General Orders No. 9 is a fascinating art film that I find to be a stirring lamentation for a forgotten relationship of man and land in the State of Georgia. While the title (the order from General Lee to his soldiers to surrender) suggests an attachment to the erroneous and offensive Lost Cause mythology, the film is more of a struggle with the change of relationship to the physical than an ode to the troubling human history of the land. I highly recommend the film, which juxtaposes vivid imagery with chilling poetry. I’ve attached some of my favorite quotes below.
The film is really a georgic elegy; a subtle diatribe against the urbanization of a once pristine and beautiful land. It begins as the slow settlement of the land, without judgment. But when the land is thoroughly urbanized, there is a sense of disconnect and isolation. The thing is one has to contextualize this much more for the State of Georgia and its largest city of Atlanta. This city is a prime example of the post modern decentralized and highway dependent metropolis. Its sprawl eats away at the land while the Interstate severs the land into parts. Perhaps we should view this anti urbanism as much more nuanced. Also, one of the quotes very much reminds me of Robert Venturi’s duck vs. shed and Simulation and Simulacra. The quote is something to the tune of why we prefer the sign of the thing to the thing itself. Let yourself decide how this is related to urbanism and land use.