Focusing on Alexander Kluge’s short film Chicago im Zeitraffer (Chicago in Time Lapse), this article inserts his work with moving images into a larger genealogy of the city symphony film. Elucidating his relationship with the historical cinematic avant-garde, as Kluge borrows and departs from both László Moholy-Nagy’s urban vision and Bertolt Brecht’s conception of urban capitalist modernity, the article shows that Kluge’s film reorients time-lapse cinematography and opens up a new form of perception. By incorporating transnational techno music, the film suggests a concept of body and subjectivity that appears as a consequence of an increasingly voracious capitalist modernity while embedding a sense of obstinacy and self-propulsion. Nonetheless, the film’s reliance on transatlantic techno risks excluding the Black musical and social contexts that inspired it. Throughout the article the “loop,” or the traffic circle (Kreisverkehr), is understood as a governing metaphor that helps explain Kluge’s vision of contemporary urbanity, historical connectivity, and musical influence.

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