Urban anagram: A bio-political reflection on cinema and city life

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Urban anagram: A bio-political reflection on cinema and city life

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Publication BookChapter
Title Urban anagram: A bio-political reflection on cinema and city life
Author(s) Hellström Reimer, Maria
Date 2011
Editor(s) Lu, Adong; Penz, Francois
English abstract
In relation to the city, the cinema may be regarded as a revelation. Cinema brings to light what used to be contained in adumbration. Cinema holds an almost uncanny ability to deliver exhaustive representations of composite urbanity. Cinema unmasks metropolitan monumentality. Yet, as a medium with the ability not only to capture motion but to mobilize, film also appears as a life-bringing force, exposing but also igniting what has shown to be the dormant potentials of the urban web. If before, as Walter Benjamin expressed it, "[o]ur taverns and our metropolitan streets, our offices and furnished rooms, our railroad stations and our factories appeared to have locked us up hopelessly", the filmic medium changed all this, releasing us from incarceration, "so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly and adventurously go travelling." What comes through in this quote is the bio-political aspect of cinematic urbanism and the mutual dependency between film and city life. In a situation where power is no longer absolute but continuously exercised through mass-mediation, and where the distance between monitoring and mobilizing has diminished, the inter-mediality between film and urbanity has gained both in importance and in ambiguity. While cinema may transgress the representative limits of the urban order, revealing to each and every one of us a more performative than contemplative potential, it does at the same time propose new regimes, offering an adventurous, yet calm and controlled ride through life. The paper will address such life-governing aspects of cinematic urbanism and especially what could be described as its double agenda of revelation and mobilization, addressed from within the filmic medium as such through different forms of self-referentiality. On the one hand side, this referentiality has been supplemented with claims to greater authenticity and more far-reaching representativity as concerns real life. On the other hand side, it has evoked what could be seen as an anagrammatic actualization of conditioning forces, playfully recombining the basic components of both filmic and urban life. As an urban anagram, cinema presents a performative capability capricious enough as to challenge what has become the increasingly powerful bio-political aggregate of life, knowledge and subjectivity.
Publisher Intellect Publisher
Host/Issue Urban Cinematics: Understanding Urban Phenomena Through The Moving Image
ISBN 978-1-84150-428-5
Pages 221-238
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) urbanity
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/12923 (link to this page)

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