CCS – First Lecture

Critical & Contextual Studies

It was the introduction to the year for our first Critical Contextual Studies this afternoon. We started with a lecture on what work we are to produce over the next year. In the talk we were focusing on the city, almost as an object instead of a place.


We commented on the difference in Shanghai over the last 20 years. The difference is huge, in the bottom picture all organic life has been stripped away, no boats are trading on the water, the shades in colour have turned to steel grey/blue (not just because its night time) and the bottom photo to be taken at night its self is a reference to “the city never sleeps”.

We went on to talk about cities in films like Blade Runner, Akira, Drive, Manhattan, Metropolis, The Fifth Element and Batmans Gotham city. These films are so heavily city based that to such an extent the city is a character itself.

We watched a few clips from some of the films I mentioned, the one I haven’t seen before intrigued me the most, the clip was from Manhattan directed and starring Woody Allen. The introduction scene reminded me greatly of the first chapter of the book Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut . Slaughterhouse-5 begins with the author reading to you, and basically saying what he wants to write about, but just the first chapter is very informal and charming. He reads to you in an almost clumsy fashion, which I think, when done well, is fantastic. His casual beginning really draws the reader closer to him as a person, breaking down the walls between author and reader. The opening scene for Manhattan is similar, Woody Allen is speaking out aloud his first drafts for his novel.

So on that basis I have posted a clip here so you can get the feel for what I’m rambling on about.



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