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TU Berlin

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Laura Frahm

Lupe


Dissertation

Metropolis in Transformation: Filmic Topologies of the Metropolis in the 20th Century

Spatial concepts are omnipresent in current fields of research, which leads to the commonly uttered statement, that the category of space has a 'renaissance'. Especially in the field of Cultural Studies, scholars are trying increasingly – proclaiming the 'topographical' or the 'spatial turn' – to trace back cultural phenomena to spatial structures, that is, to analyze these cultural phenomena in terms of spatial parameters.

With this in mind, my PhD project seeks to examine the spatial constructions of the filmic metropolis during the 20th century. The hypothesis is that these specific spatial constructions can be defined by means of the concept of topology. For topology – in mathematical terms – has a radically open notion of space, it potentially includes n-dimensions of space and thus differs significantly from other currently discussed spatial concepts. Topology doesn't describe a static production of space, but rather the dynamic process of spatial production.

This dynamic process particularly becomes crucial, when we talk about filmic spaces as genuinely moving spaces; for topology is able to describe spaces, which are by no means compatible with three-dimensional, Euclidian space. As topology examines spaces by means of transformations, it provides the opportunity to define the moving spaces of film as spaces of transformation and at the same time to focus on the specific modes of transforming the metropolis within different films.

Since it is not possible to survey the whole development of the filmic metropolis in the 20th century, I will focus on three different genres in an exemplary way: on city documentaries of the 1920s (e.g. Berlin. Symphony of a City, Ruttmann, 1927), on film noir of the 1940s/50s (e.g. The Naked City, Dassin, 1948) and on episodic films of the 1980s/90s (e.g. Night on Earth, Jarmusch, 1991). Using the topological approach, on the one hand I will analyze in which way the metropolis – like Berlin, New York and Los Angeles – are composed out of different spaces. I will examine how these spaces are transformed into abstract images within these three genres, so that they immediately evoke a certain metropolis or a certain notion of the 'metropolitan'. On the other hand I will ask how the different filmic images of the metropolis are exchanged between the genres, that is to say, between city documentaries, film noir and episodic films, how these imaginary spaces become more and more independent from their genre context and thus themselves become objects of filmic reflections.

Curriculum Vitae

2007
Visiting Scholar, Columbia University (Department of Germanic Languages) and New York University (Tisch School of the Arts, Cinema Studies), New York City

2005 - 2007
DFG-Fellow of the Transatlantic Graduate Research Program Berlin – New York „History and Culture of Metropolis in the 20th Century“
PhD project „Metropolis in Transformation: Filmic Topologies of the Metropolis in the 20th Century“

1998 - 2004
University of Cologne
Graduate in Theatre, Film and Television Studies, History of Art and Spanish 

SS 2003
Final thesis „Spatial Configurations in Music Videos. Analysis of Case Studies of the 90's“ 

WS 2001/02
Universidad de Málaga, Spain
Exchange semester with the program Erasmus              
Academics: Audio-Visual Communication, Film Studies and History of Art

Publications, Presentations etc.

MONOGRAPHS AND EDITIONS

(2007) Bewegte Räume. Zur Konstruktion von Raum in Videoclips von Jonathan Glazer, Chris Cunningham, Mark Romanek und Michel Gondry. Frankfurt/M.: Peter Lang Verlag (= Studien zum Theater, Film und Fernsehen, Bd. 44).

(2005)   mit Claudia Liebrand, Irmela Schneider und Björn Bohnenkamp (Hg.): Einführung in die Medienkulturwissen­schaft. Münster: Lit Verlag (= Einführungen: Kulturwissenschaft, Bd. 1).

ARTICLES
 
(2006), „Raumspektren der modernen Großstadt in Kurt Weills amerikanischer Oper Street Scene“, in: Stefan Weiss/Jürgen Sche­­bera (Hg.): Street Scene. Der urbane Raum im Musiktheater des 20. Jahrhunderts. Münster: Waxmann (= Veröffentlichungen der Kurt-Weill-Gesellschaft Dessau, Bd. 6), S. 23-35.

(2005), „Relativistische und relationale Körperräume: Beobachtungen zur Veränderung von Raum und Körper in der Medienkunst“, in: Nicole Kallwies/Mariella Schütz (Hg.): Mediale Ansichten. Marburg: Schüren, S. 105-113.

(2005)   mit Lutz Ellrich: „Wissenschaft“, in: Liebrand et. al. (Hg.): Einführung in die Medienkulturwissenschaft. Münster: Lit Verlag, S. 9-23.

(2005)   mit Nikolaus Wegmann: „Medientheorien – Einführung“, in: Liebrand et. al. (Hg.): Einführung in die Medienkulturwissenschaft. Münster: Lit Verlag, S. 51-61.

(2005)   mit Wilhelm Voßkamp: „Gattung/Genre/Format“, in: Liebrand et. al. (Hg.): Einführung in die Medienkulturwissenschaft. Münster: Lit Verlag, S. 257-269.


ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES AND PRESENTATIONS

Since 2007
Editorial Assistant for the series 'Studies on Theater, Film and Television', edited by Renate Möhrmann, Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.

10/05
GSU Graduate Research Conference, Konstanz
Lecture: "Topologies. Interrelations between the Metropolis and Film"

03/05
18th Colloquium of Film and Television Studies, University of Mannheim
Lecture: „Video Art – Interactive Art – Net Art. Changing Concepts of Body and Space in Media Art“

03/05
Symposium of the Kurt Weill Festival 2005, Dessau
Conceptual design of the symposium and lecture: „Metropolis between Utopia and Dysotpia: Dimensions of Space in Kurt Weill’s American Opera Street Scene“

03/04
17th Colloquium of Film and Television Studies, University of Hamburg
Lecture: „Spatial Configurations in Music Videos“

02/04
Symposium of the Kurt Weill Festival 2004, Dessau
Conceptual design of the symposium and lecture: „Street Scene: Heterotopias and Non-Places in Metropolitan Space“

03/04 - 12/04
University of Cologne, Department of History of Architecture
Graduate Assistant of the project „Digital Historical Map of Cologne“ in cooperation with the Latin-Germanic Museum Cologne; activities: land registers of Cologne in 1938 and 1948, local plan of Cologne around 1250.

08/00 - 12/03
University of Cologne, Department of History of Architecture
Student Research Assistant; activities: scan and slide office, Prometheus (digital picture library), tutorials: editing and presenting images

Zusatzinformationen / Extras

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