Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tales of the City: Our Houses, Our Lives

Still from ‘The Games’, a film by Hilary Powell
Land of Promise (Paul Rotha, 1946) 
If it is true that most of the world's population will be living in cities, then how do we live together? How will we feel? What do buildings do to us? Do we notice? Open City Docs Fest is proud to showcase City Scope, our strand looking at architecture, social housing, responses to the Olympic 'dream', implications of past and future relationships to the environment of the created landscape
We've got the doc Night Shift by Timo Großpietsch looking at different professions toiling in the graveyard hour in Hamburg, Germany. Also, the UK Premiere of Xun Yu's doc looking at the personal story of Grandma Jiang facing the destruction of her home and a 2000 year old community in China to make way for a tourist theme park in The Vanishing Light .
Vanishing Light, Xun Yu
We also have Adam Kossoff's film, Made In Wolverhampton, a brave look at the town-as-subject and framed as a filmic letter from the Director to his girlfriend in Cuba.Via a 'dry voice-over', he explores the melancholia of change in its post-industrial identity. From the perspective of the flaneur, it piles up layers of humour, history and quotation to explore memory, space and image, taking in free-wheeling connections with Norton bikes, Ché Guevara, Poundland, Galileo and a dude who lives on a roundabout. Typically English, then. Put Wolverhampton in your mind's eye here.

Open City Docs opens tonight with mechanical diggers that read sign language in 'Il Capo'. We're gratified to continue this theme with magical diggers that dance with people at the London Premiere of Anotoine Viviani's doc, Institu. This is a poetic essay about urban space in Europe, depicting artistic eruptions; monumental, secret or magical, each trying to breathe life back and transform our city-eye view of mundane things into something radical. Secrets of beauty can be bought here.
It is all about cultural activist interventions at Open City HQ. We're awesomely glad to work with Fugitive Images to present 'Estate' about radical change at the Haggerston Estate, Hackney. This looks at community identity and public architecture and the 20th Century utopias of social housing planning. Imagined perfection from the past is always intriguing. Contributer Andrea Luka Zimmerman will present an illustrated talk. Imagine you are in Hackey .
Artists, writers, film makers, academics, photographers and activists intervene in the dominant discourse, language and images of regeneration and the Games. The Art of Dissent: Adventures in London’s Olympic State, edited by Hilary Powell and Isaac Marrero-Guillamón 
The minor sporting event London also seems to be hosting alongside Open City Docs Fest is also known as the Olympics. No shortage of controversy, the impact it has on the city is more than psycho-geographical. Curated by Hilary Powell this screening of films on Olympic regeneration project look at subversions of the site/dream following on from the book “The Art of Dissent: London’s Olympic State” (published June 2012). Get your ticket for front row dissent here.
Its hard to predict a London in 2062.  London 2062 - What is the House, What is the City of the Future?  will look particularly at the housing crisis. This includes a screening of Paul Rotha’s 1946 film Land of Promise. We'll have a screening and discussion with Mark Tewdwr Jones (The Bartlett, author of Urban reflections narratives of Place, Planning and Change), Lucy Musgrave (Director of Publica) and Patrick Russell (Senior Curator BFI). Promise us you'll be in London in 2062 here.

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