Cassim Shepard: Urban Omnibus

Cassim Shepard produces non-fiction shorts about urban spaces, its inhabitants and landscapes. He is also editor of the online portal Omnibus, which publishes projects and explorations carried out in New York city. Archipielago, the video presented above, is a production of Omnibus for the exhibition The City We Imagined / The City We Made.

His video depicts the daily life of five different New York neighborhoods: Hunts Point, Jamaica, Mariner’s Harbor, Downtown Brooklyn, and Chelsea. Each of these areas has had a radical different development, what generated radically opposed urban landscapes. The video captures in a very subtle way the spatial experience of such places, together with the communities which interact with them every day. A fine portrait of that dialectic process in which community and neighborhood influence and shape each other constantly.

The portal Polis asked Cassim Shepard what inspired him the most:

Taking the subway from Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge every morning never ceases to amaze me. What I love most about living in a dense city like New York is the forced proximity to people unlike myself, with such different life experiences, cultures and perspectives. So I find the systems we’ve created for such a diverse group of people to share, to hold in common, pretty awe-inspiring for a number of reasons. […]

His answer made me instantly recall an striking passage of Henri Lefebvre:

“Community life (comprising general or partial assemblies) does not prohibit class struggle. On the contrary. Violent contrast between wealth and poverty, conflicts between the powerful and the oppressed, do not prevent either attachment to the city nor an active contribution to the beauty of the ouvre. In the urban context, struggles between fractions, groups and classes strengthen the feeling of belonging.”

Two more videos, one of Shangai and one of are Goregaon Railway Bridge in Mumbai, are after the more tag. Via: Polis.