Thursday, 8 November 2012

Lecture Four - Cities and Film.

  • the city in modernism
  • the possibility of urban sociology
  • the city as public and private space
  • the city in postmodernism
  • the relation of the individual to the crowd in the city

George Simmel (1858 - 1918)
  • german sociologist
  • dresden exhibition 1903
  • asked to lecture on the role of intellectual life in the city but instead reverses the idea and writes about the effect of the city on the individual
  • Herbert Beyer 'Lonely Metropolitan - 1932'

Urban sociology
  • Lewis Hine (1932)
  • the resistance of the individual to being levelled, swallowed up in the social-technological mechanism
  • George Simmel 'The metropolis and mental life'

Architect Louis Sullivan (1856 - 1924)
  • creator of the modern skyscraper
  • an influential architect and critic

Cason Pririe Scott store in Chicago (1904)
  • skyscrapers represent the upwardly mobile city of business opportunity
  • fire cleared buildings in chicago in 1871 and made way for Louis Sullivan

Charles Scheeler
  • ford motor company's plant at River Rouge, Detroit (1927)

  • mechanised labour relations
  • coined by Antonio Gramsci in his essay 'Americanism and Fordism'
  • 'modern times' 1936 - Charlie Chaplin, relates to this, making a comment on this aspect of modernity, a critical point of view on the body being swallowed by machines

Stock market crash of 1929
  • factories close and unemployment goes up dramatically
  • leads to 'the great depression'

  • the term flaneur comes from the french masculine nown flaneur  - which has the basic meanings of stroller.
  •  Charles Baudellaire "a person that walks the city in order to experience it"
  • art should capture this

Walter Benjamin
  • adopts the idea of the urban observer as an analytical tool and as a lifestyle as seen in his writings
  • 'Arcades Project' final incomplete book about the parisian city life in the 19th century
  • Berlin Chronicle/Berlin childhood (memoirs)

Photography as a flaneur
  • Susan sontag on photography
  • solitary walker, stalker, separate from the crowd, stealing images from an environment, voyeuristic stroller, looking for beautiful moments in the urban environment
  • street photography

  • female flaneur
  • Janet Wollf
  • figure of the flaneur is male because women didn't have the same freedom to walk without company
  • bringing the private experience onto the street
  • Susan Buck-morss - only women on the street are prostitutes or bag ladies

  • women at the counter smoking, NYC, (1962)
  • automat (1927)
  • lonely sense of dread
  • in between moment
  • almost like a film still
  • foreboding

Sophie Calle 'Suite Venitienne' (1980)
  • following a man on the streets of Venice
  • follows his every move
  • romantic/stalking relationship
  • photographed without their knowledge

  • 'Don't look now' (1973)
  • city as a labyrinth of streets and alleyways n which you can get lost but at the same time will always end up back where you began

The Detective (1980)
  • wants to provide photographic evidence of her existence, Sophie Calle
  • a man follows her taking photos
  • she takes photos of him taking photos of her

Weegee (Arthur Felig)
  • press photographer
  • lower east side New York
  • appears at emergencies
  • people think he's in touch with spirits
  • appears minutes after the crime
  • had a police radio
  • his work is collected in a book 'The Naked City'
  • echoed in video game 'LA Noire'

Ridley Scott 'Blade runner' (1982)
  • futuristic LA
  • set in 2019
  • retro style

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