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Imaginary Apparatus : New York City and Its Mediated Representation (Paperback) (McLain Clutter)
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Imaginary Apparatus: New York City and its Mediated Representation is a book about the relationship between New York and its mediated image. The analysis is rooted in events and policies during the John V. Lindsay Mayoral tenure in New York, from 1966 to 1973. During this period, the city created innovative policy intended to draw on-location media production to New York’s streets. Simultaneously, the New York City Planning Commission and associated offices produced a wealth of documents that reflect conceptual and aesthetic influences of various visual media. The author’s contention is that the effects of these two areas of ambition under Lindsay were richly interrelated. These policies then proved resonant with contemporaneous business developments in film and television production, and emergent cultural attitudes towards media. The first part of this this book describes a relationship between New York City and its mediated representation at the conjuncture of these circumstances, tracing the interrelation of their attendant cultural, economic and aesthetic valences. Thus, the analysis unpacks one story of the conditions through which New York’s mediated representation became imbricated within the city’s apparent physical reality. The second part of this book punctuates the legacy of Lindsay’s policies by analyzing their effects on New York City’s built environment. Planning and urban design initiatives with a connection to Lindsay’s tenure are analyzed and traced to their effects on buildings and urban spaces throughout New York City. Thus, the influence of visual media on New York’s built environment is identified in specific case studies.
Research for the book has involved the collection of a diverse array of sources. McLain Clutter has amassed important materials from archives, including the John V. Lindsay Papers at Yale University, the New York City Municipal Archives, the Gregory Bateson Papers at the University of California Santa Cruz, the Museum of Modern Art archives and others. He has collected and analyzed the text and imagery of a wealth of historic planning documents like the 1969 Plan for New York City and its film-version,What is the City but the People?. He has conducted a formal analyses of media produced as a result of John Lindsay’s policies, and of buildings and urban spaces resultants from the policies of Lindsay’s Planning Commission. Finally, he has personally met and interviewed several individuals who were involved in either media production or Urban Planning/Design during John Lindsay’s mayoral tenure. Together, the materials he has amassed span in register from the rote (such as city taxation documents), to the highly aesthetic (such as several photographic and filmic artifacts). His analysis draws out latent conceptual and material connections between the heterogeneous assemblage of sources he has comp