Negativity of the Urban Life: Review on “Urbanalities”

Chris Joseph’s work “Urbanalities” is a series of seven visual pieces that demonstrates the destruction and chaos of urban life.  Each scene in particular targets a certain idea about the city and how people view it to be; along with this, each person have a different aspect of how they view the city.

As I was watching the seven scenes unfold, there were a few scenes in particular that stood out to me specifically the portion with the sniper and the ticking clock scene.  The sniper scene reminded me of a revolution but exclusively the Chilean Coup d’Etat in 1973.  Perhaps my family’s background was an influence on me but as I saw the target moving around the screen it reminded me of the paranoia that occurred during that time.  Anyone could have been killed for doing anything; doing one small thing and you would be dead.  This piece is not relatively old, but other viewers would have a different idea on what the sniper scene could be about.  Another view that could be suggested would be about the amount of crime and corruption that is dwelling in urban settings; how things of violent nature is ignored by the public and there is nothing that could be done about it.

The ticking clock scene was a part of the visualization that ties in with the theme of urban culture, chaos and destruction; where there is no time to reconstruct an establishment of order.  The clock constantly ticking away makes the viewer feel anxious, as if time were wasting away and they have not completed their task and it must be put off until the next day.  The rushing of time reminds me of Canada’s response to vaccinating the country for the H1N1 virus.  Much was said about how prepared we were but with the flu season coming we are quickly running out of time.

Joseph’s work cannot be summed up due to the various scenes that he plays with to portray urban life in an artistic form.  What was enjoyable was the fact that the idea of Dada-ism was highly an influence to the piece.  The strict colours of white, black, red and blue where strung throughout the piece, gave it a sense of disorder but a conservative outlook on the publication, which again reflects the lifestyle of those living in the city.  The idea of Dada is especially enjoyable because of its nature of an idea as a random art form; again, reflects how random urban life is perceived.  The scenes of the moving target and the ticking clock are constant reminders of the fear of the city for it is constantly changing.   The randomness of this work would have particular views for each individual and in this case I had viewed it in a negative fashion.


–Stephanie Moreno


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