Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Saving Metropolis: Body and City in the "Metropolis" Tales
Lawrence Bird
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Thesis Supervisor
Alberto Pérez-Gómez
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Thomas Lamarre, Ricardo Castro
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
History & Theory of Architecture
Languages Familiar to Author
English, French, Japanese
URL where full thesis can be found
Body, City, Cinema, Media, Architecture, Urban, Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty
Abstract: 200-500 words
The image of the destruction of the city and of bodies at its center has a long history, and resonates disturbingly with current events. It seems to question the very possibility of creating an architecture – that is, of giving the world a form and thereby a meaning. This thesis charts mutations of that imagery as it emerges in three visual narratives punctuating the last century: the Metropolis tales. These are Fritz Lang's film of 1926, Tezuka Osamu's manga or graphic novel of 1949, and the 2001 work of anime or Japanese animated film by director Rintarô. The thesis argues that the imagery projected in these different forms of media articulates a precarious and problematic modern relationship of the city and the body to their image. The thesis makes this argument by drawing on the work of Gilles Deleuze and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. It argues that the seeming instability of the condition articulated in disrupted bodies and cities is a more faithful reflection of the fundamental human anxiety reflected in myth, and the more foundational destructuring involved in our perception and making of the world, than any whole and healthy body, than any utopia. It calls for an architecture based on this, and a mediated image of architecture which speaks of ambiguity, contradiction, and a complex humanity.