Urban Visions. Beyond the Ideal City

February 17, 2017
By City Space Architecture

In 2014 City Space Architecture joined the 21st edition of Visioni Italiane/Italian Visions Festival, a well-known Italian film competition promoted by Cineteca di Bologna, a prime centre known globally for film studies, film archives and film restoration. Starting from 1994, the Festival has hosted all those works made by young Italian authors who remain largely invisible, such as short films, documentaries, experimental films, debuts in search of a distribution, providing a place for discussion with other authors and the public. Several film-makers who took part to Visioni Italiane throughout the years are nowadays known nationally and internationally.  

Within the Festival, City Space Architecture promoted a brand new section called Visioni urbane/Urban visions. Beyond the Ideal City: this was a relevant opportunity to develop a research field of activities intended to put urban theory and cinema studies in dialogue and to raise awareness on some contemporary urban issues. The competition brief asked to investigate the existing city, the connections, intersections and urban activities that take place inside it, seen through complex social issues, contexts and human geographies, with an emphasis on human relationships between individuals and to the urban space in which these relations move.

Focusing on the public realm, where public aspects, related to participation, sharing and social practices, mix up with private aspirations, related to individuality, diversity and lifestyles, Urban Visions intended to collect stories of happiness or poverty, success or solitude, compliance or rebellion, beyond the seducing and reassuring shapes of the beautiful, ideal city. Overcoming the stereotypes and well-known images of consumerism, Urban Visions was looking for something that our eyes, deliberately or unconsciously, don’t know or can’t see.

Embedding artists and film-makers in the architectural and design practice is a consistent plus: cinema is the means to overlap cityscapes with mindscapes, engaging the discussion on a different level of interaction and enjoyment, based on feelings, emotions and personal experience, looking for mental fascination and enchantment.  

The reference to films is a tool to open a new perspective, to explore new theoretical paradigms and research methods establishing an effective understanding around urban humanities. This pedagogical approach has been already applied in the past decade in the academic context, through several courses and conference series, and in the professional one as well. Cinema, as the art of narrating spaces and their transformation, is becoming a powerful tool for architects and designers, to describe their work to city managers and to reach the heart of citizens, addressing a kind of meditation of our contemporary life.

(This text is an excerpt from the book "Filming the city")

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1° edition | Visioni Italiane 2015

First prize: Panorama by Gianluca Abbate

Honourable mentions:

Io li ho visti/I saw them by Chiara Zevi and Maria Laura del Tento

A tropical Sunday by Fabián Ribezzo

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Panorama by Gianluca Abbate

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2° edition | Visioni Italiane 2016

First prize: London afloat by Gloria Aura Bortolini

Honourable mentions:

Urban Safary by Sebastiano Caceffo

My little Dhaka by Rossella Anitori

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London afloat by Gloria Aura Bortolini

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3° edition | Visioni Italiane 2017

The award ceremony will take place on March 5, 2017 at Cinema Lumiere in Bologna.

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Read about Urban Visions in the book chapter:

Public life and urban humanities

beyond the ideal city

by Luisa Bravo

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included in

Filming the city, a book published by

Intellect and The University of Chicago Press

2016