MCA Talk: The City Between Image and Fact



Implicit in artists’ and designers’ proposals for representing the mid-century city was the constructive possibility of disciplining audiences to adopt visual habits and finely tuned mental images that would impose a coherent order on the city. Subsequently, the impulse to image the environment, or to project an orderly system onto a disordered world, was criticized for substituting high modernist images for the facts. In opposition to earlier image-centered proposals, artists and designers aimed to “dead pan” (to borrow a term from Denise Scott Brown) or objectively represent the city. Yet, as air tight as these competing positions once seemed, we can now deduce more supple intersections where the city is irreducibly suspended between image and fact. As the first in a two-part panel discussion, this roundtable introduces examples from photography, film, advertising, and art that examine the city as a point of overlaps and interactions between imageability and facticity.

The talk includes a discussion with Amy Beste, director of public programming for the department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Greg Foster-Rice, associate professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago; and Orit Halpern, Associate Professor of Strategic Hire in Interactive Design in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Moderating the discussion is Michael Golec, chair of the Art History, Theory, and Criticism department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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