Project 4 (Time and place) – Room One: Urban

Room Seven: Urban (p.27-46)

Artists

  • Doug Aitken
  • Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
  • Jean and Louise Wilson
  • Richard Hamilton
  • Victor Pasmore
  • Liam Gillick
  • Dan Graham
  • Borjan Sarcevic
  • Stan Douglas
  • Thomas Struth

Points of interest

  • ‘To live in the city, must we assume the position of the anonymous stranger?’ (p.27)
  • ‘Home can be motion at times.’ Doug Aitken (p.28)
  • ‘…an architectural protagonist that, far more than being merely a setting for what occurs within it, actually shapes it, influences it, perhaps even determines it.” (p.32)
  • ‘The crowd is his element, as the air is that of the birds and water of fishes…The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito.’ Charles Baudelaire (p.38)
  • ‘…landscape is never simply the backdrop to history, or merely its witness, but also an active participant in its creation.’ (p.40)
  • ‘All things on earth, and the earth as a whole, flow together into a reciprocal accord.’ Martin Heidegger (p.46)

Way in which space is appropriated and transformed by media and how location can be perceived differently in film. Refer to ‘Room One: Urban’, p. 34-35.

Despite the fact that the housing estate Thamesmead was new, modern and utopian at the end of the 1960’s, director Stanley Kubrick used this neighbourhood as a location for his dystopian film A Clockwork Orange in 1971. Mirroring Kubrick’s film, Thamesmead did in fact transform from utopia to dystopia, suffering in the next decade from its isolated location, pollution, use of concrete, few connections with major transport links, and lack of basic services.

I find this ironic portrayal of a location in a film very intriguing and it reminds me of the films that have used my own country – Dominican Republic – as a location. I have stumbled upon horror movies being filmed in my local park, action movies being filmed in the colonial zone of the city, and dinosaur movies in our more tropical areas. Knowing the real context of these places and experiencing daily life in them, it can be both exciting and amusing to see them transformed and given new meanings.


Bibliography

Dean, T. and Millar, J. (2005) Art Works: Place. London: Thames & Hudson.

The Library Blog. (2016) Utopia to Dystopia: Utopian ideas in Twentieth Century architecture. At: http://libraryblog.lbrut.org.uk/wordpress/2016/08/utopia-dystopia-architecture (Accessed 2 May 2017)

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