Week one presentations reflection

Robyn: I found the first round of presentations very interesting and I enjoyed that most people chose to approach their subjects from a different angle – although Bass was a reoccurring appearance. Christopher’s presentation about the city’s ability to reflect an ideology within a film is one that could particularly relate to my own presentation, as I will be drawing upon the way the themes of dreams, illusion and human experience in Inception are reflected onto the cityscape and architecture.

I also found Steyn’s introduction of Boris Groys’ work very interesting, particularly the idea that it is the tourist that creates the monumentalising gaze and not the object itself, as well as the resulting repetition effect this is having on cities. Groys notes, “today, when we cease to be satisfied with the life that is offered to us in our own cities, we no longer strive to change, revolutionize or rebuild this city; instead, we simply move to a new city – for a short period or forever – in search of what we miss in our home city. Mobility between cities – in all shades of tourism and migration – has radically altered our relationship to the city as well as the cities themselves.” This presents an interchangeable nature of the city. Groys also argues how easily places and spaces can be re-monumentalized, suggesting the nature of human’s relationship to the city space is a fickle one. He continues, claiming we now live in a time of post-romantic tourism where, “rather than the individual romantic tourist, it is instead all manner of people, things, signs and images drawn from all kinds of local cultures that are now leaving their places of origin and undertaking journeys around the world”. As a result, “present-day urban architecture has now begun to move faster than its viewers. This architecture is almost always already there before the tourists arrive. In the time race between tourists and architecture it is now the tourist who loses. Although the tourist is annoyed to encounter the same architecture everywhere he goes, he is also amazed to see how successful a certain type of architecture has proved to be in a wide range of disparate cultural settings. We are now prepared to be attracted and persuaded particularly by artistic strategies capable of producing art that achieves the same degree of success regardless of the cultural context and conditions in which it is viewed.” Therefore suggesting that city spaces have indeed become interchangable, almost false and superficial where they were once romanticised. However, it is as a result of progressive society and the spectator that this has happened. Thus tying perfectly in with my research questions for my presentation:

– In what way does the city become a superficial and movable construction in Nolan’s film, particularly through the metaphor of dream and blurring of boundaries between reality and representation?
– To what extent is human experience solely responsible for the presentation and manipulation of the city space?

My presentation will follow the trajectory that the city in Inception is a construct, a tool. An ambiguous space that often has no need to be defined, as long as it’s there – much like a dream. I will argue that the city is constructed by the walker, and it is the walker’s emotional need and perspective that is of the utmost importance, not the space in which they find themselves. The city walker is the architect of their own journey, just like the team require a dream architect in  the film.
Of course I will be expanding on this on Tuesday so until then, here’s a short clip to hopefully draw some parallels with my explanation of Groys:



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