What is Cinema?, similar to Venue of Projection, investigates the architectural and urban parameters of the public reception of cinematic imagery in order to study the reciprocity between the ways in which the medium depicts the city and the ways in which the city accommodates cinematic depictions of itself. The focus of this project is precedent analysis, specifically the uncovering of archaeological evidence of the spatial grammar of projection in the city. Since the emergence of cinema in the late nineteenth century, architectural typologies of moviegoing have transformed the public sphere, similar to how arcades altered the physical and social fabric decades earlier. A special interest is the dialog between formal and informal (or commercial and alternative) practices of dissemination, especially its roots in the 1920s. The dissolution of architectural models of media dissemination in the contemporary city and new media’s infiltration into unexpected venues seem to mirror the historical avant-garde’s alternative practices of urban engagement. In comparison to the movie palaces addressed by Sigfried Kracauer in his critique of the Berlin bourgeoisie, the cinematic venues of the avant-garde occupied the city in a relatively transient manner. Johann Friedrich Geist’s analysis of a particular sector of the public realm in Arcades: The History of a Building Type (MIT Press, 1985) inspires this consideration of the spatial hierarchies of moviegoing. The goal is to interrogate how a complex media apparatus may simultaneously depict and inhabit the built environment. What is Cinema? began accidently in 1990 as a photographic essay on the multiple small cinemas that inhabit the fabric of Paris. It is now being developed into a rigorous archaeological investigation that engages analytical drawing, photography, and videography, as well as a survey of historical and theoretical texts. More images coming soon.

over under throughdubrovnikurban exquisurban chiasmus overground
radiant citythe wrong line • ostkreuz-westkreuzwhat is cinema?