Urban Maps, by Richard Brook and Nick Dunn

Ashgate Publishing Blog

Urban Maps: Instruments of Narrative and Interpretation in the City is now available in paperback. Written by Richard Brook and Nick Dunn from Manchester School of Architecture, the book considers the city and the ‘devices’ that define the urban environment.

Layout 1‘Urban Maps provides an interesting new way of “minding the gap” between the contemporary urban condition and architectural design. Calling on familiar and well-loved theoretical friends like Walter Benjamin, but also bringing in exciting new contenders such Thomas de Quincey, the narrators interrogate an interdisciplinary array of projects from graffiti to branded environments. The map is posited as a central element of design behaviour, and Brook and Dunn argue convincingly that to address today’s pressing urban issues architecture must move outside its normal frames of reference, and engage with a new vocabulary and conceptual framework comprising images, networks, films, marks and objects.’   Jane Rendell, The Bartlett School of…

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Art and Geography Conference (Lyon: Feb. 2013)

 

[reblogged from URB-GEOG-FORUM listserv]

Art and geography: aesthetics and practices of spatial knowledge…

 

International interdisciplinary conference (Lyon, Feb 2013)
Call for papers, presentations and proposals

With affiliation and support from Médiagéo, a program of the French National Research Agency, we are pleased to invite proposals to participate in a conference which will explore the contours of geographic and artistic practice, examine their porous boundaries, and delve into all manner of art-geography linkages, interrelationships and hybridizations.

Context: The contemporary art world has gravitated toward notions of space and place with Continue reading

Review – World Film Locations (books and [ipad] app)

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I finally had time to check out the World Film Locations publishing project I’ve been meaning to explore for a while, actually I started by downloading the ‘World Film Locations’ app for the ipad, which is free, and which allowed me free access to view the ‘World Film Locations: Madrid’ – the other titles are available for purchase. (disclosure: published by Intellect, who is the publisher for the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies: more on that soon).

It was a bit different than I anticipated – which I think is a good thing – that is, I thought these would be standard academic articles, but it is much more of a visual catalog of film scenes featuring specific parts of the city (there are WFLocations volumes for a number of other cities: Berlin, Vienna, Las Vegas, Reykjavik, Melbourne, Istanbul, New York, London, of course Paris…).

There are brief readable descriptions/introductions with specific titles that sound like traditional academic articles on film (‘Iván Zulueta: Films of Madrid’s Underground’ by Steven Marsh, ‘Embracing Normalcy: Madrid Gay Cinema at the Turn of the New Millennium’ by Helio San Miguel, ‘Beyond the Cliché: Madrid in Twenty-first Century American Thrillers’ by John D. Sanderson, ‘Bright Young Things: Neo-existentialism in Madrid Cinema of the 1990s’ by Rafael Gómez Alonso), which cite interviews with film directors (Carlos Saura) and get further into film traditions, actors, directors, culture (La Movida) – but, importantly, with English translations (by Marsh for one, who is a name Hispanists will recognize; the editor of the volume is Lorenzo J. Torres Hortelano (of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid), who has in addition assembled a team of former-student photographers to help complement the volume visually).

They concise vignettes are framed with a general map/plano of the city itself as an organizing principle showing where in the city each scene takes place, and still shots of the films under discussion. I have to say I was impressed with the range of films chosen and the depth of the discussion given the spatial limitations (the volume, in this case an e-book is a visually stunning 128 pages).

While reading through this one, it occurred to me that the book would serve as quite an advantageous model for teaching in particular, I might have (film-/Spanish-) students compose their own similar volume. Here is some praise from the series site:

Praise for World Film Locations: New York: ‘An elegant tribute to the films and locations that have given New York its private real estate in our minds. The contributors are so immediately readable and movie-savvy.’ – Roger Ebert

Praise for World Film Locations: Paris: ‘A superbly edited collection explores the most important movie city in the world’ – David Sterritt

Praise for World Film Locations: London: ‘A superb book, indispensable for any cinephile interested in London’s psychogeography. I could pore over it for hours.’ – Peter Bradshaw

Lineposters: Subway Maps of Cities Around The World

LeFors Design

Check out these works of art created by graphic artist Cayla Ferari and engineer John Breznicky.  What started out as a clever way to jazz up the walls of their NY apartment turned into a full fledged entrepreneurial endeavor.

The first version was a minimalist take of the NY subway system.  Today Lineposters.com has versions representing transit systems from all over the world.

Check em out.  I’m tempted to buy a few myself.  If only Indianapolis had a  transit system worth emulating in poster form.  Aw shucks.

Thanks to the Huffington Post for first tweeting this story.  Can I send you the bill for the money I’m going to spend on this art, because of reading you tweet 🙂

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Google to use balloon mapping imagery

Open Geography

There’s been a lot of buzz lately over the fact that Google is partnering with the Public Laboratory for Open Science and Technology (Plots) to publish the imagery generated by balloon mapping.

Whatever you may think of Google as a mega-corporation, this is actually pretty cool and worth being excited about. For one thing, there is now a clear workflow process from data capture–processing–publication, which can be realised via balloon mapping–mapknitter.org–Google. (Of course Google is not the only outlet but it is a big one).

The advantage for Google users is that balloon mapping is often more detailed, is public domain, and can have better colors. Here’s an image I captured last Saturday for example from the balloon at fairly low altitude on a cloudy/drizzly day:

On the Google blog:

We’ve imported many of the images from the Public Laboratory’s archives into Google Earth’s historical imagery database. To help you…

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Digital Humanities and Cities: Hypercities project

There are some really interesting collisions happening in the growing interdisciplinary area of the Digital Humanities.

This one concerns urban cultural studies in particular.

Check out the developing Hypercities project:

Built on the idea that every past is a place, HyperCities is a digital research and educational platform for exploring, learning about, and interacting with the layered histories of city and global spaces.  Developed though collaboration between UCLA and USC, the fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.  Using Google Maps and Google Earth, HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.

There’s also a “Digital Cultural Mapping” NEH Summer Institute at UCLA during Summer 2012.