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Electric Signs

Electric Signs

New screen-based sign systems are putting TV-style advertising into the public domain in cities around the globe. These electronic signs are re-shaping urban environments and re-defining areas of public space by intensifying the commercialization of the public sphere.

In addition to the explosion of screens in public spaces, screens are ubiquitous in work spaces and in people's daily life activities. These seamless, illuminated electronic surfaces are becoming the devices through which we frame our experiences. ELECTRIC SIGNS explores this new screen culture as it unfolds in the global city.

The film's narrator, a city observer modeled on the critic Walter Benjamin, takes us on a journey through a variety of urban landscapes, examining public spaces and making connections between light, perception and the culture of attractions in today's consumer society.

The film is structured as a documentary essay in the spirit of city symphony films, and features footage in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, and other cities around the world. Also featured are interviews with prominent lighting designers; advertising and marketing professionals; urban sociologists and visual culture experts; and community activists.

The filmmakers traveled around the world to collect footage of electronic signs and media facades from cities on four continents. The film captures the beauty and excitement of these illuminated signs while examining their messages, and looks at city life from many perspectives, so as to capture the intensification of urban life amidst the vast spaces beneath the skyscrapers.

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