One City Ago

proposal for a web documentary

'One City Ago' is a proposal for a web documentary about the people of Amsterdam in the decade of 1980. Using commentary-free news footage from that period, the site takes the user on a virtual stroll through the media imagery of the era. From massive demonstrations such as the one led by squatters during the inauguration of Queen Beatrix, to unsuccessful and almost forgotten attempts from the municipality to keep the city clean – such as the failed implementation of feces-cleaning motorcycles – these images draw the present of another city, one whose identity emerged from the voice of its citizens rather than the plans of authorities. A city that slowly vanished behind the advent of a new episode of Amsterdam, one of gentrification, tourism and the steady rise of its international community.

The Web interface that makes available the audiovisual archive of One City Ago simulates the principles of a city stroll, wherein a mixture of will and hazardness lead to new discoveries. While watching a scene, users can click on tags that connect to other scenes. The website keeps track of the selections made by users and combines random tags with those which have been chosen the most. This is how, just as an actual stroll when visiting a new place, the platform offers a way to discover Amsterdam through its media imaginary in a casual way, where the path taken by each user is unique and combines personal interests with randomness. Either by actively engaging with the material or passively observing it, the website takes the user on an unguided stroll across passages of daily life in the city.




Country of production
The Netherlands

Pablo Núñez Palma

Web developer and designer
Bram Loogman

Edit consultant and translations
Christina Muller

Sound engineer
Harm van den Berg

Marta Abad Blay

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