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Seeing from Above
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The view from above, or the 'bird's-eye' view, has become so ingrained in contemporary visual culture that it is now hard to imagine our world without it. It has risen to pre-eminence as a way of seeing, but important questions about its effects and meanings remain unexplored. More powerfully than any other visual modality, this image of 'everywhere' supports our idea of a world-view, yet it is one that continues to be transformed as technologies are invented and refined. This innovative volume, edited by Mark Dorrian and Frederic Pousin, offers an unprecedented range of discussions on the aerial view, covering topics from sixteenth-century Roman maps to the Luftwaffe's aerial survey of Warsaw to Google Earth. Underpinned by a cross-disciplinary approach that draws together diverse and previously isolated material, this volume examines the politics and poetics of the aerial view in relation to architecture, art, film, literature, photography and urbanism and explores its role in areas such as aesthetics and epistemology. Structured through a series of detailed case studies, this book builds into a cultural history of the aerial imagination.
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Table of Contents

> List of Figures > Acknowledgements > List of Contributors > Introduction/Mark Dorrian and Frederic Pousin 1. Intimate Communiques: Melchior Lorck's Flying Tortoise/ Marina Warner 2. The Meaning of Roman Maps: Etienne Duperac and Antonio Tempesta/Michael Bury 3. Thomas Baldwin's Airopaidia, or the Aerial View in Colour/Marie Thebaud-Sorger 4. European Cities from a Bird's-eye View: The Case of Alfred Guesdon/Jean-Marc Besse 5. Nadar's Aerial View/Stephen Bann 6. Transfiguring Reality: Suprematism and the Aerial View/ Christina Lodder 7. Aerial Views and Cinematism, 1898-1939/Teresa Castro 8. 'The Domain of Rrose Selaby": Dust Breeding and Aerial Photography/David Hopkins 9. The Aviator and the Photographer: The Case of Walter Mittelholzer/Olivier Lugon 10. From the Sky to the Ground: The Aerial View and the Ideal of the Vive Raisonee in Geography during the 1920s/Marie-Claire Robic 11. The Figure from Above: On the Obliqueness of the Plan in Urbanism and Architecture/John Macarthur 12. The City Seen from the Aeroplane: Distorted Reflections and Urban Futures/Nathalie Roseau 13. Vectors of Looking: Reflections on the Luftwaffe's Aerial Survey of Warsaw, 1944/Ella Chmielewska 14. The Aerial View and the Grands Ensembles/Frederic Pousin 15. Robert Smithson and Aerial Art/Gilles A. Tiberghien 16. On Google Earth/Mark Dorrian > Index

About the Author

Mark Dorrian holds the Forbes Chair in Architecture at the University of Edinburgh and is Co-Director of the art, architecture and urbanism atelier Metis.

Reviews

Flying became possible because it was imagined. This is what a history of seeing from above discloses: we visualised angelic mobility before we could design it. In this fascinating collection the open eye of Google Earth retains at its vanishing point a turbulent history of self-elevation... An extraordinarily timely survey of earth from the sky, full of virtuosic new insights, ethical as well as aesthetic implications, and not without its share of vertigo.' - Paul Carter, author and artist 'This book brings out aeriality's multiple dimensions with such force that by the end one feels that - despite our imprisonment to gravity - we really live not on the earth, but at the bottom-most layer of a vast exospherical mirror filled with everything that makes us human.' - Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT 'This remarkable collection of richly illustrated essays... will become a landmark for any scholar interested in the field of visual culture.' - Vincent Piveteau, Director, Ecole Nationale Superieure de Paysage de Versailles 'In its mapping of what has become our defining world picture, this is truly explication in excelsis.' - Steven Connor, Grace 2 Professor of English, University of Cambridge

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