This first lecture outlines a number of global contexts within which later issues and debates will be sited. It discusses how our world is moving from being a global village to being an urban globe. It highlights how for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities. This new urbanization raises issues around resources, poverty, governance and social justice. It asks us to question the future of the city and whose interests it will represent.
The city module aims to help you to develop your photographic practice by placing it in the context of the issues and debates that underpin the contemporary urban environment. Through a series of lectures, screenings, site visits and seminars it will outline the social, economic and cultural factors that underlie the modern city. The module will critically explore the ideas and practices that photographers have employed when engaging with the built environment and assess their contribution to our understanding and experience of the urban. It will ask you as participants to enquire into the city, its possible futures and the potential role(s) of photography in its representation and development.
The City beckons us. It calls us into its streets. It draws us into its arenas of glass and metal. It whispers to us to explore its darkened alleys and deserted ruins. Its sirens coerce us to leave the quiet of our homes to wander its temples of consumption and liquid imagery. It is here that we search; it is here that we seek to find its heart. Welcome to the Urban Age.
Key terms: World City / Global City, Megacities, Mobilities