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Title: De lege stad in de literatuur en fotografie
Subtitle: Van romantische utopie naar modernistische heterotopie
Author(s): JACOBS, Steven , KEUNEN, Bart
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 48    Issue: 2   Date: 2006   
Pages: 173-187
DOI: 10.2143/SDL.48.2.2019426

Abstract :
Usually, the metropolis is associated with kaleidoscopic density. Both the modern novel and street photography celebrate the urban bustle. This essay, however, focuses on the motif of the deserted city that also has been important in various artistic disciplines. In photography, the motif originated from technical limitations but quickly turned into a token of aesthetic sophistication. Often, these pictures played with or were based on aroused associations that were also part of literary urban images. By means of the motif of the empty city, three kinds of critical positions vis-à-vis modernity were developed. First, a romantic hostility to the city, which is interiorised in the city itself. Second, a proto-modernist attitude accepting urbanization and adapting the romantic sublime to modernity. Third, by referring to dreams and hallucinations, the empty city produces a heterotopic alternative to the rationalized spaces of the everyday.

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