The following event, which contains an analysis of Matthias Müller's 1998 Film 'Vacancy' on the development of Brasilia, may be of interest. The seminar is free but please email me on [log in to unmask] so that we can estimate capacity. A link for directions to the IGRS is below.
I'm delighted to be able to announce details for the first Imagined City seminar of 2007/8 at the IGRS. Ricarda Vidal will speak on 30 November on "The Importance of the Void in the Modernist City and its Aestheticization in Contemporary Artist Film". Further details are below.
You would be very welcome at this event.
Apologies for any cross-posting: Please feel free to disseminate widely
With very best wishes,
Margaret Andrews (IGRS)
Imagined City Seminar
Friday November 30
Room 274/5 IGRS, Floor 2, Senate House, Senate House (Russell Square side), London WC1E 7HU
"The Importance of the Void in the Modernist City and its Aestheticization in Contemporary Artist Film"
Modernist architects and city planners dreamt of sprawling airy cities, with parklands and broad avenues where nothing would halt the free flow of traffic and every citizen would be able to enjoy sweeping vistas over the green expanses of the new urbanity. In the 1950s and '60s some of these urban dreams were realized in the reconstructions of the European cities after WWII and, most notably, in the construction of Brasilia in 1956-1960. Car-friendly urban planning and "beneficial" demolitions, the buzzwords of the times, have been harshly criticized by succeeding generations. However, the aesthetics of Modernism and the underlying idea of harmony, empty or rather undisturbed space, and open views continue to fascinate.
I want to look at three contemporary short films which examine the Modernist urban project and its legacy for the contemporary city-dweller: "Vacancy" (1998) by Matthias Müller, a poetic rhapsody about Brasilia, fusing found footage from the city's opening ceremony in 1960 with material shot by Müller in 1998; "To the Unknown" (2006) by Andrew Vallance and Michael Ryan, a slow and tranquil film about nocturnal London; "Relatively Free" (2006) by Alessandro Cassigoli and Dalia Castel, a short documentary about driving from East to West Berlin through the huge empty streets of the socialist dream to the overcrowded billboards of the capitalist West.
I am interested in the nostalgia for Modernism that does not only pervade these three films but is also present in contemporary urban architecture and urban culture. What has survived of the Modernist ideas and how have they been transformed?
Directions to the IGRS are on http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/contact/findus.html
Dr Margaret Andrews
London WC1E 7HU