UCL Urban Laboratory


The Ailing City: Memory and Lament in Remembrance (Muisteja)

02 June 2016, 6:00 pm–9:30 pm

The Ailing City: Memory and Lament in Remembrance (Muisteja)

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Keynes Library, Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Cities are modernity's ever-changing hubs of people, architectures and culture. Time and time again, the intense urban environment has been perceived as causing sickness or influencing the experiences of illness. The metaphorical rhetoric of disease has also been applied to unwanted transformations of city architecture and culture.

Organised by the Ephemeral Cities Research Group, the screening series "The Ailing City" explores how film engages with (and reflects) illness and perceptions of sickness and health in urban space. Over the course of five Thursday evenings in May and June 2016, we will explore bodily illness, states of mind, and urban decay and rejuvenation through film.

Peter von Bagh's essay film Remembrance (Muisteja, 2013) meditates on the small Finnish city of Oulu. As von Bagh recalls his childhood in the city, he highlights the city's material, economic and social changes. We find that the city constantly slips away from us with time and its diminishing fabric. The film plays with nostalgia to comment on the well-being of the city and its residents. 

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The screening will be followed by an interdisciplinary discussion with the architect and critic Phil Pawlett-Jackson, and Neil McGlone, a film critic, researcher, and advisor.

A wine reception will follow the discussion. The series is generously supported by the IAS-Octagon Research fund.

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