Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
I linked a couple weeks ago to a series of video shorts on Detroit. One of them was a documentary about the city’s techno heritage. The same producer created videos of other techno scenes as well, including the one below of Berlin.
It’s an interesting overview of a slice of Berlin’s famous creative scene, but I wanted to highlight a couple points about it. First, per the video, the thing that originally drew creatives to then West Berlin was a West German law that residents of West Berlin were exempt from compulsory military service. Second, a key catalyst for the explosion of the techno scene was the collapse of the Berlin Wall. This led to a mass exodus from East Berlin that left many abandoned structures with no clear legalities around their ownership or use. The curious and creative Western draft avoiders then went to explore these and ended up creating the techno scene.
I think this is interesting in assessing policies to lure the creative class and what you need to do to support a creative scene. There was no policy to attract creative people to the city. They came on their own to exploit a loophole in a law wholly unrelated to creativity. Once there, they took advantage of cheap, available spaces with few restrictions on what to do, catalyzed by a massive social upheaval.
This suggests the genesis Berlin’s creative environment was an accident that can’t be replicated by others. The one item that seems amenable to copying is cheap spaces with few restrictions. Indeed, this is sort of what we see playing out in Detroit at present. It’s hard for cities perhaps to produce the spaces in the first place, but they can make a choice to keep their hands off when people start experimenting. Detroit did this unintentionally through government incompetence and severe resource constraints. Whether other more capable city governments can resist the urge to intervene is a question yet to be answered. For more thoughts on this, see Detroit as Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier.
Here’s the video: If it doesn’t display for you, click here.
Thursday, July 7th, 2011
I have posted quite a few “city videos” in the course of blogging. These are usually unofficial short pieces, often art projects, and frequently featuring time lapse, tilt shift, or other techniques to produce a very cool “music video” about a particular place. I thought I’d share a compilation of some of the coolest and very best of these today. If you have other suggestions, please post a link as a comment.
A lot of these are high quality uploads that more than justify watching them in full screen mode. Enjoy!
You’ve Got to Love London
This one was an instant classic (if the video doesn’t display, click here).
Le Flâneur (Paris)
Here’s a variant on the time lapse approach (if the video doesn’t display, click here). The creator of this video discussed his techniques over at National Geographic, but alas the post seems to have expired (or I can’t find it).
Little Big Berlin
This is such an incredible video. It doesn’t necessarily beat you over the head with the coolness of the place like the London and Paris videos, but instead gives you slices of everyday life in way that reveals the city to you. Even the classical soundtrack (Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody #2″) is awesome. (If the video doesn’t display click here).
Le Tour de France Grand Départ 2010 (Rotterdam)
This one actually is a promotional video, shot for the Grand Départ of the 2010 Tour de France. But it’s a great video about cycling and Rotterdam generally. This one I particularly love since the music is a delightful original composition by Erwin Steijlen, featuring vocals by Alma Nieto and Steve Balsamo. (If the video doesn’t display, click here).
Inter // States (Tokyo)
This video by Samuel Cockedey isn’t as good as the rest of them on the whole, but if you’re a transport geek like me, you’ll definitely like it (if the video doesn’t display, click here).
New York City
The best of the city videos all seem to be from overseas cities (though interestingly the London and Paris ones were made by Americans). Here are a couple of great New York timelapses, however. First, one from James Ogle (if the video doesn’t display, click here).
And one by Mindrelic called “Manhattan in Motion” (if the video doesn’t display, click here).
A Summer Sped Up (Chicago)
Here’s a reader suggestion that I can’t believe I’ve never seen before since I live in Chicago at present. (If the video doesn’t display for you, click here).
Hope you enjoyed these.
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