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Asphalt Shorts I

On Friday, August 8th, 2003 CITY|SPACE presented a program of seven short films on cities and urbanism selected by CITY|SPACE and projected on a parking lot wall in Downtown Oakland. Using the internet and word of mouth, CITY|SPACE was able to draw more than three hundred people to the event, creating an urban experience far beyond the film screening. Participants brought beach chairs and picnics, creating a spontaneous and festive public space in a district that is typically bleak and unpopulated after dark. Passersby stopped to watch-some briefly from the sidewalk, some visibly drawn in for the whole program.

The program was selected to highlight the wide range of perspectives filmmakers bring to the urban landscape. All filmmakers that could be reached gladly donated their work, and several attended. Films were both funny and serious, both challenging and accessible, and visually and stylistically diverse, but each trained its eye on the city as a physical, social and cultural habitat. The program was punctuated by witty excerpts from William Whyte's classic "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces," drawing attention to the space created by the event.

The parking lot was chosen for its relationship to the surrounding cityscape. Its high walls and intimate scale provide a degree of enclosure and intimacy, but it also gives directly onto Broadway, and the skyscrapers of Downtown Oakland soar dramatically overhead.

Asphalt Shorts' eclectic program and unique urban venue worked together to serve CITY|SPACE's project: the exploration and reinvigoration of our relationship to urban places.

Click HERE to view the invitation.

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