Translated title of the contribution: The Camera and the City: Urban Life in Photography and Cinema

Xavier Ribas, Florian Ebner (Curator/Producer), Marta Dahó (Curator/Producer)

    Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


    The experience of the big city is part of the essential nature of our modernity. Throughout the 20th century, the metropolis acted not only as a social stage and political battlefield, but also as a wild playground. This exhibition on the Camera and the City is about the photographers and film makers who recorded, staged and dissected the city as they created different takes on urban life and culture. These narratives capture both the euphoria of the metropolis and the solitude of modern society, as well as conflict, war, reconciliation, protest, change and self-affirmation in the street. There are stories about the rise of the growing city and the melancholy of the shrinking city, encounters with others and the surveillance of citizens in the global village of our digital age.

    Photography, film and video have a remarkable ability to record the pulsations of social life. Although this exhibition in no way aims to be exhaustive, it hopes to reflect the idea that history is driven by social life. Its underlying rhythm alternates between still photographs and moving images. Hold still / Keep going!

    The exhibition also explores the characteristics, differences and similarities be- tween still and moving images, especially the way that still images try to condense a contingent lapse of time into a significant moment, whereas cinematographic montages of sequences tend to synthesise these moments in order to convey a story.

    However, the notion of the “urban camera” goes beyond the purely photo- graphic or cinematographic; it also over- laps with performance in its artistic sense and participation in its political sense, as well as having a fair amount in common with the theatre. More than mere metaphors, the protagonists on the streets and in the images become true actors, with the architecture of the city as their ever-changing stage.

    This is the first time that major works from different collections at the Centre Pompidou —the departments of photography, experimental cinema, new media and the Bibliothèque Kandinsky—have been shown in dialogue with photographs and films from Spanish collections. We hope that this exhibition offers a valuable insight into how the camera helped shape the idea
    of urban life.
    Translated title of the contributionThe Camera and the City: Urban Life in Photography and Cinema
    Original languageSpanish
    Place of PublicationBarcelona
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Càmera i Ciutat. La Vida Urbana en la Fotografia i el Cinema.
    Fundació La Caixa/RM Editorial, Barcelona 2019.
    ISBN: 978-84-9900-251-4 [Cat] / 978-84-17975-05-0 [Cast].


    • Photography
    • Film
    • City
    • histories


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