De lege stad in de literatuur en fotografie : van romantische utopie naar kritische heteretopieDe lege stad in de literatuur en fotografie : van romantische utopie naar kritische heteretopie
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Research Centre for Visual Poetics
Spiegel der letteren. - Antwerpen
47(2006):2, p. 173-188
Usually, the metropolis is associated with kaleidoscopic density. Both the modern novel and street photography celebrate the urban bustle. This essay, however, focuses on the motif of the deserted city that also has been important in various artistic disciplines. In photography, the motif originated from technical limitations but quickly turned into a token of aesthetic sophistication. Often, these pictures played with or were based on aroused associations that were also part of literary urban images. By means of the motif of the empty city, three kinds of critical positions vis-à-vis modernity were developed. First, a romantic hostility to the city, which is interiorised in the city itself. Second, a proto-modernist attitude accepting urbanization and adapting the romantic sublime to modernity. Third, by referring to dreams and hallucinations, the empty city produces a heterotopic alternative to the rationalized spaces of the everyday.