Video Essay, 28 min., 2003


A video essay as part of a series of works on a territory in the periphery of Tokyo defined by the 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” defining spatial figures, alonside which the topic 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 videos 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.