Awaiting the Voiceover. The Oresund Film Commission Location Database and the Mediatization of the Architectural Landscape

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Awaiting the Voiceover. The Oresund Film Commission Location Database and the Mediatization of the Architectural Landscape

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title Awaiting the Voiceover. The Oresund Film Commission Location Database and the Mediatization of the Architectural Landscape
Author(s) Hellström, Maria
Date 2007-11-16
English abstract
Today it is more difficult than ever to isolate the reproduction of buildings and landscapes from a growing and ever more all-embracing “economy of images and signs” (Lash and Urry, 1994). Even though repeated attempts are being made from within the spatial professions to develop a tectonically or geo-morphologically formulated immunity to these changes, the built environment appears as a subject matter in an increasing number of fields, from trend analytics and economic forecasting to environmental science and health care. One of these new and increasingly important fields of architectonical practice is film production. As a “micro-environment with global span” (Sassen 2003), this spatio-temporal domain has developed its own platforms and tools for commissioning and curating architectural environments, thus providing a new and increasingly important cartography of contemporary space (Abbas, 2003). Here, the emerging film commissions play an active role, engaging not only in promotion of the architectural environment, but furthermore also in its categorization, assessment and reproduction. What we have to ask, however, is what are the premises for this new spatial production, and how does it affect the further intermediation of architectural knowledge? Through a case study of the Oresund Film Commission and its web based “location database”, this paper aims to discuss these and related issues. A compilation of more than five hundred still images of potential locations for film production, covering anything from “fairytale scenery and medieval villages tucked in lush fields” to “contemporary European settings” (, the database provokingly actualizes the ambiguities of architectural typologization and archival practices – on the one hand its dependency upon an often unarticulated aesthetic narrative or naturalized voice-over and on the other hand its inclination to blend with a global branding culture. Together with a number of similar location databases, it is, however, also an example of the changing representational and reproductive conditions characterizing a mediatized architectural arena, rendering to the place-specific and local a new and extended role as enunciative entrances in a geo-political play. The paper interrogates and examines this new cinematographically driven locality production as well as the expectations, both for adaptation and change, to which it gives rise. The argument developed is that neither urban design nor architectural curatorship can consider themselves independent of processes of mediatization. Nevertheless, it is not a curatorial assignment to uncritically provide an increasingly powerful media industry with a legitimizing voice-over. Instead, what is needed is rather a new attention to the urban narrative that goes beyond passive commentary, taking into account the discursive potentials that an expanded architectural media-geography eventually holds.
Publisher Kingston University, UK
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) urbanism
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
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