Visual Culture of Urban Spectacles: A Discourse on Festivals in the Light of Urban Semantics

  • Anusmita DasEmail author
  • Amarendra Kumar Das
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 135)


Every city has its own identity and culture manifested through its people and activities that occur in its urban spaces. With advancements in technology and globalisation, there has been a mass influx of people in urban environments. This has led to the confluence of ideas, philosophies and culture, while stretching and challenging the psychological and physical boundaries of cities around the globe. Cities are the physical manifestations of such paradigm shift, thus becoming hubs of cultural expression which are notably rich in visual culture. In this regard, the city can be viewed upon as a palimpsest which constantly adapts and redefines its meanings over time as a result of a conglomeration of multiple intermingling discourses. As urban spaces gain new meanings and functions with changes in cultural practices, a city can no longer be seen as unidirectional but fluidity and temporality are observed as some of the key aspects. Urban spectacles such as festivals provide some interesting insights in this regard. In a time where change is the norm, a foray into the visual culture of urban spectacles can give a multidimensional view on urban semantics by analysing the three main dimensions of urban space: functional, aesthetical and symbolic. This paper will foray into the domain of Urban Semantics through the study of festivals by bringing together semiology and the urban. It will also analyse the role festivals as temporal marker, spatial marker, narrative fortifier and visual identifier.


Visual culture Urban spectacles Urban semantics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DesignIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

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