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Louise Lemoine & Ila Bêka

Homo urbanus


After the trying constraints of lockdown and social distancing that brutally reduced urban space to its strict minimum, making it into a place where isolated individuals merely cohabit, Homo Urbanus is a cinematic odyssey offering a vibrant tribute to what we have been most cruelly deprived of: namely, public space. Taking the form of a free-wheeling journey around the world (10 films, 10 cities), the project invites us to observe in detail the multiple forms and complex interactions that exist every day between people and their urban environments.

Somewhere between visual anthropology and observational cinema, these films put urban man under the microscope and encourage us to take a closer look at individual and collective behaviour, interpersonal dynamics, social tensions, and the economic and political forces that play out every day on the grand stage of the city streets. This work is a long-term research project developed until now in 10 different cities over the world: Seoul, Bogota, Naples, Saint-Petersburg, Rabat, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai, Doha and Venice.Born as an artistic commission for the Agora Biennale in Bordeaux around the theme of the moving landscapes, these videos plunge into cities in a spontaneous and subjective approach with very modest means in order to translate in the closest possible way the feel of their constant moving nature: their human landscape. Presented in a comparative dynamic through the lens of a selection of themes and issues linked with the street daily life, the videos enable us to perceive each of these different urban contexts as an experimental, local and unique laboratory answering the same global challenge of how can we live all together.