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Hawley, S., 2015.

South Home Town: Film and the imaginary city

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Journal of Writing in Creative Practice
Volume/Issue:8 (2)
Pagination:pp. 127-143

2015 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. In December 2014, Steve Hawley exhibited a video installation made with Tony Steyger called Stranger than Known: South Home Town. It was about Southampton's identity on the 50th anniversary of it being granted the title of a city. This article asks how the film can depict the city and uncover its resonance in the unconscious. The great port had been made a city but where did that leave the Southampton of the imagination? The beautiful medieval buildings had been largely erased by the terrible bombings of World War II; the romance and drama of the flying boats of Imperial Airways, not to mention the Mayflower and Titanic, were about transit, about departures and fugue, the flight from the familiar, and not the city's people who were left behind. If the city is not just a collection of buildings and streets and people but also a myth, then what is Southampton's myth? Drawing from the city symphonies of the 1920s, and the new modes of film depiction such as the drone camera and ultra slow motion, the article looks at how the imaginary city is shaped in the minds of transient passengers and those who remain behind.