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Exploring pop-up cinema and the city: Deleuzian encounters with secret cinema’s pop-up screening of The Third Man

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In this article I mobilize Deleuze to explore transformative relationships between filmic and urban space in Secret Cinema’s pop-up screening of Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949). Secret Cinema is a company that turns urban sites into dramatized versions of the films they screen, and this unusual practice of exhibition raises fascinating questions about how film texts and urban sites come into contact. In particular, I respond to two crucial questions that are provoked by Secret Cinema’s ‘immersive’ screening of The Third Man. First, I consider the impact this kind of filmic experience has on ways of seeing the urban, drawing on the Deleuzian concept of the any-space-whatever. Second, I take up Deleuze’s ideas about the out-of-field and its differing functions within the movement-image and the time-image to address how Secret Cinema’s dramatized site of spectatorship reciprocally transforms the meaning of film text and urban space. By addressing these two questions, and with comparative reference to early cinema’s practices of exhibition, I develop a nuanced reading of Secret Cinema’s screening as a co-production of filmic and urban space.
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Keywords: Deleuze; The Third Man; any-space-whatever; film spectatorship; out-of-field; pop-up cinema

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of London

Publication date: 01 March 2016

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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