12 October 2011

Dive // Contaminated Estimations

During the MA Architecture and Urbanism course (2010-11) at the Manchester School of Architecture students (including myself) produced four films for a one-day interdisciplinary conference at the University of Warwick entitled "The Postmodern Palimpsest: Narrating Contemporary Rome" (held on Saturday 26th February 2011). The call for papers for the conference outlined the following:
Rome is privileged in its relationship with Western history, constructed over layer after layer, from Roman to Fascist ‘empires’: in this sense the city constitutes the urban palimpsest. In postmodernity, the sprawl, the latest metamorphosis of Rome, overlaps with historical images of the capital to form a shapeless and fragmentary identity. The aim of this conference [was] to probe this latest level of the city, to discern the new and the old, and the links and reflections of one onto the other.
Written and direct by Carrie Bayley, Rongxio Han and myself, "Dive // Contaminated Estimations" was our response.

Diagram of the film's trajectory.

Rome is portrayed through the multiple layers that define it as both an ancient and a modern city. First, the historic city is compressed for the hordes of visitors who descend on Rome each day, ignorant to the support systems that allow them this experience. Second, the aesthetically spectacular is replaced with the drama of everyday Rome. The final layer reveals the hidden support systems that work tirelessly to keep the city alive. The postmodern cultural conditions that afflict all cities, caught up in the maelstrom of globalisation, are exposed by forcing the viewer to re-examine the fragile infrastructures upon which their own lives are dependent.

The other films produced were as follows: "Lost in Rome", "Tricolore" and "Is Rome a Modern City?"