Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cities and Film

Cities and Film

the city in modernism
the beginings of an urban sociology
the city as a public and a private space
the city in post modernism
the relation of the individual to the crowd in the city

Georg Simmel (1858-1918)
German Sociologist
wrote Metropolis and Mental Life , 1903

Dresden Exhibition (a fair that celebrated the city)
Simmel lectures on the role of intellectual life in the city but instead he writes about the effect of the city on the individual

Herbet Bayer Lonely Metropolitan 1932 

Urban Sociology
individual may fear being swallowed up in the social technological mechanism

Lewis Hine 1932

Louis Sullivan (1856-1924)
creator of the modern sky scraper
influential architect and critic of the chicago school

Guranty building 1894 
buffalo, NY

Details of the building

form follows function in the layout of the building itself, 
form being the essence of the modern era.

Carson Pririe Scott store in Chicago
A fire cleared buildings in Chicago in 1871
making way for Louis Sullivans new aspirational buildings

Charles Scheeler

Fordism: mechanised labour relations
the production line is set up , mechanical movements, almost becoming the human being but much faster and more efficient.
Antonio ' Americanism and Fordism', 1934

Modern Times (1936)
Charlie Chaplin

in the still the worker gets stuck in the machine

In handicrafts and manufacture, the workman makes use of a tool, in the factory

Stock Market Crash of 1929
factories close
unemployment increases
leads to the 'Great Depression'

'The Man with the Movie Camera'
Russian film maker
Dziga Vertov
uses experimental film techniques to film the city, almost photographic in its approach
it shows the impact of the city on individuals

french word for 'stroller' 'lounger' 'saunterer'
middle/upper class literature figure
he's an observer of the city

Charles Baudelaire
the flaneur- a person who walks the city in order to experience it"
Art should capture this

Walter Benjamin
adopts the concept of an urban observer as a analytical tool 
Arcades Project, 1927-40
the final incomplete book about Parisian city life in the 19th century

Susan Sontag on the flaneur as a photographer

"The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world 'picturesque." (pg. 55)

Daido Moriyama 1970's 
Shinjuku district of Tokyo

The Invisible Flaneuse
Women and the Literature of Modernity
Janet Wolff

Theory, Cu;ture and Society November 1985

suggsts that the reason there are no flaneuse is that at the time the women would not be experienceing the city on thier own

Susan Buck- Morss
The Dialetics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades 

Arbus- Women at a counter Smoking, 1962, NYC

Hopper- Automat, 1927
the black gets heavier around the woman, a real sense of loneliness

Sophie Calle , Suite Venitienne 1980
At a distance 
Long Lens

Follows a man/ flaneur around Venice

city as a labyrinth of streets and alleyways
you can get lost but you will always end up back in the city

looked at in the film:
'Don't look Now' 1973
Nicholas Roeg
a red cape haunts the parents, who are grieving for their child
in a state between reality and fantasy

The Detective 1980 
Wants to provide photographic evidence of her existence
she pays someone to follow her and take her picture
In Paris
his photos and notes on her are displayed next to hers on him

Cindy Sherman 
untitled film stills 1977-80

she used buildings that couldn't really be identified

Here is New York book 2001 
images/documentation of 9/11 

Weegee (Arthur Felig)
photo journalist
shows emergencies in the cities
named weegee as people believed he must be psychic/ own a ouiji board as he manages to capture these events almost unknowingly
He had a two way radio

Film Noir

Video Game- LA Noire
the first video game to be shown at the Tribecca Film Festival
incorporates motion scan where actors are recoreded for their facial expressions 

Cities of the future/past - Fritz Lang
Metropolis 1929 

a city of the future

Ridley Scott Bladerunner 1982
set in 2019 LA

Lorca di Cordia Heads in 2001 NY

When in Berlin, Calcutta, Hollywood, New York, Rome and Tokyo, he would often hide lights in the pavement, which would illuminate a random subject in a special way, often isolating them from the other people in the street
Street photography telephoto lens synched with flash

Public/ Private

•In 2006, a New York trial court issued a ruling in a case involving one of his photographs. One of diCorcia's New York random subjects was Ermo Nussenzweig, an Orthodox Jew who objected on religious grounds to diCorcia's publishing in an artistic exhibition a photograph taken of him without his permission. The photo's subject argued that his privacy and religious rights had been violated by both the taking and publishing of the photograph of him. The judge dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the photograph taken of Nussenzweig on a street is art - not commerce - and therefore is protected by the First  Ammendement.•Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Judith J. Gische ruled that the photo of Nussenzweig—a head shot showing him sporting a scraggly white beard, a black hat and a black coat was art, even though the photographer sold 10 prints of it at $20,000 to $30,000 each. The judge ruled that New York courts have "recognized that art can be sold, at least in limited editions, and still retain its artistic character.•[F]irst [A]mendment protection of art is not limited to only starving artists. A profit motive in itself does not necessarily compel a conclusion that art has been used for trade purposes."

Walker Evans, Many are called, 1938
spying taking the photograph without the person knowing
capturing the real experience

Fredrick Jameson: Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism Verso, 1991

Joel Meyerowitz 
Broadway and West 46th Street NY 1976
post modern
no direction as to where to look
or what to think 
composed but not in the way the modern images are

opposite to weegees work

Adam Bezer 2001: 9/11
the end of the possibility of flaneur, no room for the detached observer

The destruction of the skyscaper, in the Twin Towers is the destruction of the American Dream as Andrew Grahame Dixon figured earlier.
Where issues of the body the city the built environment the man of the crowd the stranger/immigrant collide catastrophically.

Liz Wells says that phrase is first seen in an article by Stuart Allen Online News: Journalism and the Internet  in 2006. She discusses the 7/7 bombings in London and the immediacy of the mobile phone images which recorded the event as commuters travel to work. These images were online within an hour of the event.

recording of extraordinary events by the individual

Stills from the video, Untitled, 2003, by Runa Islam shown in the Intervention exhibition 2003, John Hansaard Gallery. Islam uses BBC news footage of the collapse of the World Trade Centre, 11 September 2001. Slowed down and in reverse, the back to front collapse of the towers aquires a ‘terrible beauty’. The viewer is forced to contemplate events in a manner which is very different from any earlier responses they might have had to the ubiquitously show news footage. The ‘sublime’ quality of the panorama is dealt with in such a way as to make the viewer ask if Katherine Stockhausen  wasn’t perhaps touching on some unmentionable aspect of any viewers experience I describing the collapse of the WTC as “the greatest work of art ever”?

Thomas Ruff jpeg ny02, 2004
purposefully over pixelated
documentary photography is not enough
exagerating the lack of quality in some of the images, degrading of the image itself
photography's impact doing the same thing

Surveillance City
“Since the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the ensuing ‘war on terrorism’ there has been an enormous ramping up of investment in machine reading technologies. If the nineteenth century saw the automation of picture making , in the 21st century we now seek machines to look at pictures on our behalf.” (Wells: 09: 339)

Everything is now recorded, machines now look at images on our behalf
7/7 bombers , eventually used to convict them

is photography back to its main function- information 

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