TIMECODE- ‘Architecture, Media and Politics’

Owen Hatherley (Writer and Critic)

‘Architecture, Media and Politics’

Wednesday 25 April 2012, 6pm, On Location, National Media Museum

In Lindsay Anderson’s The White Bus, a vehicle carries middle class passengers around to see the parts of the city they usually ignore – factories, council estates, slums. In post-war cinema, the urban landscape of the North of England was intensely explored, as a place undergoing rapid modernisation and change, from the new housing estates of The White Bus to the technocratic new coffins in Billy Liar. By the 1970s, these had become unpleasant if often thrilling dystopias, in films like Get Carter or The Offence; but by the 1980s, in the likes of A Very British Coup, that same landscape could represent a space of resistance. Today, that space is evoked as ambiguous nostalgia, in the likes of This is England ’86 or Red Riding; but there are few attempts to get to grips with the present urban landscape, and the perhaps equally drastic redevelopments of the last decade. This talk will consider a few examples and pose the question of why the contemporary architecture of the UK seems so unappealing for filmmakers.

Owen Hatherley is a regular contributor to Building Design, New Statesman and New Humanist and has also written for The Guardian, Icon, Socialist Worker and Socialist Review. His book A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain was published by Verso in 2010.

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