Nishant (latelyontime) wrote in arounddecorner,

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Exploring Urban Cultures and Spaces: Session 1

Required Reading: Sigfried Kracuer's "The Hotel Lobby" in The Mass Ornament

A brief summary of the things introduced and discussed in class:

1. The notion of Space:

  • Space as seperate from Place.

  • Space as an imagined construct predicated upon the Place.

  • Space as independent of physical boundaries and located in our imaginations and aspirations.

  • Space as a concept.

  • Another approach to recognising a Space would be in terms of Who has occupied it, who owns/belongs to it and who is expected to occupy it.

  • Space as something that can be imagined and defined depending on the uses it is put to. (The two clips of the roads where the 'public' register changes depending upon the way the roads are used)

2. The binary of the City - Village:

  • The collapse between the notions of the City and the Village.

  • Understanding that our notions of the two are fed and fashioned by several representations of the two in different socio-cultural contexts. (Illustrated by the two audio pieces: One from Bikram Ghosh's Rhythmscape and the other from Remo Fernandez' cover version of Buddha Bar's Flute Fantasy)

  • Identifying the City within the Village and vice-versa.

  • Recognising the visibility of certain factors operative in defining these two spaces.

  • Exploring the possibility of representation at the levels of where the cultural form is produced, who consumes it and where it is circulated.

3. The presence of The Urban and The Rural:

  • Delinking the notions of the Urban and the Rural from the stereotypical ideas of The City and The Village.

  • Consequently, defining the city and the village in terms of what is visible and what is important in defining these two concepts.

4. The Public - Private divide:

  • The collapse of the Public and the Private.

  • The framing of the Private within the Public.

  • The emergence and proliferation of the Public within the sphere of the Private.

  • Marshal MacLuhan's idea: "There is no home to go to"

  • The Philips TV ad: "Staying home was never better."

5. Deconstructing Spaces:

  • To look upon the familiarity of spaces as an edge at deconstructing them.

  • Looking at Kracuer's idea of how The Hotel Lobby serves as a meta world - a metaphor for "a civilisation that is dependent on rationalisation."

  • Identifying spaces as having built the notion of rebellion into them.

  • Looking at rites of initiation, codes of access, protocols of behavioural patterns and the politics of inclusion and exclusion. (illustrated in the movie clip from Rangeela)


  • The first session of the module was expected to raise several questions about what we think of the spaces that we occupy and how we imagine these spaces.

  • The idea that there are certain spaces more visible than the other, that even within the imaginary construct of the city there are certain spaces which are rendered invisible and that there is a certain replication of spaces that happens across the globe with an alarming similarity.

  • To recognise that spaces are not pregiven but constructed and thus spaces can be de-constructed and read in order to see the forces that sustain themselves.

  • To understand that the apparent 'mindset' that people might have about encoutering and accessing spaces might be guided and branded by other forces.

  • To explore the possibility that if we scratch beyond the surface, it is possible to use spaces for speaking of many different issues and pre-occupation.

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