Experimental Media and the City

From the primitive cinema to today’s geographic data extraction, experimental methods and the city have been intertwined. This Roundtable explores experimental cinematic techniques over the past thirty-five years, ranging from video-era, activist updates of early experimental forms like the city symphony, to the experimental narrative potential of commercial mapping technologies, to the expressive capacities of new technology like drones. An overarching theme is the ways in which the changing face of experimental cinema – which may no longer be cinematic in any way – reveals new dimensions of the urban, and vice versa.

Each of the contributors will offer an initial short essay responding to the roundtable introduction below. Following this, the contributors will offer further responses.

Experimental Media and the City: A Roundtable Introduction (June 1, 2017)

In this roundtable introduction, Swagato Chakravorty introduces the main thematic issues and questions to be addressed.

The Black Audio Film Collective’s Fragmented Cities (June 3, 2017)

Alison Wielgus explores the Black Audio Film Collective’s production of politically engaged experimental works about the varied experiences of London’s communities of color.

The Narrative Landscape of Google Street View (June 5, 2017)

Aroussiak Gabrielian investigates the potential of Google Street View as a database, a storytelling device, and a new way of narrating the city.

Sense and the City: Liam Young’s Speculative Cinema (June 7, 2017)

Holly Willis engages Liam Young’s work as an emergent form of urban mediation that re-draws both generic boundaries and our understanding of the city itself.

Experimental Media & The City: Part II (June 12, 2017)

In this introduction to round two, Swagato Chakravorty contends that the intermediations between city and self have created a crisis of representation.

Demarginalizing New Media Maps (June 15, 2017)

In this post, Alison Wielgus returns to the sites of the BAFC to view them through Google’s digital maps and ask what still remains uncharted.

Google Street View’s Projected Futures (June 17, 2017)

In this post, Aroussiak Gabrielian links Street View’s aesthetics to extant cinematic techniques to explore the potential of its abstractions for telling new stories about the city’s possible futures.

Sense and the City Part II (June 19, 2017)

As the Roundtable Concludes, Holly Willis exchanges an ethics of the visual for an ethics of the computational and the ethically mediated self.