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Not a fantasy city: Composition, fotogènia and the reconquesta del real in the theatrical and cinematic land/lang-scapes of Barcelona

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Focusing on the return of the real in contemporary art, the article examines how Lluïsa Cunillé’s play, Barcelona, mapa d’ombres (2004), and Ventura Pons’s 2007 film, Barcelona (un mapa), apprehend the urban landscape as ‘composition’, and how they bring into dialectical relation modes of apprehension and representation traditionally perceived and pitched as ideologically opposed or mutually exclusive. Like modernist art (cubism), these works beget oppositional and counter-hegemonic ways of imagining the urban landscape within what remains ‘the ongoing dominance of the “hegemony” of capital’. As a mode of analysis, composition does not only interrupt the ‘delirious equivalency’ of late capitalist abstraction, but it also becomes a deliberate intervention in self-fashioning and city-making endowed with a political, if not also an ethical, component.
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Keywords: Barcelona; Lluïsa Cunillé; Ventura Pons; film; late capitalism; return of the real; theatre; urban landscape

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Publication date: 01 September 2016

More about this publication?
  • 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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