Media, Metropolis, Mind: Wandering through 150 years of urban documentation
The modern city and mass media are coevals, born in the last half of the 19th century. They have profoundly shaped one another ever since, with media providing circuits of information and exchange and helping to structure perception and power; and cities providing the conceptual and material wherewithal for this vibrant pas de deux. Media are bound up within a given historical moment’s possibilities of perception and representation, and their ensuing texts reveal not only the changing contours of the city, but of these broader mentalities as well. The talk will move from 19th century stereographs, to early filmed panoramas and city symphonies, to games, interactive documentaries and urban simulations, in order to locate these most recent urban representations against the broader backdrop of changing media and ways of thinking about the city. Along its way, it will attend to the shifting ‘architecture’ and space-time configurations of particular media-moments.
William Uricchio is professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT in the US and at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He is principal investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, which explores the frontiers of interactive and participatory reality-based storytelling. His work explores the frontiers of new media, at times using a historical lens (old media when they were new, such as 19th century television) and at times by working with interactive and algorithmically generated media forms (interactive documentaries and games in particular). Uricchio has received numerous awards for his work including Guggenheim, Humboldt and Fulbright research fellowships, and the Berlin Prize. His publications include Reframing Culture: The Case of the Vitagraph Quality Films (2014), We Europeans? Media, Representations, Identities (2008), and Media Cultures (2006).