t know the city that is described, and they almost never know the person who was imagining and telling the story.
Even though the interviews are full of interesting observations and accounts that reflect the person’s relationship with and in the city, before publishing them on the blog, I work on those texts: sometimes I make them into short poems, other times I leave parts of the original interviews.
People who are asked to imagine their city as a person go through a process that often shows not only how a person feels and thinks about the place, but it also tells a lot about their own lives, their past and experiences they had or they maybe long to have.
These illustrated stories of London, New York and Berlin make part of a collection of about 150 interviews that have been or are being illustrated by more than 30 international artists.”