Thursday, 8 November 2012


•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 
The first to write about Urban Sociology, German Sociologist.  Wrote Metropolis and Mental life in 1903.
He writes about the effects of the city on the individual, how body functions in a new space etc.

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 looking back at us as a spectator.

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

Lewis Hine (1932) - picturing a very vulnerable body in relation to the vastness of the city.
Famous for the image of  workers sat on a gurder. He portrays a risk to the bodies in the city environment.
Possibility to a resistance of the individual being swallowed up by the city.

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 


Details from Guaranty Building:
Organic decoration influenced by arts and crafts, building begins to dictate how a person moves through it.
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 

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 
Charles Scheeler:
Ford Motor Company's plant at River Rouge, Detroit (1927). 
-looks at the work of photographer/artist
Images are typical of modern aesthetic - they demonstrate the industrial aspects of the forms in space.
Introduction of the new Ford Model A, Sheeler was commissioned to photograph the plant in Dearborn - part of a larger $1.3 million advertising campaign.
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 factory environment effect people who work in them. Idea of body almost becoming part go machinery in factory.  The movement they make is repetitive like the machines in the factory, a coming together of people and machines.  Workers producing goods, affordable goods so the workers can afford them themselves.
Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin
Chaplin highlights this with 'Modern Times.'  He wrote, directed and featured in - portrays him as a factory worker, employed on assembly line. 
 Subjected to such indignities as being force-fed by a "modern" feeding machine and an accelerating assembly line where Chaplin screws nuts at an ever-increasing rate onto pieces of machinery, he suffers a mental breakdown that causes him to run amok throwing the factory into chaos.
A critical point of view of the body being swallowed by the machine. Comical but also Political.
Stock market crash of 1929:
Factories close and unemployment goes up dramatically
• Leads to “the Great Depression”
• Margaret Bourke- White 

Flaneur: The 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"
Upper class gentleman strolling about the city making general observations 

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.
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 a flaneur
Susan Sontag on Photography: 
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.'
experience from a womans perspective
mainly accounts for the experience of men
segregation of the sexes
figure of the flaneur is male because women did not have the same freedom to walk unaccompanied
Woman at a counter smoking, N.Y.C (1962)
 Automat (1927)
Woman isolated, dwarfed by the environment

Sophie Calle- Suite Venitienne
following man on the streets of venice, like a detective, following strangers on the street
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 

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 

Is this art imitating life or life imitating art? Is Cindy Sherman suggesting female experience of the city. 
Citizen Journalism
response of the 9/11 attacks

photographic professionals and ordinary people
an attempt to democratise the process of image making
similar to Cindy Sherman still, in terms of camera angle, expression on womans face, city backdrop 

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.
Fritz Lang's Metropolis
Ridley Scott's Bladerunner
Retro style film noir style of 40s and 50s with an 80s edge to it, depicting a future- mixing up the timeline
Lorca di Corcia- heads
illuminates random subjects
people walk over a certain spot in the streets, they are illuminated by a flashpeople in the images don't know they're being photographedalone in a crowdexpressions of subject- not an expression we can pin downphysical experience of the city
Walker Evans- many are called
a concealed camera, photographing people on the tube, interesting exposure of interior city life
'isolated in an anonymous environment'
postmodern city
micro-world, once you enter, difficult to get out of
moving through an architectural space as an experience- complex architecture
Postmodern City in photography: Joel Meyerowitz Broadway and West 46th Street NY 1976 

image that doesn't tell us where to look
bombardment of informationsaturated colour, depth of field, no focus from crowdelevated viewpoint

unsure what main focus of image is- reflects the idea of being in the city, if unfamiliar 

9/11 citizen journalism- the end of the flaneur?
availability of photographic images of the city, especially in terms of crisis
Adam Bezer
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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment