High rise window cleaners at a building at Yeouido, Seoul, South Korea. © MATT LEMON PHOTOGRAPHY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Highrise is not only the title I chose for the above photo, it’s also the title of a multi-year, multimedia documentary project about life in residential highrises, directed by Katerina Cizek and produced by Gerry Flahive for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). The project, which began in 2009, includes five web documentaries — as well as more than 20 derivative projects such as public art exhibits and live performances. Click on each title to view the respective documentary (free access) or click here to visit the main website. Below is a trailer for the project.
The Thousandth Tower is a citizen media project by six residents in a multi-cultural highrise complex in the Toronto neighbourhood of Rexdale.
Out My Window is a web documentary exploring the lives of families living in high-rise buildings in 13 cities around the world. It was shot in Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Havana, São Paulo, Amsterdam, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut, Bangalore, Phnom Penh, Tainan, and Johannesburg.
One Millionth Tower gives people living in residential skyscrapers the opportunity to work with architects and animators to reimagine their homes in 3D virtual space. The project focuses on two high-rise apartment buildings in Etobicoke, Toronto.
A Short History of the Highrise is an interactive documentary that explores the 2,500-year global history of vertical living and issues of social equality in an increasingly urbanized world. The centerpiece of the project is four short films: Mud, Concrete and Glass have been created with images from The New York Times’s visual archives, while a fourth film, Home, features user-submitted images.
Universe Within: Digital Lives in the Global Highrise is an interactive look at how residents in highrise buildings around the world connect online. The project hired 14 residents in a Toronto highrise complex who went door-to-door to neighbors about their digital lives, and found that 80% of households had Internet access either at home or through their mobile device, despite their low-income status. This led Cizek to conclude that “there’s a real, invisible story here that we’re not seeing in the media or even in academic literature about how the digital maps out in the vertical, so we went to over 20 locations around the world, to speak with [people] – through local journalists and photographers – and to find stories of how the digital and the vertical intersect in really intimate, personal and political ways.”