The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

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Professors Diana Agrest, MariaElena Fanna, and Yael Melamede

The city can be considered and examined as the physical manifestation of the conflicts and contradictions of our society, as the locus of social flows, as the place where the forces of expression, repression and conflict intersect. Through film, the city can be read in its physicality and its visuality as a literal physical space and as a mediated reality.

Urban architecture, urban form, can relate to film form as one text to another, in terms of configurations composed of so many fragments of languages organized in time through space. The city, analogous to film, is a continuous, fluid open sequence of spaces and objects perceived through time in motion.

Not only are time, movement, space, and speed pertinent parameters with which to think about the city, but the question of the narrative is also an essential aspect for its understanding.

Other architectures, that include levels of narrative, time, action, flow, etc., that open and erode the fixed boundaries of disciplines and territories as institutionally defined, are produced by the city itself. Reading the city through film using filmic parameters allows access into the complexity, the expansive force and sequential organization of fragments in time and space that characterizes the city.

Filmic Readings were produced in Manhattan’s Lower East Side:
Between Houston Street and Manhattan Bridge
Between The Bowery and the East River

The boundaries of the given area were flexible in order to develop the particular narrative of each film. The films are not meant to be documentaries or objective recordings of an area but Filmic Readings in which the subjective view is articulated through the camera with the city “out there,” they are constructions following a narrative.