Post-Pop, Cinematic City

While digging for that photo of Tokyo, I’ve come across other memorabilia from the trip I took 15 years ago, including some incredible postcards of the Japanese megalopolis long before the familiar urban sights we got used to.

These images bring us to a time much before our perception of Tokyo was redone over and over again, not only by the city’s renewal, but also by films such as Lost in Translation or, even more quintessentially, Wim Wender’s Tokyo Ga.

Such urban portraits go back to a time that is closer to that of the Japanese film director which Wenders celebrated in his docufilm: Yazujiro Ozu and his sceneries and visions of the particular post-war moment when a whole tradition quickly turned to the lure of Western values.

Curiously, it was Tokyo that ended up creating the image towards which Western cinematic megalopolis were soon to be drawn, like it happened in the sets and urban conception of Blade Runner‘s Los Angeles.

Now, welcome the mediated manga city, as represented by Takashi Murakami’s installation and related Kirsten Dunst video at the Pop Life exhibition recently held at Tate Modern.

As I’ve written a couple of years ago, one may predict that architecture is going “pop!” – as Slade Architecture + Korea-based MASS Studies early comer Dalki Theme Park – thus clearly announcing Venturi’s revenge.

With all these cinematic references, and at a moment in which architectural blogs readdress the quite meaningful relationships between cinema and architecture – like it is happening most interestingly in Boiteaoutils’ series on Heterotopias in Cinema, but also in Plataforma Arquitectura – I can’t but inevitably be reminded how my own way into architecture was paved by a strong passion for film and its ways of seeing.


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