Vienne en Tramway (Fahrt durch Wien), 1906, Pathé Frères


A Transdisciplinary exploration of Vienna as a cinematic city

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A project of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society (Vienna), in co-operation with D&S (Gustav Deutsch and Hanna Schimek) and the Austrian Film Museum. This project is funded by the WWTF
The project (project start: April 2009, duration: two years) will explore cinematic representations of Vienna - documentaries, newsreels, experimental films - alongside the question of how to define the "City" as an epistomological category. Based on rare materials from the collection of the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna's principal cinematheque, film archive and research institute, the project will develop potentials of inter-textuality and enrich the study of the Cinematic City as a site of cultural memory and as a resource for the study of micro-histories. As a transversal project, it intertwines cultural sciences (urban studies, film studies and analysis) with the practices of conceptual art.
Our project, FILM.STADT.WIEN, has two fundamental goals: to investigate and explore the possibilities of an interface between cultural theory and art production, and to advance our understanding of the city-on-film as a 'living document' of social, cultural and political processes by employing the innovative potentials of this newly developed interface for the creation of emergent scientific knowledge. In order to demonstrate how the City is shaped by film we plan to create a 'map' of Cinematic Vienna. A product of cooperation between researchers and artists, this map is meant to demonstrate models of transdisciplinarity deriving from such fields as cultural hermeneutics, semiotics and iconography.
Furthermore, principles of conceptual art - making research an integral part of the 'work', the taxonomical structuring of bodies of knowledge and artefacts, the spatial notation of temporal processes - will inspire scientific approaches and premises. FILM.STADT.WIEN seeks to mold primary filmic material on Vienna together with theoretical and historical discourses on the city and cinema in order to produce an object that itself allows for repeated and multi-leveled exploration. As a prototype, this map will serve both as a visual guide to the cultural and intellectual heritage of the City of Vienna and as an innovative model of transforming research and theoretical production in urban history and film studies.

In April 2012 the new internet platform Stadtfilm-Wien went online. This online database offers access to around 100 annotated "ephemeral" films from the collections of the Austrian Film Museum and media wien, as well as private collections.


Related publications

Abenteuer Alltag. Zur Archäologie des Amateurfilms is the first German-language publication to give an overview of amateur film research in Europe, presenting essays on topics such as the politics and history, the technology and aesthetics, as well as the bodies and spaces of amateur film.

Siegfried Mattl (1954–2015) was one of Austria's most renowned contemporary historians and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society. His writings on film and history - with a focus on ephemeral films and the city in films - have been published under the title The Radiance of a City.