The Urban Communication Reader III
11 Origami Urbanism amid the Flat City: An Omnitopian Analysis of Commercials Depicting Mutability in Urban Life
Flat Urbanism: An Origami Counterpoint
Origami Urbanism amid the Flat City
An Omnitopian Analysis of Commercials Depicting Mutability in Urban Life
Andrew F. Wood1
This chapter analyzes a genre of television commercials recognizable for their invocation of origami urbanism, a process through which viewers are trained to imagine themselves as producers, not mere consumers, of their circumstances by their idealized interactions with editable urban environments. Origami urbanism reflects a broader reification of the modern project, epitomized initially by the Haussmannization of the medieval world into the Victorian flat city and perfected in the 20th century through that era’s world’s fairs and international exposition, and subsequently through more subtle enclosures of ideology and human interaction, which the author labels omnitopia. Four components of the omnitopian enclave, a structural and perceptual enclave whose apparently distinct locales convey inhabitants to a singular place, are relatively well defined: dislocation, conflation, fragmentation, and mobility. However a fifth, mutability, requires further explication. This chapter, therefore, examines origami urbanism in order to provide a more nuanced analysis of mutability through the analysis of two dyads: thought/action, in which the internal mind appears to act upon the external world, and private/public, by which one may occupy that world with one’s solitary concerns. Reading communicative cities as increasingly enclavic, the chapter argues that the modern project is no longer authored in an institutional sense, but is instead reinforced through individual tactics of resistance that affirm our collective alienation from agency and each other. ← 215...
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