The City Without Light

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWjRkHsGzNM[/youtube] Two weeks ago, as Hong Kong was swept under the tide of bacchanalia known as Art Week — basically a non-stop stream of parties and other well-lubricated events revolving around Art Basel Hong Kong — something remarkable happened to the city’s tallest building. Normally, the 484-metre-tall International Commerce Centre is illuminated by an unceasingly […]

A Nation Slips Beneath the Sea

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/36515698[/vimeo] Sweep your eyes across any world map or globe and, unless you squint closely on the ocean expanse just west of India, they can be easy to miss: a chain of about 1,200 tiny islands marching almost in a straight line, from the Lakshadweep Islands to the north and the Chagos Archipelago to the […]

Posted in: Environment, Film, Politics, South Asia, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on A Nation Slips Beneath the Sea , , , , ,

Terminal Curiosity

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/30757960[/vimeo] It’s one way to see a city: pick a subway line, any line, and ride to the end. In theory, whatever narrow perceptions you’ve acquired by sauntering through any metropolis’ most busy downtown streets will be balanced out by impressions of its flavor of ragged urban edge. That’s precisely what my friend Tanveer and […]

“Urbanized”: Democracy and Design

[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jpN8kI0-pY&t=2s[/youtube] Gary Hustwit clearly wanted his new documentary, Urbanized, to get more people talking or writing about cities. But he might not have expected the very literal way that admirers at Field Notes, a stationery company, would help facilitate that goal — by supplying notepads branded with the film’s logo to audiences attending […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Film, Politics, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on “Urbanized”: Democracy and Design , , , , ,

The Robson Street Lawn

Vancouver is working hard to shake off its reputation as a somewhat pious city that values good mountain views over vibrant streetlife. Its architecture has seen a shift away from the back-to-nature style of the 1970s, 80s and 90s towards something bolder and more urban, like the recently-completed Woodwards redevelopment. There seems to be more […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Canada, Public Space, Society and Culture, Video by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Robson Street Lawn , , , ,

Rooftop Dystopia

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEpjnRwLrco[/youtube] Two years ago, I spent a lot of time exploring the rooftop squatter villages that spread across the city like mushrooms on a tree stump. There’s an eerie feeling that comes over you as you walk through these settlements. Weeds poke through cracks in concrete walls; birds chirp and cicadas whir in the hot […]

Mega(city)transect

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeMJKmrFdPc[/youtube] Megatransecting Mexico City In 1999, American biologist J. Michael Fay set out on a project to map and survey the vegetation of Africa’s entire Congo River basin. Heavily promoted by National Geographic as “The Megatransect,” Fay’s feat involved 455 days of walking across 3,200 miles of largely untamed territory. Biologists had actually been using […]

Posted in: Europe, Latin America, South Asia, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Mega(city)transect , , , ,

Voodoo Gentrification

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpjL0mz3IJM[/youtube] You’ve probably heard the term “voodoo economics” before. Famously used by George H.W. Bush to denounce Ronald Reagan’s theory of trickle-down wealth when the two were vying head-to-head for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, they never again escaped the elder Bush’s lips after he became Reagan’s running mate in that year’s general election. The […]

Selling a City, Selling a Spirit, Selling a Car

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3guZ7dMAkc[/youtube] “Chrysler: Born of Fire”, presented during the last Super Bowl Am I the only one that feels the spirit of a city in this advertisement? I believe Chrysler and Eminem were able to capture the true identity of this American city. I could say that I enjoy the way they first present Detroit as […]

Everyone’s Talking About the Weather

“Everyone’s talking about the weather,” runs a loose translation of an old German political poster, “except us.” The slogan was used to parody a period railroad ad that trumpeted the Deutsche Bahn’s storm-resistant resilience, but it also attempted a deeper point: that meaningful politics is serious business, above the fray of such trivial, provincial preoccupations […]

Posted in: Politics, Society and Culture, United States, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Everyone’s Talking About the Weather , , , , ,

Fragments of Memory

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/18534513[/vimeo] How do you document the passage of time, the experience of place? Millefiores Clarkes, a filmmaker from Prince Edward Island, found her answer in the fragments of memory that linger long after something has passed. Last month, when she visited friends and family in Toronto, Clarkes documented her trip with an entry-level Canon DSLR. […]

Posted in: Canada, Video by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , , ,

Tunnel Vision: Subway Zoetrope

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/8207998[/vimeo] Bill Brand’s “Masstransiscipe” installation in New York’s subway I first noticed subway tunnel wall animations in Boston, where the long gaps between stations on the MBTA Red Line provides a captive audience. The animation, composed of dozens of stills that simulated movement as the train zoomed by, was an ad. The message: visit Vermont […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Transportation, United States, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Tunnel Vision: Subway Zoetrope , , , , , , ,

Brick Lane Street Art

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/15673926[/vimeo] It’s right next to the City of London, but the Brick Lane area is everything the financial district is not. It has long been one of the poorest districts of London, notorious for its crime and council housing. It also has an artistic atmosphere and abundant street art that contrasts with the sterile corporate […]

The Industrial City Deconstructed

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/13787210[/vimeo] Détroit: Ville Sauvage (Detroit Wild City), film de Florent Tillon (2010), présente de façon particulièrement poétique et imagée la réversibilité du processus d’urbanisation. Dans le cas très précis de Détroit, il s’agît d’un phénomène directement lié à la baisse de production dans l’industrie automobile américaine et des pertes d’emplois qui sont une conséquence directe […]