Dürer, Replicants and Flying Cars: Exploring Impressive Imaginary Cities with @Oniropolis

Dürer, Replicants and Flying Cars: Exploring Impressive Imaginary Cities with @Oniropolis

If you haven’t already followed Imaginary Cities on Twitter @Oniropolis then you should right away! This is a curated treasure trove of architectural meanderings and inspiring cityscapes which have never existed other than in creative people’s minds.

Imaginary Cities are where the imagined possibilities of tech, science fiction, futurism and 80’s pop culture are smashed into each other, creating a robust vision about the audio visual and extrasensory possibilities of cities. Here’s some primers for what you can expect.

Synthetic Emotions by Florian Renner 

A 3D Animator from Berlin who creates 3D illustration, graphic design. This video was made using Cinema 4d and After Effects and coupled with some kickass synth by retrowave producer Dynatron. 

Affiliate World Conference 2016 Primer by Florian Renner

In this video, Florian produced an animation for the Affiliate World Conference Europe 2016. This exciting style of animation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

View more of his work

WWF Advertisement and Dürer’s Rhino

This ad drew inspiration from the famous Dürer etching of a Rhino created in approximately 1505. Ogilvy  & Mather in Mumbai have reimagined the famous horned beast as a rapidly rising city. In a way powerfully capturing the meteoric rise of Mumbai as one of the world’s most over-populated and congested cities. Ogilvy & Mather have very cleverly married an enduring symbol of people’s fascination with nature: Dürer’s Rhino, with environmental issues. The two are now inextricably linked. Hopefully this ad made an impact when it first came out in 2009. Thanks again to Imaginary Cities for drawing this to my attention.

Dürer, Replicants and Flying Cars: Exploring Impressive Imaginary Cities with @Oniropolis
WWF Advertisement by Ogilvy & Mather takes inspiration from Dürer’s rhino


Dürer’s Rhino

The story of Dürer’s Rhino 1515 A.D

The story of Albrecht Dürer’s Rhino, which was painted during medieval times is one that’s incredibly sad because, well…much like right now, people really didn’t care about animals.

Albrecht Dürer was a German woodcut print maker of the German Renaissance period. He gained fame by mass producing his prints and making them cheap and affordable to average person, at a time when mass production was rarely done. His most memorable contribution to history was the Rhino woodcut print, which sold an unprecedented 4,000-5,000 copies.


Remarkably Dürer never actually saw a live rhino. His woodcut was based on a letter and a brief sketch. That’s why details in the painting look slightly off-kilter. The existence of the rhino in Europe was at that time a mythical and largely fanciful idea.

The first rhino to Europe travelled over the ocean by ship in the early 1500’s, a gift from an Indian Sultan to King Manual of Portugal. One could only imagine the horrible journey it endured to get there. Once on European soil, thousands of people camped all night to see the ship dock. They marveled to see this amazing animal, that miraculously arrived from Africa alive.

After this, King Manual shipped the poor beast off again by sea as a gift to the Ottoman royal family in (what is now) Turkey. The boat sank on the way in a storm and the rhino tragically found a grave at the bottom of the ocean.

Dürer, Replicants and Flying Cars: Exploring Impressive Imaginary Cities with @Oniropolis
The second ad for WWF by Ogilvy & Mather

Perhaps what we can take from that story and the WWF Advertisement is how human beings have continued to abuse and molest animals, bend and break nature to their own selfish ends for such a long time.

Any imaginary city of the future should be one that envisages a kinder and gentler way of living with nature – before it’s too late.


I’ve written about imaginary cities many times before. Past posts have explored the what our lives would be like, living in a donut-shaped world in space. What Tokyo would look like without adsImaginary Shanghai, a retrofuturistic Auckland and a distinctly Gothic London that’s more dark and rainy than the coldest winter




Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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