Thursday, 7 November 2013


  • The city in modernism
  • The beginnings 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
  • Write 'Metropolis and Mental Life' in 1903
  • Dresden Exhibiton - 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
  • Urban sociology - the resistance of the individual to being levelled, swallowed up in the social-technological mechanism.
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
  • 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
Manhatta (1921)
  • Fordism - Coined by Antonio Gramsci in his essay 'Americanism & Fordism' (1934)
  • 'the eponymous manufacturing system designed to spew out standardised, low-cost goods and afford its workers decent enough wages to buy them' (De Grazia:2005:4)
  • Also explored in 'Modern Times' (1936) Charlie Chaplin
  • 'In handicrafts and manufacture, the workman makes use of a tool, in the factory, the machine makes use of him' (Marx cited in Adamson 2010 p75)
  • Stock market crash of 1929 - factories close and unemployment foes up dramatically - leads to the great depression
  • Maragret Bourke-White
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

  • The term flaneur comes from the French noun which has the basinal meaning of 'stroller', 'lounger'
  • Charles Boudelaire
  • The 19th century Boudelaire proposes a version of the flaneur that of 'a person who walks the city in order to experience it' - Art should capture this
  • Walter Benjamin - Adopts the concept of the urban observer as an analytical tool and as a lifestyle as soon in his writings
Photographer as flaneur
  • Susan Sontag - The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitring, stalks, cruising the organ inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovered the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes.
  • Daido Moriyama (1970's) Skinjuku district of Tokyo - influenced by William Klein's work
  • The invisible Flaneuse. Women and the literature of modernity
  • Janet Wolff
  • The literature of modernity, describing the fleeting, anonymous, ephemeral encounters of life in the metropolis, mainly accounts for the experiences of men.
  • Susan Buck-Morss - The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project
  • Arbus - Woman at a couter smoking NYC (1962)
  • Hopper - Automat (1927)
  • Sophie Calle 'Suite Venitienne' (1980)
  • Venice - city as a labyrinth of streets and alleyways in which you can get lost but at the same time will always end up where you begin
  • 'Don't look Now' (1973) Nicolas Roeg
  • The Detective (1980) - wants to provide photographic evidence of her existence - his photos are notes on her are displayed next to her photos and notes about him - set in Paris
  • Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills (1977-80)
  • Here is New York book/exhibition
  • Weegee (Arthur Felig) - press photographer in the 1930's/40's - signature style is photographing emergencies in the city
  • The Naked City - book of Weegee's images (1945) - develops into a film (1948)
  • LA Noire (2011) - the first video game to be shown at the Tribecca Film Festival - Incorporates 'Motion Scan', where actors are recorded by 32 surrounding cameras to capture facial expressions from every angle. The technology is central to the games interrogation mechanic, as players must use the suspects reactions to questioning to huge whoever they are lying or not.
  • Cities of the future/past - Fritz Lang 'Metropolis' (1929)
  • Ridley Scott 'Bladerunner' (1982/2019) LA
  • Lorca di Corcia 'Heads' (2001) NY - investigates idea of the individual and the relation to the crowd
  • Public/Private - lawsuit against Corcia
  • Walker Evans 'Many are called' (1938) - concealed camera
Post Modern City/Bonadventure Hotel

Postmodern city in photography
  • Joel Meyerowitz - 'Broadway and West 46th Street NY' (1976)
  • 9/11 Citizen journalism: the end of the flaneur?
  • Liz Wells says that phrase is first seen in the article by Stuart Allen 'Online News: Journalism and the internet' (2006) - Discusses the 7/7 London bombings and the immediacy of the mobile phone images which recorded the even as commuters travel to work - online within hours
  • Thomas Ruff
  • Surveillance City - Liz Wells - everything is recorded

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