Ackbar Abbas

Framing the City through Cinema

Lecture given at the conference "Migrating Images"

Ackbar Abbas

Ackbar Abbas

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Globalism not only introduces the new and unfamiliar; it also changes the grids and coordinates by which we understand the old and familiar. The paradox of "modernity" was that the more things change, the more they remain the same; the paradox of globalism is that the more things remain the same, the more they change. The latter is even more of a challenge to spatial experience, as the "the local" is itself dislocated.
Hence the importance of re-examining the forms and functions of the exotic in the global age; to see it not just as the elsewhere or the unknown tout court, but as something more elusive: the unknown-within-the-known, the local that we have no knowledge of.
The "X" in the exotic suggests the figure of chiasmus, just like the "X" in paradoxical urban forms like X-urbanism, or political forms like X-colonialism all of which present a challenge to visuality. Like the devil, globalism is in the details: not the detail that illustrates an argument, but the anomalous detail captured in the images of Asian cinema. By "framing the (Asian) city through cinema", the paper seeks to illuminate these critical crossovers between the global, local and exotic.

Artists / Authors



The House of World Cultures



The House of World Cultures, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin, Germany




, Jan 27, 2004



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