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Film Intervention in Public Space

A Phylogenetic Spatial Change

Abstract

Cinema has taken up the role of a social agent that introduced a variety of images and events to the public during critical times. This paper proposes the idea of using films as a tool to reclaim public space where a sense of belonging and dialogue restore to a meaningful place. During the January 2011 protests in Egypt, Tahrir Cinema, an independent revolutionary project composed of filmmakers and other artists, offered a space in Downtown Cairo and screened archival footage of the ongoing events to the protestors igniting civic debate and discussions. The traditional public space has undergone what Karl Kropf refers to as the phylogenetic change, i.e. form and function that is agreed upon by society and represents a common conception of certain spatial elements. Hence, the framework that this research will follow is a two-layer discourse, the existence of cinema in public spaces, and the existence of public spaces in cinema. Eventually, the paper seeks to enhance the social relationship between society, spaces, and cinematic narration – a vital tool to raise awareness about the right to the city.

Published:
Pages:107 to 122
Section: Art and Activism
How to Cite
Abdel-Ghani, T. (2020) “Film Intervention in Public Space”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(4), pp. 107-122. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v5i4.1384.

Author Biography

Modern Sciences & Arts University
Egypt Egypt

Taher Abdel-Ghani is an urban researcher, a lecturer assistant and an independent filmmaker. His main focus is on analyzing the urban environment through cinematic images, an idea that started in 2012 when he received his B.Sc. in Architecture. After completing his double Masters degree in Advanced Urbanism from Germany and China, he gradually shifted his career from architecture practice to a full-time research work for progrss - an online platform dedicated to innovation, trends and practices in transformation of cities around the world. Currently, he is a lecturer assistant at Modern Sciences and Arts University (MSA) in Cairo, teaching Architecture Design, History of Architecture and Research for Graduation Projects. Alongside his work, he has published several academic papers about the concept of Cinematic Urbanism, in addition to screening some short films in Egypt, Germany, France, Portugal and Italy. His latest film 'Cold Dissent', a 4-minute documentary about inaccessibility in the city of Cairo, received the Best Short Film award at the 2019 Biennale Spazio Pubblico Festival in Rome.

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