Video Essay, 28 min., 2003


A video essay on the calculated production of image-based urbanity. It was produced based on research on a territory in the periphery of Tokyo defined by the total hegemony of a single company and it's politics of image production.


The video work is structured in the rhythm of a train ride from Tama-den en Toshi to Shibuya in the center of Tokyo, with six ”stations” representing specific spatial concepts, alonside which the notion of a "Total Living Industry" - an invisible production of the urban everyday - is developed and discussed.



TOKYU is one of the corporations in the Tokyo-area, which have created a lifestyle industry, that covers almost every aspect of everyday life – from transportation to land development, to culture, to leisure, to education, to television. For this form of market-orientated urbanism, the production of narratives and images is of crucial importance. The city becomes a marketplace of its own history, its event-structure, its imaginary. The success of a developer like Tokyu is based on the quality of an urban sampling, which incorporates existing lifestyles and urban models into a specific local context. In such a kind of "carpet metropolis" architectural styles and lifestyles are combined on a seemingly democratic surface in which complexity is equated with the side-by-side of incommensurable elements – "landscapes of normality". This raises questions about an emerging new kind of modernism, a new definition of the grand narratives of (predominately Western) thought. Controlling the flows of bodies and the circulating images becomes a central question.


The structure of the video is based on the perception and rhythms of a train-ride from the suburbs into the center, where all the elements of TOKYUs visual culture intervene and overlap into the spatial surfaces. It is a visual essay about how space is defined and controlled by the elaborate production of narratives, movements and images and how therefore the ”real” material suburban structure becomes more and more a neatly built, preproduced image of itself.