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Noirscapes: Using the screen to rewrite Los Angeles noir as urban historiography

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Noirscapes is a transmedia experience, and the cameras are rolling. Writing its own version of Los Angeles’ history, Noirscapes is a filmed scholarly discourse that literally drives through the urban environment of the city of Los Angeles constructing a noir historiography. The authors of this article are film-makerresearchers who, as a mode of creative practice research, are using screens and the medium of film to write with, on and for the screen. The premise of Noirscapes is that film noir can function partly as a surrogate history of Los Angeles, so that film noir screens provide written cinematic evidence of the city’s actual as well as imagined history. Noirscapes presents a series of short films that constitute a creative practice research output. Filming and driving across the freeways and boulevards of present day Los Angeles allowed the film-makers to traverse production locations and to discuss their role in urban historiography, as featured through iconic film noirs like Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Chinatown (1974). Noirscapes demonstrates how film-making and spectatorship can be used as complementary research methods that enquire with, on and for the screen.
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Keywords: Los Angeles; film noir; neo noir; practice-based research; spectatorship; urban theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Queensland University of Technology 2: University of Newcastle

Publication date: 01 March 2016

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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