Noir Urbanisms

On Art and Aesthetics

Noir Urbanisms: Dystopic Images of the Modern City edited by Gyan Prakash (2010, Princeton University Press)

On September 13, 2016, I published a post on a very intelligent book on urban loneliness called The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by British writer and critic Olivia Laing. The modern city – a set of cells, a concentration of glass and concrete and gneiss – is designed in such a way that it simultaneously exposes and entraps people. It is here that loneliness reaches its apotheosis – in a crowd. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a whole collection of academic essays called Noir Urbanisms: Dystopic Images of the Modern City that examines not only the alienation but also the crisis and catastrophe engendered by the contemporary metropolis. In art – across film and painting and literature – urban landscape is frequently portrayed with a…

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