Thursday, 8 November 2012

OUGD501 // Lecture 4 // Cities & Film

Aims of the lecture:
- The city in Modernism
- The possibility of an urban sociology
- The city as public and private space
- The city in Postmodernism
- The relation of the individual to the crowd in the city.

Georg Simmel (1858- 1918)
- German sociologist
- Writes Metropolis and Mental Life in 1903
- Influences critical theory of the Frankfurt School thinkers eg: Walter Benjamin, Kracauer, Adorno and Horkheimer

Dresden Exhibition 1903
- Simmel is 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 Bayer Lonely Metropolitan 1932

- eyes on hand looking back at us like the spectator

Urban sociology
- The resistance of the individual to being levelled, swallowed up in the social-technological mechanism.
- Georg Simmel The Metropolis and Mental Life 1903

vulnerable body against the background of the vast city. no safety equipment. possibility of the resistance of the individual being taken by the city. How to survive this experience.
Lewis Hine (1932)

Architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924)
- creator of the modern skyscraper, 
- an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School
- mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright,
- Guaranty Building was built in 1894 by Adler & Sullivan in Buffalo NY

- Form follows function

Details from Guaranty Building

as work develops he applies the idea of form follows function - applied here as the layout of the building. 4 zones to the building. basement, ground level, office, top - elevator shaft 
The building dictates has a person uses the space.

Carson 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 new aspirational buildings.
- Represent the idea of upward movement. city is a business opportunity. american dream everything is up for grabs. What attracts people to the city.

Paul Strand - photographer.

Charles Scheeler
Ford Motor Company's plant at River Rouge, Detroit (1927).

Artist an photographer. Modernist aesthetic. represent the industrial site in an abstract manor. Shows the forms and arrangement of the industrial site.  

Fordism: mechanised labour relations
Coined by Antonio Gramsci in his essay "Americanism and Fordism”
"the eponymous manufacturing system designed to spew out standardized, low-cost goods and afford its workers decent enough wages to buy them” (De Grazia: 2005:4)

How body becomes part of the machinery in the factory. The movement they make are very repetitive and machine like. Coming together of the body and machine. Cycle of production and consumption. Affordable good being bought by the worker themselves, they are working so they can afford to by these.

Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin

Plays with this idea of the factory working being in a factory and with the body being part of the machine. Comment on this aspect of modernity, critical point of view - body being swallowed by machine. Comical way - political message within film.

Stock market crash of 1929
Factories close and unemployment goes up dramatically
Leads to “the Great Depression”
Margaret Bourke-White

difficult social situation. extreme created the haves and have not's. 

Man with a movie camera
Shows cinematic techniques which were new for that time

he term flâneur comes from the French masculine noun flâneur—which has the basic meanings of "stroller", "lounger", "saunterer", "loafer"—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means "to stroll"
appears in art and literature. 

Charles Baudelaire
The nineteenth century French poet Charles Baudelaire proposes a version of the  flâneur—that of "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". 
Art should capture this
Simultaneously apart from and a part of the crowd 

Rather than being part of the machine can be part of the crowd and take in the scenery.  

Walter Benjamin
Adopts the concept of the urban observer as an analytical tool and as a lifestyle as seen in his writings
(Arcades Project, 1927–40), Benjamin’s final, incomplete book about Parisian city life in the 19th century
Berlin Chronicle/Berlin Childhood (memoirs)

Photographer as flaneur
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)

The photographer is a type of flaneur, experiences the city by recording with a camera. The photographer is separate from the crowd. Stealing images from an environment. moments to identify with individuals in the crowd. Beautiful moment in the environment - people, architecture.  

Flaneuse  - Female
The Invisible Flâneuse. Women and the Literature of Modernity
Janet Wolff
Theory, Culture & Society November 1985 vol. 2 no. 3 37-46 

The literature of modernity, describing the fleeting, anonymous, ephemeral encounters of life in the metropolis, mainly accounts for the experiences of men. It ignores the concomitant separation of public and private spheres from the mid-nineteenth century, and the increasing segregation of the sexes around that separation. The influential writings of Baudelaire, Simmel, Benjamin and, more recently, Richard Sennett and Marshall Berman, by equating the modern with the public, thus fail to describe women's experience of modernity. The central figure of the flâneur in the literature of modernity can only be male. What is required, therefore, is a feminist sociology of modernity to supplement these texts.

arguing to bring the private experience onto the screen. Not trying to bin everything that has said before but expand the view of the experience by talking form a womens point of view.

Susan Buck-Morss
In this text suggests that the only figure a woman on the street can be is either a prostitute or a bag lady 

Stereotype towards to women

image of the women isolated from the environment. Urban environment. gives idea of must vaster space. Far right hand image of photo, heavier paint around her head and body - loneliness.

Sophie Calle Suite Venitienne (1980)
works on same principle. follows man on the street taking photos of him. like a private detective. Turns into a love story, stalking relationship. 

City as a labyrinth of streets and alleyways in which you can get lost but at the same time will always end up back where you begin
Don’t look Now (1973) Nicholas Roeg

example of where architecture of city invites certain relationship. Maze that allows to get lost but in a space that is defined and fixed.

The Detective (1980)
Wants to provide photographic evidence of her existence
His photos and notes on her are displayed next to her photos and notes about him
Set in Paris

detective motif - hires detective to follow her around the city. 

Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills (1977-80)

narrative - era implied by the clothing. Not sure where we are in time and space. Film noire characters. 

image from bas of worlds trade centre. cant tell this from the image. 
images to be mysterious and unidentified areas.

Here is New York book/exhibition

professionals and ordinary people.  3000 photos taken.  


building in background make look like film. Illustration of art dictating life or other way round.

Weegee (Arthur Felig)
images are well known from 1940. press photographer. Always appeared at an emergency or murder. believe that in touch with spirits. arrived on scene, had a police band radio, always got first shot so was always used in newspaper. 

The Naked City

collected in this book and developed into TV series. 8 million stories. Tv series echoes film noire vibe again.

LA Noire (2011)
the first video game to be shown at the Tribecca Film Festival
Incorporates “MotionScan”, where actors are recorded by 32 surrounding cameras to capture facial expressions from every angle.The technology is central to the game's interrogation mechanic, as players must use the suspects' reactions to questioning to judge whether they are lying or not.

First video game. Set in LA in 1940. control the police and solve range of murders and crime scenes. 

Cities of the future/past- Fritz Lang Metropolis (1929)

city of the future. 

Ridley Scott Bladerunner (1982/2019) LA

mixing up of vast of the future. strange mix of post modernism - styling of film is very retro - film noire has 1980 edge to it and predicting the future too.

Lorca di Corcia Heads (2001) NY
investigation of public and private through representation of portraiture photographer. 
trip flash - when walk over area the flash goes off and illuminates them. use of camera as a surveillance tool. 

lost expression, sense of bewilderedness. facial expressions hard to pin down, not easy to put label on. how interior life fits with the outer experience of the city.

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."

not commercial use of photography so ok. 

Walker Evans Many are called (1938)

travelling around on tube. photographing with concealed camera under his coat. People not know about the photos being taken. Catches them off view and more in a lifestyle view.

Postmodern City in photography: Joel Meyerowitz Broadway and West 46th Street NY 1976

intense colour - depth of field - no focus in the crowd - no figure being the main subject.

9/11 Citizen journalism: the end of the flaneur?
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.

detached from the city. going to be documenting something in this way. destruction of skyscrapers and twin towers is the destruction of the american dream. 

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)

image from surveillance camera which captured the bombers. always surveyed in city, everything is always being watched.

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 viwer 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”?

Runs Islam. uses footage of destruction of world trade centre and reverses it, seeing the towers being rebuilt. Fantasy of them being put back and the tragedy being undone.

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