looking at cities

You can hear me talk about visual technologies and cities in the nineteenth century, in a podcast currently on The Open University’s OpenLearn site.

One of the questions I want to use this blog to think about is – if  the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth century saw all sorts of visualising technologies used to make cities visible in more-or-less ‘realistic ways’, what’s happening now to how cities are represented and experienced?  If cities like Chicago are inhabited by Batman, and Paris folds up in a film like Inception, and New York regularly gets destroyed by zombies, tidal waves and ice sheets, do we think about cities differently now?  Do we live in them differently?

And what about the proliferation of images of cities now made by tourists and family snappers and bloggers?  How do they shape how cities are lived and understood?  Do they offer different ways of seeing urban spaces?

And finally, it seems to me that domestic sorts of pictures are entering city spaces more and more often.  We carry our family albums on our mobile phones, and we see family snaps displayed on subway walls after acts of violence.  Are domestic ways of seeing infiltrating urban spaces?

How do we see cities now?

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