Leonardo: Spectacle of Property

By Jan Baetens

Spectacle of Property (John David Rhodes)Film as a medium has been associated with a wide range of other social practices and technological innovations, such as window-shopping (see Anne Friedberg’s 1993 Window Shopping) or railroad (see Lynne Kirby’s 1997 Parallel Tracks: The Railroad and Silent Cinema). In all these cases, however, there is an almost ontological link between the camera and the other cultural form or technology: railroad tracks and celluloid strips, screen watching and stopping in the streets to watch window displays. The project that John David Rhodes elaborates in this book is much less self-evident and therefore much more challenging and stirring. By bringing together the world of cinema and the world of private houses (Spectacle of Property addresses the architecture of the individual house, not that of the office building or the skyscraper), he succeeds in producing new ways of looking both at cinema and at houses – all of this in the larger context of the constructing and experience of new spaces as well as the attempts to maintain no longer viable forms of living and to anticipate the housing and looking forms of tomorrow.

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