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Other publication, 2010

Favourably found and proudly presented – scouting for locations in the media terrrain

Hellström, Reimer Maria


On the district council web site of Thanet, a peninsula in Southeast England, we learn that painter William Turner, when sketching in the environs in the 1820s and 30s found the skies over the area to be “the loveliest in all Europe.” A bit further down, the same website tells us that today, the coastal skies are being mediated in new ways: “From Film Noir, Dogma and horror to TV – the bright lights are shining for Thanet.” The somewhat peripheral Isle of Thanet is just one more or less randomly picked example of how regions today expectantly redefine themselves in relation to a new cultural landscape. Cities and regions worldwide today compete in presenting themselves as “film friendly” environments offering an abundance of fertile and favorable grounds for media production. Through the establishing of funding platforms and location databases or through the setting up of special ‘codes of practice’, ample room is provided for new spatial actors with new claims to unveil, characterize, program and direct sites and spaces. Comparing English Thanet, a tourist destination past its time now aiming for a comeback, and the recently so successful crime film location of Ystad, Sweden, the present paper aims to discuss both how the new media practices and professions affect the popular imaginary of sites and spaces, and how they impinge on spatial discourse and policies of spatial reproduction. What are the determining criteria for new spatial actors? What kinds of sites are being targeted and how are they being administered and maintained? Through an enquiry into the media landscape, the paper actualizes what could be described as the inherent tension of the ‘site-specific’ between on the one hand the idea of veiled or neglected inner qualities to be ‘found’, and on the other hand situational opportunities, to be produced and ‘presented’. The question is of course if it is the old spatial dichotomy between permanence and production that we see surfacing in the media surge, or if there is a new and contested kind of site emerging, squeezed forward in the friction between authenticity claims, productivity demands and material conditions


site-specificity; film geography; location; cultural production; mediation; mediatization

Published in

Publisher: University of Copenhagen

Authors' information

Hellström Reimer, Maria
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Landskapsarkitektur

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)