Title

City.Text.

Date of Award

2015

First Advisor

Bernard Rodgers

Second Advisor

Wendy Shifrin

Abstract

The early 20th century marked a great turning point in city life around the world. Technologies developed during the industrial revolution allowed for the construction of apartment buildings, department stores, printing houses, and railroads on a scale that had never been seen before. In this shifting culture, an antagonism emerged between man's individuality and his identity as a member of the crowd. As Georg Simmel acknowledges in his The Metropolis and Mental Life, “the deepest problems of modern life flow them the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence.” Two authors stand out in the attempt to capture this changing dynamic in their recognition that the city had become a character itself. Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz and Andrei Bely’s Petersburg each capture this moment with exceptional vivacity. Through each of these novels, a complex and multi-layered vision of space within the modern city emerges. Drawing on this spatial architecture, the performance of City.Text. seeks to ask how this sense of space might be recreated through an act of choreography. By representing thematic moments common to each novel, the choreography takes on the task of stripping the modern city itself from recognizable site specific components in order to recreate the special reality of modern city in its most elemental form.

Comments

Ask at the Alumni Library Circulation Desk for the companion DVD.

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