Class 4.13: Manufactured Landscapes

Reminder! Manufactured Landscapes, a terrific documentary on photographer Edward Burtynsky’s work in China, will be screened in the classroom tomorrow (with Kasia’s help – thanks to Kasia). It will start at 6 and will last 90 minutes.

You’ll find the film powerfully segues from what Barthes called the stuff of alchemy into our fast-approaching conversations about e-waste (see e-waste team’s provocations for you below!). Also from your reading last week, here is Jeffrey Meikle on plastics and the information age: “Computer housings, electronics components, automobile interiors, and high-tech sports equipment – not brittle polystyrene toys – pervaded the experience of the 1980s generation… Despite an improving reputation, however, most people… identified the era not with plastic but with information, with devices for recording, storing, reproducing, and manipulating sounds, words, and images. Though physically sheltered by the built environment, people found their emotions and thoughts ever more simulated by immaterial experiences. Even the plastics that facilitated these synthetic experiences by means of film, tapes, discs, and coatings receded from view and from consciousness” (8).

Enjoy the film! Class will not be meeting 4.20 – please use the time for your case studies – and we will resume 4.27 with e-waste. I’ll be keeping up with online discussions and urban research from afar and will see everyone 4.27.

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1 Comment»

  cindypound wrote @

was great to watch this movie for a second time…after an almost full semester of discussion around waste of all kinds…there was a lot revealed in terms of material circulations and waste, wasted landscapes, the spatial implications of development and its by products, lives wasted by development, toxins, labor, etc.

seems like in general there was a feeling that the film got a bit too broad/unfocused at the end, perhaps expanding a bit beyond its ability to effectively comment in a focused way about its topic…specifically when we got to shanghai and started looking at development projects, social disparities, generational attitudes…..

personally i think the film was strongest when it remained anchored to burtynsky’s work directly, which it sort of digressed from in the end.

thanks for arranging this screening….!


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