An Urban Sprawl Thinking Piece is a visual collage commenting on the growth and devastation of urban living that is dependent on an increasingly limited natural resource - oil. Beginning with footage proclaiming the miracle of science in developing a successful economy through exploration and discovery, Carlson tracks the gradual deterioration and disillusionment of the American dream in the ‘50s, the decline of social civility within cities, and the waste of farmland, air and water.
Footage used is recycled from the Prelinger Archives, an "ephemeral" collection of films free to use under the “copy-left” creative commons agreement. Music in the short is from independent artists or older pieces also designated as creative commons. The result is an eclectic montage of fast-paced images, providing a mockery on the consumerist fads of the 1950 and 60s and demonstrating the harsh reality of an oil-based economy and western way of living.
The main pace of the film is reinforced by music, a rabic techno score supplied by independent artists and collected pieces from the public domain. The rapid fire images and sound reinforce the pervading theme of the film which condemns consumerist fads while demonstrating the challenges inherent in an oil-based economy.
However, the short does end on a happy note: displaying alternative energy resources, more efficient ways of city planning and evoking a feeling that positive change can be effected.
An Urban Sprawl Thinking Piece has screened at:
Calgary, AB, The herland feminist film festival, 2006
Edmonton, AB, The Metro Cinema, January 12th, 2005 with the End of Suburbia
Calgary, AB, The Uptown Stage and Screen., April 18th, 2005
both screenings it accompanied The End of Suburbia
Selected as part of Alberta’s Prairie Tales 2005, yearly screened collection of Alberta film and video art
An Urban Sprawl Thinking Piece Review:
Thinking Admist Urban Sprawl, Grant Poier, Published in Found in Translation, AMAAS