Outside In

NYCxDESIGN, Van Alen Institute

This screening event drew on a range of cinematic approaches to examine links between environment, sensory experience, and well-being. The selected films took the audience on a journey through varied urban landscapes—from the density of Times Square to the sublime views of San Francisco, from digital mines in contemporary Ghana to the instant cities of contemporary China—offering poignant observations on the visual and sonic stimuli around us.

The screening was followed by a discussion with Paul Dallas, writer and curator; Jeff Risom, Partner, Head of Gehl Institute at Gehl Architects; Sukhdev Sandhu, Associate Professor of English, Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University; and Mabel Wilson, Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation.

Films (curated by Paul Dallas):

45 7 Broadway  (Tomonari Nishikawa, 2013, 5 min): A mini city symphony that provides a visual analogue to the sensory overload of contemporary Times Square.

A Cinematic Study of Fog in San Francisco  (Andy Black and Sam Green, 2013, 13 min): A whimsical study of one of San Francisco’s defining features is an existential inquiry into the ways natural phenomena dramatically affect mood and our sense of place.

Lettres du Voyant  (Louis Henderson, 2013, 40 min): This documentary-fiction hybrid set in contemporary Ghana traverses the mining of underground mineral deposits and mining of data from electronic waste to uncover hidden geographies across post-colonial, digital and urban space.

The Human Scale  (Andreas Dalsgaard, 2012, 56 min): Visiting cities in Europe, Asia and the United States, this wide-ranging documentary explores the influential ideas of Danish architect and planner Jan Gehl, known for his study of human behavior in cities, to consider how design can account for our perception of scale and its profound influence on individual and collective well-being.


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