Making The Modern City Visible: A Study on Montage, Collage and Photomontage

Öztürk, Elif Ezgi
The modern city is formed through the collision of social, cultural, economic, political, artistic, and architectural layers that are heterogenous, temporal, and multiple. The collision of these layers results in the emergence of complexities and contradictions. The complexities and contradictions of the modern city make its visual, experiential, and spatial attributes invisible, imperceptible and unproducible. In this context, reading, understanding, and reproducing the modern city requires a critical method based on movement and temporality to reveal the dialectical relations of overlapping or successive urban images. Therefore, this study proposes montage as the method of making the modern city and its experience visible and intelligible in consideration of Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of montage and Walter Benjamin’s “dialectical image.” For this work, montage unfolds two different aspects. The first aspect addresses the aesthetic shock created by the successive and conflicting impressions that are produced by the modern cities instantly through their multiplicities. And the second aspect considers the modern city as montage of these overlapped multiplicities. In this sense, this thesis is an effort to reveal the traces of montage in modern architecture and urban space, experience, and imagery. As a means of that, works of avant-garde artists and architects in the twentieth century and their engagement with other artistic and visual practices, including film, poetry, theatre, and historiography, are elaborated. In that respect, the thesis also traces the alternative practices, such as collage and photomontage, which cognate with montage methodologically. All these searches problematize the abandonment of these critical and intellectual aspects in architecture and repropose the montage to empower architects towards making the experience of the modern city visible and intelligible, again.


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Citation Formats
E. E. Öztürk, “Making The Modern City Visible: A Study on Montage, Collage and Photomontage,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2022.