Thursday, 1 December 2011

Lecture 6 - Cities and film

Herbert Bayer 'Lonely Metropolitism 1932

How the individual exists in a space which exists on a group contribution.  The city engulfing the human figure 

 Coined phrase 'Form follows function'
Details from Arts and Crafts movement.  Tightly organised system of zones to organise the inside of the building

Land of opportunity

Manhatta Paul Stand and Charles Scheeler 1921 - America built on immigration

Commissioned to take the photographs as part of a 1.3m ad campaign

The figure in the city represented as a cog in the city.  The human body becomes part of the machine like a production line.  Manual workers are the consumers at the same time.

This idea is parodied in this film.

This idea of Fordism is brought to an end by the crash. Image 1936 

 Vertov explores the role of the movie camera in a communist city
In literature the role of the body is the 'stroller', the body in the city.  the function of art is to capture this experience.

 Just there to observe other people's actions.  Also used as an analytical tool by Walter Benjamin.  He also lives this life himself.

 Robert Duanao photograph Street Photography
What does it mean for the female in this role? As the Flaneur ideas were emerging women were not seen on the streets alone so are excluded from the writing.

 Alternative ideas of the woman as a Flaneur
Forboding, observed moments just before or after something has happened

Sophie Calle - A type of Flaneuse

‘For months I followed strangers in the street. For the pleasure of following them, not because they particularly interested me. I photographed them without their knowledge, took note of their movements, then finally lost sight of them and forgot them.
At the end of January 1980, on the streets of Paris, I followed a man whom I lost sight of a few minutes later in the crowd. That very evening, by chance, he was introduced to me at an opening. During the course of our conversation, he told me he was planning an imminent trip to Venice.’ Frieze magazine Act of following links stalking and almost a love affair
Venice - Interesting choice

The idea is also found in the film Don't Look now.  Plays with identity and memory.
Sophie Calle pays a private detective to follow her and take photograhic evidence of her existence.  What is truth, what is photographic truth?
Detective (1980), consisted of Calle being followed for a day by a private detective, who had been hired (at Calle's request) by her mother. Calle proceeded to lead the unwitting detective around parts of Paris that were particularly important for her, thereby reversing the expected position of the observed subject. Such projects, with their suggestions of intimacy, also questioned the role of the spectator, with viewers often feeling a sense of unease as they became the unwitting collaborators in these violations of privacy. Moreover, the deliberately constructed and thus in one sense artificial nature of the documentary ‘evidence' used in Calle's work questioned the nature of all truths.

1940-50 The city as a place of threat - Darkside of NY city- Ukranian press photographer who used police radio to stay in touch with events around the city. Mobile dark room - Instant reporting

Weegee's images were collected in a book on which the film was based

Set in 1947 challenges the player to control the LAPD. L.A. Noire is set in Los Angeles in 1947 and challenges the player, controlling a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective, to solve a range of cases across five crime desks.[17] Players must investigate crime scenes for clues, follow up leads, and interrogate suspects, and the players' success at these activities will impact how much of the cases' stories are revealed.
As the title suggests, the game draws heavily from both plot and aesthetic elements of film noir – stylistic films from the 1940s and 1950s that shared similar visual styles and themes including crime, sex, and moral ambiguity and were often shot in black and white with harsh, low-key lighting. The game uses a distinctive colouring-style in homage to the visual style of film noir, including the option to play the game in black-and-white. The post-war setting is the backdrop for plot elements that reference the detective films of the '40s (as well as James Ellroy's novel L.A. Confidential and the Curtis Hanson film based on it), such as corruption and drugs, with a jazz soundtrack. L.A. Noire is also notable for using Lightsprint's real-time global illumination technology, as well as Depth Analysis's newly developed technology for the film and video game industries called MotionScan, where actors are recorded by 32 surrounding cameras to capture facial expressions from every angle.[19][20] 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.
L.A. Noire is the first video game to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.[21][22] Upon release, the game received critical acclaim.

New york - trip effect in a certain area of New York. Detached observer Filmic portraiture.  Sense of heightened drama and surveillance.  does not ask permission

His photographs would then give a sense of heightened drama to the passers-by accidental poses, unintended movements and insignificant facial expressions.[5] Even if sometimes the subject appears to be completely detached to the world around him, diCorcia has often used the city of the subject's name as the title of the photo, placing the passers-by back into the city's anonymity.

2006 litigation by one of his random subjects.  Religious rights were violated. Lost case- Private realm of individual space cannot be reclaimed.
Di Corcia compares his work to Walker Evans

Unobserved moments on New York subway. Idea of people being alone and separate in the city despite being surrounded by other people.

Cindy Sherman considers sterotypical women in a city,  Woman is lost, threatened by the street. Trapped- presence absence
Film noir stereotype.
Below - Shot at the base of the WTC

The shots of the WTC don’t look like the WTC unless you knew the towers well and could recognise the windows in the background. I wasn’t trying to make photos of Manhattan; I wanted the pictures to be mysterious and to look like unidentifiable locations.  So I used types of building that looked as if they could be anywhere  Nothing is revealed - typical of postmodernism.

Ed Soja . Bonaventure Hotel video.  Getting lost in architecture, proposing the idea of the city as confusing and encompassing space which has to be unravelled.
Fredrick jameson Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism Verso, 1991

 A photo of a Post Modern city. Taken at street level this offers an eye level view of incipient confusion. The eye is overwhelmed by signs, and colour adds to the effect of chaos.  Although the image is full of deail there is no sense of tradition or of unity. Indeed it is difficult to find a solid building at all. Clarke  The city reflects its mental state

Surrounded by people who observe but don't interact with the drama.

Impossible to be a detached observer in the case of a disaster. 
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.  Adam Bezer was a citizen journalist.  

Liz Wells identified "citizen journalism' in 2006. Different aesthetic to photography as a piece of information and evidence. No longer a separation of the city and the individual

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