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Invisibility Studies

Surveillance, Transparency and the Hidden in Contemporary Culture


Edited By Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel

Invisibility Studies explores current changes in the relationship between what we consider visible and what invisible in different areas of contemporary culture. Contributions trace how these changes make their marks on various cultural fields and investigate the cultural significance of these developments, such as transparency and privacy in urban architecture and the silent invasion of surveillance technologies into everyday life. The book contends that when it comes to the changing relationship of the visible and the invisible, the connection between seeing and not being seen is an exchange conditioned by physical and social settings that create certain possibilities for visibility and visuality, yet exclude others. The richness and complexity of this cultural framework means that no single discipline or interdisciplinary approach could capture it single-handedly. Invisibility Studies begins this conversation by bringing together scholars across the fields of architectural history and theory, art, film and literature, philosophy, cultural theory and contemporary anthropology as well as featuring work by a collective of artists.
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6 Urban Bottles and Green Glass: Display and Transparencies in Post-Industrial Tuborg


Diversified Visualities

Since the late twentieth century, European industrial areas with harbour facilities have frequently been converted into urban settings in which glass is a major architectural component. Incorporated into the façades of both dwellings and office buildings, glass is often closely connected to positive commercial and lifestyle-related narratives, which focus on the extensive view of the sea, canals, or other aquatic surfaces. Yet glass may also inspire narratives of surveillance that affect the mental and the social spirit of such places, and contradict certain desires for the unmediated urban presence of human beings. After all, glass participates in a new urban or suburban culture, where life is increasingly protected, insulated, or at least mediated by the glass surfaces of houses as well as automobiles. While urban spaces in such coastal or harbour areas are sometimes designed with great care, they are also strikingly vacant, devoid of human bodies, and even hostile to civic encounters. At least, this is the impression frequently reported from a wealthy redeveloped area on the coast just outside Copenhagen – an area whose modes of display and diverse forms of transparency we will explore in the following pages on post-industrial Tuborg.

For more than a century, Denmark’s world-famous Tuborg beer was brewed at a heterogeneous industrial site named ‘Tuborg’, situated on the threshold between the Danish capital, Copenhagen, and the wealthy suburbs up the coast of Øresund. Since the 1980s, brewing activities have been transferred to efficient factories in...

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