Home List of Titles The city as found object: representations of the phantasmagoric city in popular culture
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/230167
- The city as found object: representations of the phantasmagoric city in popular culture
- Bainbridge, Jason
- In 1963 Pierre Boulle published his novel La Planete de Singes, which was translated in 1964 as Monkey Planet by Xan Fielding and later formed the basis of Twentieth Century Fox's Planet of the Apes media franchise (commencing in 1968). One of the major differences between Boulle's novel and the films it inspired was the idea that this 'planet of the apes' was in fact the Earth. Here, Walter Benjamin's metaphor of city-as-jungle is literalised, appearing as a series of broken and/or submerged found objects that form some of the most potent images in the films. In this way the urban simultaneously becomes a scene of trauma, a site of nostalgia and a source of yearning for the stability that modernity (previously) provided. In the wake of The Planet of the Apes, this idea of city as found object in a post-holocaust world becomes a recurring trope in popular culture, resonating in comic books like Kamandi, The Last Boyan Earth (1972), science fiction cinema like Logan's Run (1976), cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian (1980) and children's toylines of the 1980s like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1982). Drawing on the work of Benjamin, David Frisby and Ben Highmore, this paper explores the 'metaphorical materialism' (to borrow Frisby's term) of these representations of the city. It traces how the city is experienced as an object of longing and repackaged as a commodity to be owned and (individually and privately) explored.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Paper presented at the Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2012 Conference, Paris, France, 02-06 July 2012
- Publication year
- Benjamin, Walter (1892-1940); Cities; Found object; Phantasmogoria; Popular culture
- Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2012.