The film Brilliant City was produced during a stay in Shanghai with D-Fuse as part of the British Council Artist Link Program. The title refers to the name of the location, a residential complex comprised of 25 high-rises in the northern part of Shanghai. It is entirely shot from the 34th floor of one of the buildings and stages a peeping tom view of the surrounding city, capturing everyday activities that can be observed from this vantage point - training soldiers, building activity, traffic, gardening. The camera hovers above the entire panorama and focuses on details in the surrounding urban fabric.The film reacts to a particular visual paradigm, which is well known from strategy and simulation computer games (Sim City, The Sims) as the so called God View.It is the distanced perspective usually taken on by city planners, game players or politicians. In these situations people turn from individuals into patterns of movement and symbolic activity, and the viewer is turned into an accomplice of the visual apparatus and the power relations it signifies.
Brilliant City, 2005, DVD Video, 12 minutes, courtesy of D-Fuse
Concept & Camera: Axel Stockburger, Sound: Mathias Kispert, Still Imagery: Mike Faulkner.