A DAT O
Architecture + Projection
ROUNDTABLE „The only place on earth where all places are...“ ESSAYS - Alleys in Wonderland - An Essay in Ugliness - Facsimile
POINT NEMO PUBLISHING •
ISSN 2658-9974 •
INTERVIEW „Films are like four dimensional puzzles...“
I want my opera house! This church remains closed until this town has its opera house. [shouting and ringing the church bells]
_EDITORIAL _FLUX Photo Series Dana Popescu
_ALLEYS IN WONDERLAND Hong Kong’s back alleys as celebrated cinematic spaces Nikolas Ettel
_ " T H E O N L Y P L A C E O N E A R T H . . ." On laser scan aided design techniques, drones and the machinic gaze, trans-humanism and google maps. J é r ô m e B e c k e r a n d A n n a Va l e n t i n y f o r A d a t o i n a t a l k w i t h Ve r a K u m e r a n d C e n k G ü z e l i ş
I N H A LT
_THE ALEPH 26
_ "A N E S S AY I N U G L I N E S S " 34
On cinematic dystopias Eleni Palles
_"FILMS ARE LIKE FOUR 4 4 D I M E N S I O N A L P U Z Z L E S . . ."
A n n a Va l e n t i n y a n d J é r ô m e B e c k e r i n a n interview with Jeff Desom
_ FA C S I M I L E 52
Eine vergessene Episode über die räumliche Beziehung zwischen Architektur und Film Jérôme Becker
Gleich vorweg: ADATO Architektur + Projektion wird natürlich über Film sprechen; über inszenierte Räume, die vielleicht besonders von Architekten und Weggefährten geliebt werden. Der kryptische Titel - weil wir die Auflösung der vierten Wand, jener unsichtbaren Trennfläche zwischen Schauspiel und Zuschauer, zwischen Theater/Film und Realität, als Resultat künstlerischen Bestrebens und des technischen Fortschritts, zum übergeordneten Thema dieses Heftes gemacht haben. Seit den Anfängen des bewegten Bildes, Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts, teilen sich die Baukunst und der Film die analoge Kulisse, das Set. Dabei wandeln sich die erträumten Welten mit den stetig und unaufhaltsam voranschreitenden Visualisierungstechniken. Die Einführung eben dieser aus Film und Animation stammenden Softwares in die Architektur brachte eine Angleichung der Formensprache mit sich - was einst als Science-Fiction im Kino zu sehen war, ist heute gebaute oder zumindest 3D-modellierte Realität.
out of Inception Production Designer Guy Dyas: “Only 5 Percent of Our Scenes Used Green Screen” by John Lopez for Vanity Fair, 2011
One of the first things Dyas did was create a 60-foot scroll that captured the history of 20th-century architecture, from the initial skyscrapers of the Bauhaus, to Gropius, to Le Corbusier. (...) But its chronological layout actually ended up inspiring one of the film’s most astonishing designs—the dream city built by Cobb and his wife in their subconscious. (...) When Cobb returns with Ariadne to the dream city, however, they find it in total disrepair— again a design concept with a specific idea behind it: The mere fact that they were eroding away into the sea, and the sea was eating into these buildings, was another visual method of showing that he was losing his mind, he says.”
Film Still, Christopher Nolan. 2010. Inception.
Nach dem Redesign der ADATO zu Beginn dieses Jahres wagen wir nun mit diesem Heft auch inhaltlich den Sprung zu einem neuen Format: Mit einer ersten These Architektur + Projektion, öffnen wir den Raum für Stimmen aus Architektur, bildender und darstellender Kunst. ADATO versteht sich dabei als Plattform zur Präsentation und Diskussion innovativer Arbeiten und Positionen.
Das neue Heft wird zunächst einen Blick hinter die Technik werfen. Wir sprechen mit Autoren wie dem Architekten Cenk Güzeliş (The Aleph, 2016) oder dem Filmemacher Jeff Desom (Rear Window Timelapse, 2012) über den Entstehungsprozess ihrer Arbeiten, von der inhaltlichen Ebene, über das Konzept bis hin zur Realisierung. Des Weiteren eröffnen uns seit Jahrzehnten bildgebende Verfahren aus der Medizin (z.B. MRT) und vom Militär (z.B. Laserscan) neue Möglichkeiten der Bestandsaufnahme, der Investigation und schließlich des Entwurfs. Dabei interessiert ADATO welche Potentiale das bewegte Bild oder der vom menschlichen Körper losgelöste Blick der Maschine, für die Architektur birgt. Darüber hinaus thematisiert Architektur + Projektion die Notwendigkeit eines reflektierten Umgangs mit diesen neuen, aus Nebendisziplinen, importierten Fähigkeiten der Architektur und einer politischen Positionierung. Right at the start: ADATO "Architecture + Projection" will of
Ever since the beginnings of the moving picture in the late
After the redesign of ADATO at the beginning of this year, in
and discussion of innovative works and positions.
forming arts. ADATO sees itself here as a platform for the presentation
opening up scope for voices from architecture and the visual and per-
in content: with a first proposition "Architecture + Projection", we are
this issue we are venturing to take the plunge into a new format also
ancillary disciplines, combined with a political positioning.
out approach to these new capabilities of architecture imported from
"Architecture + Projection" addresses the necessity of a deeply thought-
perspective of the machinic gaze for architectural production. Finally,
Here, ADATO is interested in the potentials of the moving picture, or the
bilities of stock taking, of investigation and ultimately also of design.
MRT to laser scanning, have for decades been opening up new possi-
Moreover, imaging processes from medicine and the military, from
2012) about the formation process of their works’ content, from concept
Aleph", 2016) and the film maker Jeff Desom ("Rear Window Timelapse",
technics; we talk to authors such as the architect Cenk Güzelis ("The
So the new issue will on one hand cast a glance behind the
fiction is today actual, built reality, or at least 3D modelled fact.
languages merge as well – what was once seen in the cinema as science
architecture of this very software from film and animation has made
and visualisation techniques. It is only natural that the introduction into
med parallel to the ever advancing and unstoppable progress in design
scenery, the set. Here, the worlds that were dreamed of were transfor-
nineteenth century, architecture and film have shared an analogue
result of artistic endeavour and technical progress.
between actor and audience, between theatre or film and reality, as the
issue the dissolution of the “fourth wall”, that invisible, separating skin
The cryptic title – because we have taken as the overriding theme of this
also – and perhaps especially – loved by architects and fellow-travellers.
course talk about film – about stage-managed spaces, worlds that are
Film Still, Christopher Nolan. 2010. Inception.
Flux Flux Dana Popescu
SUMMER NIGHTS, 2016 Nuits d' été, 2016 A trip in a city, moving away from the shadows of the night into the light. Discovering and wanting to see more until the sun comes up. Une balade en ville, s'éloignant des ombres de la nuit vers la lumière. Découvrir et vouloir voir plus avant que le soleil s'élève.
La photographie et la vidéo sont des outils pour donner un sens à ce monde en mouvement permanent. A travers les photos, des histoires se créent et prennent la forme des séries graphiques intimes. Je vous invite à découvrir cet univers de l'impondérabilité, de l'oubli, de la perte de l'échelle et des repères.
Photographies and videos are tools to give a meaning to this world in a permanent movement. Throught the photos histories build up and take the shape of intime graphic series. I invite you to discover the universe of imponderability, oblivion, lost of scales and framing.
Speak Out, 2016
ON THE MOVE, 2016 En Mouvement, 2016
Looking for a place where the history is not written yet. Dreaming of perpetual movment. Looking ahead. A la recherche d'un endroit sans histoire. Rêver d'être en mouvement perpétuel. Regarder devant.
CODAGE / DECODAGE, Exposition Mulhouse, 2017 The bathtub is a photographic object, a memory concept of a real object, made of photography collages on a paper mold. The images taken in different moments of time show a changing identity of the bathtub and give it a soul. The photographic object is a part of an installation imagining an apartment and its tenant, Lady Clara. It is composed of real scale photographs, photographic objects and a neon and photography installation.
La baignoire est un objet photographique, le concept de la mémoire de l'objet réel, réalisée par des collages de photographies sur un moule en papier mâché. Les images prises à des moments différents montrent son identité changeante en fonction de l'usage pour lui donner une âme. Cet objet photographique fait partie d'une installation qui recrée un appartement et son locataire, Clara. Elle a été créée à partir des photographies à l'échelle réelle, des objets photographiques et d'une installation en néon et photographie.
Alleys in Wonderland Hong Kong’s back alleys as celebrated cinematic spaces
Even so, ‘the street, he [Henri Lefebvre] notes, has the paradoxical character of having more importance than the places it connects, more living reality than the
Nikolas Ettel is a Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Born in Vienna, he holds a BArch from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In London he received The Bartlett Master’s Scholarship to complete his Master of Arts (Architectural History) at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Nikolas taught design and theory courses at The University of Hong Kong, The Shanghai Study Center, and at Meiji University Nakano Campus Tokyo. His current teaching and research interest explores cinematic studies in architectural discourses.
things it reflects. The street renders public.’
WATCH THE MOVIE TRAILER Film Still, Mamoru Oshii. 1995. Ghost in the Shell.
Film Still, Wong Kar-Wai. 2000. In the Mood for Love.
Film Still, Rupert Sanders. 2017. Ghost in the Shell.
‘Tin Hau – 8.30pm – projection of “Little Cheung” Film by Fruit Chan’ in Hong Kong In Between, Borio, Geraldine & Caroline Wüthrich, MCCM Creations and Park Books, 2015, p.163.
S TA G 計劃
1_ Murray, Christine, The Architectural Review: On ‘Notopia,’ The Scourge Destroying Our Cities Worldwide [online]. https://www. archdaily.com/789475/ar-issues-on-notopia-the-scourge-destroying-our-cities-worldwide (Accessed 25 January 2018).
‘By the end of the century our world will consist of isolated oases of glassy monuments surrounded by a limbo of shacks and beige constructions, and we will be unable to distinguish any one global city from another. (…) Its symptom (…) is that the edge of Mumbai will look like the beginning of Shenzhen, and the center of Singapore will look like downtown Dallas.’1
3_ Bordwell David, Planet Hong Kong; Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England, 2000.
4_ Ibid, p.1. 5_ Mark Shiel & Tony Fitzmaurice (ed.), Screening The City, Verso, London & New York, Introduction.
6_ Borio, Geraldine & Caroline Wüthrich, Hong Kong In Between, MCCM Creations and Park Books, 2015, p.78.
7_ Ibid, p.85. 8_ Ibid, p.85.
9_ Maurice Blanchot and Susan Hanson, Everyday Speech, Yale University Press, Yale French Studies, No. 73, Everyday Life (1987), p.17.
10_ Camillo Sitte: The Birth of Modern City Planning; With a translation of the 1889 Austrian edition of his City Planning according to Artistic Principles, George R. Collins, and Christiane Crasemann Collins (eds.), Rizzoli, New York, 1986, p.138.
11_ Lynne DiStefano & Lee Ho Yin’s “Hong Kong’s Back Alleys: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good,” in Informal Solutions: Observations in Hong Kong Back Alleys, Michael Wolf, WE Press, 2016, pp.79-93.
12_ 13_Ibid, p.84.
What defines a city? Living in Hong Kong for many years now, widely known as the densest and busiest ‘Asia’s World City,‘2 the question of an urban image, in other words, its spatial identity appears more often these days. This is indeed a
Made for Hong Kong ‘It seemed appropriate, then, to examine a number of lovely old plazas and whole urban layouts – seeking out the basis of their beauty, in the hope that if properly understood these would lead to similar admirable effects.’10
vital question in post-colonial cities, hence in what follows is my interest to explore Hong Kong’s spatial oddities by means
In ‘Hong Kong’s Back Alleys: The Ugly, the Bad and the
of its cinematic representation. In the light of Mamoru Oshii’s
Good’11 Lynne DiStefano & Lee Ho Yin lay out a historical clo-
Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for
se up about back alleys spatial implications. Their title may be
Love (2000), the following seeks to understand my growing
understood as a reference to Sergio Leone’s close-ups me-
admiration for alley places in films. Despite the differences
thod in his classic western film The Good, the Bad and the
in cinematic storytelling and urban Stimmung, its mood sa-
Ugly (1966). Rather than framing emotions, the focus lies on
turated message, back alleys represent the often overlooked
the development of current law regulations to trace back the
spatial characteristic as connective spaces, in films and ever-
statutory origin of ‘scavenging lanes.’12 Accordingly, certain
law orders and restrictions have been made after 1903 to ‘give up a specified amount of property for the creation of scaven-
In his discussion on the Great Pearl River Delta as the
ging lanes and the provision of open spaces.’13 Mentioned law
major production hub for Asian cinema, film theorist David
restrictions regulate these alley spaces to a width of six feet
Bordwell argues in Planet Hong Kong3 that ‘Hong Kong ci-
(1.8m), and are ‘the legislative consequence of understanding
nema is one of the success stories of film history. For about
the relationship between building design and public health,
twenty years, this city-state of around six million people
and especially the need to provide daylight and fresh air to the
had one of the most robust cinema industries in the world.
rear of the building.’14 The survey continues that during the
In number of films released, it regularly surpassed nearly all
19th century, shophouses in Southern China were built with a
Western countries. In export it was second only to the United
‘laneway-like rows of shophouses.’15
States.’4 For some time now, there is a growing body of work about the ways in which cinema is using the city, ‘both physi-
This famous shophouse type ‘developed in the dense
cally and as cultural constructs.’5 This becomes prominent in
urban settlements of Southern China’16 were necessary to re-
an arranged environment such as Hong Kong Island, consis-
duce congestion ‘by stacking homes on top of street-facing
ting merely of pencil towers and glossy monuments narrowly
shops (…).’17 Contradicting to today’s restricted law definition
standing on reclaimed land. Here, back alleys, in which every
of back alleys to a merely functional reason, these insights
14_ Ibid, p.78.
day urban life appears to be ‘best represented’6, becomes
propose that historically back alleys have been used to ser-
15_ -18_Ibid, p.80.
recently a growing architectural interest. For the purpose of
ve and ‘create a common backyard shared by residents, who
this paper, we will look closer at left-over spaces to locate
could access their homes through backdoors facing a com-
their current appearance in the architectural discourse as
mon backyard.’18 What is important is the particular change
‘accumulations of junk,’ carrying a merely bad reputation
of use from a form of hygienic left over into a shared ba-
because they are occasionally tiny and ugly, yet friendly, and
ckyard space; a development which can be observed simil-
with a distinct architectural character worth investigating.
arly today, as back alleys commonly serve as an extension to
Here, the characteristics of being friendly refers to the possi-
the usually limited living space. ‘Hong Kong is largely a city
bility of daily occupations happening in these spaces, such as
without vandalism – who would want to destroy one’s own
narrow restaurants, shoe-makers, or hairdressers; even daily
living room?’19 This bizarrely common left-over space, which
routines no more than a temporarily cigarette break, propo-
seems to not only exist ‘to provide more air and light, and
se all rich questions to a unique symbolic space captured by
to break the monotony of oceans of houses,’20 consequently
19_ Borio, Geraldine & Caroline Wüthrich, Hong Kong In Between, MCCM Creations and Park Books, 2015, p.78
20_ Camillo Sitte, The Art of Building Cities; City building according to its artistic fundamentals (1889), Translated by Charles T. Sterwart, Reinhold Publishing Corperation, New York, 1945, p.2. 21_ Marc Feustel, “Everyday Monuments” in Informal Solutions: Observations in Hong Kong Back Alleys, Michael Wolf, WE Press, 2016, pp.5-8.
the lenses of various filmmakers. After all, we might consider
provides a ’series of interstices’21 for urban citizens. Thereby,
22_ Ibid, p.86.
their unusual characteristics as unique in Hong Kong, in an
they do not exist only to serve pragmatic trash disposal, sani-
23_ Borio, Geraldine & Caroline Wüthrich, Hong Kong In Between, MCCM Creations and Park Books, 2015, p.148.
attempt to rethink the reputation of back alley spaces to a
tation and light injection reasons. The Ugly, the Bad and the
possible form of admiration. Additionally, examining their ci-
Good concludes that ‘Hong Kong’s back alleys have a unique
nematic representation provides food for thought about the
character, a distinctive identity. (…) [T]here is the risk of losing
insights of this ‘refuge from urban madness.’ Even so, ‘the
one of Hong Kong’s most undervalued creative incubators.’22
street, he [Henri Lefebvre] notes, has the paradoxical charac-
Through this particular situation they are more than a functi-
ter of having more importance than the places it connects,
onal necessity, they become a necessary connective space in
more living reality than the things it reflects. The street ren-
dense Hong Kong.
24_ Borio, Geraldine & Caroline Wüthrich, Hong Kong In Between, MCCM Creations and Park Books, 2015, p.160.
25_ Ibid, p.78.
26_ Haralambidou Penelope, The Architectural Essay in Film, Arq (2015), 19.3, Cambridge University Press, p.236. 27_ Penz, François, Cinematic Aided Design, Routledge, 2018, Foreword.
28_ Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics; The Invisible Art, William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994, p.72.
29_ Ibid, p.79.
30_ Ibid, p.74.
31_ Kwai-Cheung Lo,”Tech-Noir: A Sub-Genre May not Exist in Hong Kong ScienceFiction Films,” in Esther C.M. Yau& Tony Williams (eds.), Hong Kong Neo-Noir, Edinburgh University Press, 2017, p.77.
32_ Taken from a discussion by Evan Puschak, https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=gXTnl1FVFBw 33_ Adam Bingham,”Doubled Indemnity: Fruit Chan and the Meta-Fiction of Hong Kong Neo-Noir,” in Esther C.M. Yau& Tony Williams (eds.), Hong Kong Neo-Noir, Edinburgh University Press, 2017, p.77.
34_ Score: A Film Music Documentary by Matt Schrader, Gravitas Ventures, 2016.
In Geraldine Borio and Caroline Wüthrich investigation
differences between western and eastern comics, in particu-
‘Hong Kong In Between’ they examine the current situation
lar Japanese mainstream comics. He calls the dominant craft
of various back alleys across the city through potential de-
of visualising a narrative in Japan the ’aspect-to-aspect tran-
sign interventions. Their intention is to trigger a change of
sition.’28 By using this representational concept, which may be
perception through various applied design interventions, for
seen as a general tool to understand the art of drawn narrati-
instance through evenings of film screenings, an afternoon
ves, the medium of time is not existing for the exploration of
tea ceremony, or a nighttime DJ show, to ‘introduce people
space. Here, the focus of storytelling is laid on the mood of
to Hong Kong’s back alleys in poetic and organic ways….’23
a particular place, ’(…) time seems to stand still in these quiet,
Last mentioned intervention was particularly interesting for
contemplative combinations.’29 In other words, the importan-
the people who are already using this back alley and those
ce of the viewer’s spatial perception is at the centre of the re-
to be introduced to them as it raises question concerning the
presentation. Therefore, the story ‘bypasses time for the most
law regulations in this left-over spaces. Without any form of
part and sets a wandering eye on different aspects of a place,
permission, this evening event brought people through mu-
idea or mood.’30 This becomes important to appreciate Ma-
sic together before it was closed down by the police shortly
moru Oshii’s spatial exploration in 1995´s Ghost in the Shell.
before midnight. ‘Even the illegal part was completely part of
In this classical ‘tech-noir’31 (a potential sub-genre in sci-fi
it, because we didn’t ask for any permission.’
films mentioned by Kwai-Cheung Lo), citizens of a future
nal possibility to smoke in these spaces without penalties, ‘an
metropolis locate their identities in their ghosts, or minds, but
activity banned in [any] other public spaces’25 underlines that
because of the recent cyberattacks and successful hackings
back alleys can be considered as vital intermediate spaces in
of these minds, their memory, and thereby identity are questi-
the Pearl River Delta region.
oned. As identity and urban landscapes are both constructed,
‘the great radical hope [of cyberpunk] was that the blending The following shift from an “in-between” study towards a
of man and machine would have the same effect on personal
‘flirting with the world of filmmaking’26 is to recognise that alleys
identity that multicultural cities like Hong Kong would have
are spaces in which everyday life takes place and can be obser-
on collective identity. It would break down the constructs of
ved. According to Michel de Certau is everyday life ‘(...) one of
gender, race and class.’32 In anime and reality, the constructed
the hardest things ... ignored.”27 In doing so, our perception shifts
scape of Hong Kong was for more than two decades the main
from spaces between housing blocks to valuable connective
physical site for film production, hence, as the ’Hollywood of
spaces within the city scape.
the East’33 its futuristic cityscape still serves as major source of inspiration. In Ghost in the Shell, the tech-saturated city can
Made out of Hong Kong
be seen as the leading character for transferring a sense of urban mood. By zooming in, we recognise that the famous chasing scene starts at a street market, similar to the ones
In ‘Understanding Comics; The Invisible Art’, Scott Mc-
still existing these days in Hong Kong. The scene leads into a
Cloud explains the art of visual storytelling by exploring the
back alley situation, and by entering the space, the viewer can
about aboUt Hong kong Kong a ClaSH oF SCale: Collage SeCtion tHroUgH tHe Urban FabriC oF Hong Kong witH itS landMarKS.
規 模 對 比 :香 港 一 般 市 區 與 其 標 誌 性 建 築 的 橫 切 面 拼 湊 。 450 M
‘A Clash of Scale: Collage section through the urban fabric of Hong Kong with its landmarks’ in Hong Kong In Between, Borio, Geraldine & Caroline Wüthrich, MCCM Creations and Park Books,
35_ Bordwell David, Planet Hong Kong; Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England, 2000, Preface.
Back alley construction in Sai Ying Pun, Image taken by the author.
’(…) time seems to stand still in these quiet, contemplative combinations.’ Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics; The Invisible Art, William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994, p.79.
Back alley analysis in Ghost in the Shell (1995), Mamoru Oshii (dir.), Production I.G., min. 18.48- 21.51.
The story ‘bypasses time for the most part and sets a wandering eye on different aspects of a place, idea or mood.’ Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics; The Invisible Art, William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994, p.74.
recognise an immediate change of mood provoked by the
no time for contemplation. In the newer version, the city view
film’s decreasing movement. In addition, the sound scape ch-
is represented by a flight through the digitally created city
anges, starting from a busy city noise, to a frantic chase, into
scape, which arguably creates a distance from the observed
the meditative score EXM Puppet Master composed by Kenji
city, as commonly citizens are not able to experience the city
Kawai. Intentionally, the speed of the images slow down. As
through this particular flying viewpoint perspectives. Here, in
mentioned in Score; A Film Music Documentary34 directed by
what McCloud explores as the ‘East/West Split’, comes the
Matt Schrader in 2017, the sound of a film can actively shape
difference of storytelling into play and might explain the cri-
how we perceive and interpret the image. Therefore, sound
ticized quality loss of urban mood in comparison to the first
can follow, recognise, or in this example highlight a change of
animated film version. ‘(…) In the east, there´s a rich tradition
direction in the scene and should not be underestimated. Be-
of cyclical and labyrinthine work of art. Japanese comics may
sides the changing sound scape and image speed, this scene
be heirs to this tradition, in the way they so often emphasi-
shows the gangster escaping into a back alley where he finally
se being there over getting there. Through these and other
has time to catch his breath, pull off his jacket, which hel-
storytelling techniques, the Japanese offer a vision of comics
ped him to stay invisible, and gaze into the canyon of houses.
very different from our own.’36
Here, the clear reference to Hong Kong’s urban situation is visualised by the appearance of an air plane ‘nearly scraping the rooftops of Kowloon City.’35 Within this described spatial contemplation the noisy city sound disappears and is replaced by a meditative dripping of water that may refer to the peaceful, quiet ambience of an Asian garden. The anime does this by visually framing the character in relation to the city 36_ Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics; The Invisible Art, William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994, p.81
37_ In the Mood for Doyle, Yves Montmayeur (dir.), 2007, min.4.00.
Ghost in the Shell.
Film Still, Rupert Sanders. 2017.
WATCH THE MOVIE TRAILER
around him and giving the viewer time to contemplate about the space in which the story takes place. This meditative sequence visualises Scott McCloud’s ‘aspect-to-aspect transition,‘ a concept that allows the viewer to look at the places´ Stimmung. Represented as a dirty, packed, open ended alley, cut by a river of drainage water, the gangster finds himself starring at the skyline in front of him, contemplating and facially expressing his love to the city, shortly before he gets kicked down to the wet floor and gets arrested. The animated film from 1995 differs extensively from its recent adaptation directed by Rupert Saunders in 2017. The adapted version, as well titled Ghost in the Shell, has, despite the longer runtime,
Made it about Hong Kong By making back alleys the very spectacle of current Hong Kong’s urban fabric, the last paragraph discusses the problem of a place in a constant flux. Both, back alleys as an essential locality and their spatial implications, such as constant neighbourhood surveillance, narrow voyeuristic viewpoints and a specific atmosphere, are the dominant themes in Wong Kar-wai´s films. As one of Hong Kong's most acclaimed Second Wave cinema directors, mostly active after the first New Wave Cinema Movement in the 90´s, Wong Karwai is well known for his atmospheric films like Fallen Angels from 1995, Chungking Express three years later, and 2046 from 2004. In all these films, he has worked with the Australian born, Asian fanatic Christopher Doyle; a cinematographer, who's artistic contribution to Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, and Fruit Chan´s works brought him, and accordingly these motion pictures international recognition.
On Lan Terrace, Kowloon, ca. 1940s, in Once Upon A Time Hong Kong, FormAsia Books Limited, 2011.
In our following filmic example, In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-wai’s work In the Mood for Love, Mamoru
from 2000, Kar-wai and Dolye carefully dissect the social
Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, and Fruit Chan’s Little Cheung from
structures of a colonial, pre-1997 vision of Hong Kong. By
1999 are only a few references of how filmmakers have taken
challenging the idea of the back alley as a meeting place for
existing alley situations as the main driving character of their
a next-door neighbours couple, their work crafts an image
enactment. This, then, leads back to the argument that Hong
of the life situation in Fragrant Harbour. Hence its closeness
Kong’s spatial characteristic lays within the cities body, which
to daily city life, In the Mood for Love's atmospheric street
is too often overlooked. Back alleys are running through the
scenes were all shot in Bangkok. Mentioned by Doyle that ’in
city like veins through a body, keeping it alive and as menti-
the film, it [a chosen alley in Bangkok] is supposed to be a
oned in Organic HK, a short film directed by Isabelle Mayor;
backstreet in Hong Kong, and what happens is, as we know,
‘high density cities need free and non-programmed space to
cities change, and especially Asian cities change so quickly,
be appropriated.’ Because ‘even the free air belongs to so-
so this one did not change so much, that’s why [we shot it
meone else; it belongs to street engineers and hygienists.’39
38_ In the Mood for Doyle, Yves Montmayeur (dir.), 2007, min.16:30.
’Our location manager is extremely mad, because he
Conclusively, these mentioned spaces of everyday ur-
said, we have grand buildings, we have a very nice beach;
ban life give a dense city like Hong Kong a human charac-
wonderful places, why you go all the way to this small al-
ter, a form of life in between concrete agglomerations and
leys and shabby places? Well, I said, I know the smell of it.
its constant struggle of limited space as visualised by various
So, whenever I look at the streets, I understand what kind of
filmmakers. Hereby, ‘by adding the dimension of time, space
person lives in this space, what do they do, what is their living,
becomes “alive”, so film offers the potential of generating an
so I can’t help it. (…) Each space can give you some kind of
affective relationship with architecture, a form of empathy,
40_ Haralambidou Penelope, The Architectural Essay in Film, Arq (2015), 19.3, Cambridge University Press, p.246.
drama; space can be emotional or queered, (…). Even though
where the architect/filmmaker more closely identifies with
when we are shooting in a very narrow street or one corner
the building.’40 ‘Indeed, through the framing process and the
of a street, that’s enough for me, because I can image what’s
subsequent screening, even the most anonymous and banal
41_ Penz François and Lu Andong (eds.), Urban Cinematics; Understanding Urban Phenomena Through The Moving Image, Intellect, The Mill, UK, 2011, p.9.
happening. And sometimes, I will think, the space actually is
city location will be transformed from an unconsciously re-
the main character of that scene, because he is like a wit-
corded space (…) to an expressive space.’41
39_ Authors translation; Camillo Sitte, Der Staedtebau nach seinen kuenstlerischen Grundsaetzen (1909); vermehrt um “Grossstadtgruen”, Birkhaeuser, Basel, Reprint der 4. Auflage von 1909, 2002, p.93.
ness, everyday there are a lot of people doing the same thing around here, so it’s like hundreds of stories like this going
In the Mood for Love.
Film Still, Wong Kar-Wai. 2000.
WATCH THE MOVIE TRAILER
"The only place on earth where all places are – ..." Jérôme Becker and Anna Valentiny for Adato in a talk with Vera Kumer and Cenk Güzeliş on laser scan aided investigation and design techniques, drones and the machinic gaze, trans-humanism and google maps.
Panopticon Sketch, Jeremy Bentham, 1791
Film Still, Cenk Güzeliş. 2016. The Aleph.
02 - PART 1
Yes, the only place on earth where all places are â€” seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending. I kept the discovery to myself and went back every chance I got. As a child, I did not foresee that this privilege was granted me so that later I could write the poem. The Aleph, Jorge Luis Borges, 1945
Cenk Guzelis is a master of architecture student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Currently working on constructing neural optical machine vision to help people dealing with PTSD. He worked in Computer Aided Manufacturing at the Platform for Analog and Digital Production, Institute for Art and Architecture, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Led LiDAR and animation workshops in Denmark and Austria. In 2016, in the team of LAAC, he worked on the animation film for the Montenegro pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. His shorts were screened and awarded at festivals in Europe and USA (Ars Electronica Festival , Philip K. Dick Film Festival New York & Cologne, One day Animation Festival in Vienna and in London). In 2016 his film Aleph received the Best Animation FX award at the 45th Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. His point cloud VR project Theophil Hansen Revisited - a digital museum of Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna - was awarded twice for the Carl Appel Prize.
Anna Valentiny The Aleph is a short story written by Jorge Luis Borges and first published in 1945. It starts with the initial conflict of the protagonist's lover’s death. The grieving Borges - a fictionalized version of the author - made it a ritual to pass by Beatriz Viterbo's family house every year on the 13th of April. It's here, where he makes the acquaintance of Carlos Argentino Daneri, Beatriz's cousin and poet, that made it his life goal to write the one poem that contains it all. Throughout the story the reader learns that in order to do so, Daneri thinks he is dependent on the Aleph, one of the points in space that contains all other points, and which he claims to be located in his cellar in Garay Street. Cenk, a few years ago, you made a short movie based on Borges’s narration. Maybe you want to say something more general on the concept of the Aleph and what it means to your work. Cenk Güzeliş Today Borges and his short stories are considered relevant to architecture and film. From today’s point of view, I find it fascinating that he, who was a director of the national library of Argentina and who had lost his sight, could foresee the future in such a precise way. His powerful writing style was my first inspiration. It is actually really hard to deal with Borges’s stories. The power of language as a medium is so strong that you can’t visualize it. Especially this narration about the Aleph is relevant today, as it refers to the digital age we live in. As individuals we can have access to our Aleph, which is the World Wide Web. It gives a freedom on the one hand. On the other, the fact that you have to see the world from this point is a prison.
Vera Kumer I think there is also a strong reference to mass surveillance. (...) And that criss-crossing between past, present and future... CG ...that all collapses in one point... Jérôme Becker Vera, can you relate the notion of the Aleph to your theoretical research, which names the topic of visibility already in its title Making the invisible, visible? VK I am doing my PhD in media theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The title of my thesis is, as you just said, Making the Invisible Visible. Non–Cinematic Visualization Techniques of Power and Control. I am trying to show parallels and mutual influences of concepts and ideas from media sciences and architecture theory regarding the execution of power and control via media and space. I do think that the spatial aspects of concepts in visual studies, for example regarding the discourses on the dispositifs of production and reception, is much neglected. Therefore, I look at visualization techniques of control from two sides – from architectural theory, and from media theory. To get back to your question: what strikes me when thinking of the concept of Borges’s Aleph is its strong reference to cinematic dispositif, which can be described briefly as an axial arrangement of an untouchable screen, the audience in the darkened space of the cinema, fixed in its position, unable to move, and a hidden projector behind the audience, projecting the film onto the screen. Besides this simplified spatial setup, there is an extensive discourse on the cinematic dispositif’s institutional, sociocultural, political, gender aspects etc. According to this, I see various
forms of a dispositif in the Aleph, also a strong cinematic dispositif indeed. The protagonist is asked to look at the nineteenth step when in the cellar. In doing so, his gaze is very much controlled, his position is fixed down there on the floor of the basement. Consequently, I see a clear reference to the cinematic dispositif as it is defined in film studies. Regarding the Aleph from the point of view of my research and the machinic gaze of control and power, I define it as a metaphor: the protagonist gains access to all information, to things he wants to see as well as to things he doesn’t want to see. Here, the Aleph is the perfect metaphor for the kind of machinic gaze that I deal with in my writings. The gaze of visibility and control that we find in medicine (and military applications), for example the X-ray, just to name one of many, penetrates the body, it turns the inside to the outside, it makes us see the truth. Truth with a capital “T” was an important issue in Modernism at the turn of the last century. Contrary to today, where I rather see a blurring of information, and a flooding of our brains with different kinds of truths; filtered information, and filtered truths. So, what struck me most was the Aleph’s total darkness, the immobility of the protagonist, the ocular adjustment, where I see a clear parallel to the cinematic dispositif. Yet, the quote Yes, the only place on earth where all places are – references to drone vision, another visualization dispositif of power and control. AV Maybe Cenk you would like to say something about the digital media that you used in your visual reinterpretation of Borges' Aleph, for example the laser scanning technology?
JB … and how you are integrating it in your artistic expression? I think there is a concept behind it, right? CG I visited the site on Gallitzinberg a couple of times and documented it in my own way. In the beginning, I took photographs and the second time I used my voice recorder and film camera. I started to see that specific architectural body of the bunker as a kind of portal to the Aleph. It is like an inverted version of the panoptical view. This time you are capsulated, centralized in a concrete body which has four openings, four stripes that you have gaze through to your environment. I decided to take this architectural body designed for one soldier as a portal to the Aleph. What I wanted to create was a transition, or blend from reality to an imaginary world. For that purpose, I used laser scanning technology which would enable my digital camera to fly and see the environment in impossible ways. I'm not a fan of photorealism but I like the way that laser scanning technology can abstract the physicality. It creates a digital model rich in detail but without any geometrical information. Consisting in a million of points that contain on their behalf all information and coordination, the model itself is already an Aleph. JB So the point cloud allows you to see the digital model from many different perspectives and not only from those angles, where the scanning device has been positioned. CG There is one specific scene where I actually used a point cloud model for exactly that reason. There is a transition for blending from the real footage, from the movie image to the image of the digital model. The camera detaches itself from the body and thus from the human perspective to become a digital camera, liberated from reality and the laws of physics. This scene marks the step from reality into imaginary worlds. JB Vera, the very starting point of your research is also a strong interest in different imaging methods. On which techniques are you focusing in your thesis and what is the common point you are analysing them for?
What I wanted to create was a transition, or blend from reality to an imaginary world. For that purpose, I used laser scanning technology which would enable my digital camera to fly and see the environment in impossible ways. (...) The camera detaches itself from the body and thus from the human perspective to become a digital camera, liberated from reality and the laws of physics. This scene marks the step from reality into imaginary worlds.
Cenk Güzeliş VK As I said before, I write about visualization techniques that execute power and control. The techniques I am working with are based in medicine and military applications. As much as the X-ray or an MRI (magnetic resonant image) penetrates or slices the body of the ill, the eyes of a drone high up in the sky somewhere in the Middle East scans the landscape with IR-cameras and thermo-spectography devices, for example. So, by establishing parallels between the body that is examined in hospital, and the land that is visually occupied by a gaze from above, I developed the concept of the body as territory and the land as territory of observation. This concept helps me to reference these two very distant scientific fields to each other. In this way, the body and the landscape become part of a production dispositif, part of the institutional, political, socioeconomic, spatial, temporal etc. arrangement of the production of the image.
The dispositif of production is “my Aleph”, where these different visualization techniques, media, history, the body, and space blend together. Precisely here is the point, where architecture theory, space, urbanism, city planning, and media studies can be combined and compared with each other, in order to analyse the disciplines mentioned above and the inherent aspects of space, vision, and power from different points of view respectively. CG I like it when you talk about the migration of military and medicine tools into arts ... As much as the X-ray or an MRI (magnetic resonant image) penetrates or slices the body of the ill, the eyes of a drone high up in the sky somewhere in the Middle East scans the landscape with IR-cameras and thermo-spectography devices, for example. So, by establishing parallels between the body that is examined in hospital, and the land that is visually occupied by a gaze from above, I developed the concept of the body as territory and the land as territory of observation.
Vera Kumer VK If you really get it down to the media specificities of the production of the images, you can find amazing references to media types developed in the 19th century. Borges’s narration of the Aleph interested me because it contains so many media-archaeological approaches. CG Can I ask you a question: I like the way we architects can update our brushes or tools of imagination by adopting tools from the mentioned neighbouring
Vera Kumer (*1979) studied architecture in Vienna and New York. Since 2016, she has been working on her PhD at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in the department of media theory. Her thesis "making the invisible visible – post-cinematic visualization strategies of control" examines concepts of visibilities and invisibilities in medicine, the military, architecture, and urban planning and frames distinctive similarities, parallels, and contradictions regarding the execution of control and surveillance. Vera Kumer teaches in the department of building construction and design – HB2 (TU Vienna). She is head of the HB2-mediaLAB and evolves her teaching around media, film, space, and architecture. She works as a self-employed film maker and media artist.
disciplines. But do you think these instruments are productive in order to derive a new design method from it or to change the way we perceive? For my part, I cannot yet see a potential in these technologies in order to make a radical change in a design process.
are being watched or not. Because of the potential presence of an observer, who is not visible from the outside, there is an asymmetric relation of power, in the same way actually as in the panopticon. Both models work without the presence of an observer in the centre.
VK For me, the so-called digital turn was rather disappointing, in the way that it didn’t really change the way we “produce” architecture in many cases. It did make many things easier and quicker to handle, but simultaneously they became more complex. I miss the radical change in the design process, to use your expression. I wouldn’t know how these visualisation techniques could change the method of producing architecture, but it does change the way of perceiving space. An example might be infrared thermography, a technology that is used to form heat zone images of a building.
CG That was something that struck me intensely when I saw the bunker first. It is hidden in nature. I entered a couple of times to imagine how it feels... I'm not sure if it is claustrophobic but you feel that you are in a point and you have no influence on your environment. (...) There was one individual in the physical space of the bunker. I relate that to this age, because we are individual bodies and we have our ghosts wandering around in the digital world. And that's why to me the Aleph fits that portal. That was why I wanted to change the location of the Aleph from the cellar of Borges’s narration to the bunker.
in a Foucaultian sense? Here, a single gaze can make everything visible for all times.
Vera Kumer JB Which is a very technical way to analyse the performance of a building. The technical device is used to visualise quantified data. AV I would like to take the discussion for a moment back to the past. When we were talking about laser scan technology it brings me to Lidar scan – a technique developed for land surveying and used today in modern archaeology. The technology creates 3D topographical models and, by using a special algorithm, it is able to recognize and delete vegetation, leaving us with the naked skin of the earth and the remnants of human activity that were covered for thousands of years by nature. The use of Lidar scan over the rain forest of Guatemala revealed for instance huge Maya structures suggesting a much higher number of the estimated indigenous population living before the invasion of the conqueror of the new world in America. This way a technique becomes a political instrument for securing of evidence. In that context I would also like to mention Forensic Architecture... VK I think it is very valuable what they do... To use these tools for humanitarian issues puts the tools that we as architects use into the public sphere and opens up new fields of discussion. CG It is a way to escape from the eye of the power. It is the only way where you can find an exit to the outside... because as far as I know there is no outside in biopolitics, right? We as architects, we know how to use those kinds of software and hardware for our artistic purpose or our own purposes so we can reveal invisible, hidden stories to public... AV Cenk, in your narration you are switching the home of the Aleph from a cellar to a bunker. Does it do something to the narration? CG The panoptic prison model locates the eye of the power that sees everything in its center. Contrary to this, in the one man bunker you are prisoner of this concrete body and at the same time you have these openings to all sides... VK ... so you are the eye and the prisoner in one... CG ... so this is somehow a contrast to the concept of power... JB ... yes and somehow not. When you are outside you still don't know if you
VK Did you go to Gallitzinberg in order to find a place to visually narrate the story of the Aleph? CG No.. it just happened. I went there a couple of times with my friend for a walk and when I saw this bunker I started to read the book Der Schirach Bunker by Alexander Haide. The more I got to know about it the more I became interested in the specific history of that place. It was absurd that Schirach was hiding treasuries and art collections in an underground bunker.. that was my inspiration. VK When you mention the art collection I think about that storage space Freeport, I think in Geneva. Somebody once said it is the biggest exhibition, the biggest museum in the world but you can’t see the art work, it is invisible. JB I would like to put two quotes next to each other and hear your opinion on them. The first one is from Borges: Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe.
Remnants of the Schirach Bunker in the woods of Gallitzinberg
Isn’t the drone the perfect disciplination machine
The second one is out of Foucault in Discipline and Punish (1975): Der perfekte Disziplinarapperat wäre derjenige, der es einem einzigen Blick ermöglichte dauernd alles zu sehen.
JB The topic of visual perception has always been treated in a dualistic way. On one hand, it is understood as an objective process of gaining reality. The eye as a purely receptive instrument. And on the other side it has been considered as a very subjective process. Everybody has his own filters and is perceiving things differently. What I think is that between these positions there is another layer. In every society, there seems to be a certain kind of gaze, a collective code of perception. This gaze is not defined by the visual apparatus of the human body. It is formed by the Zeitgeist of a generation. So, it is neither a purely objective nor subjective way of visual perception. VK Our gazes are very much controlled. What and how we see, is based on a continuous development and influences. They are trained very well in how to see something precisely. I don’t think we are so aware of that. The scientific gaze, medicine and military respectively, blends into another spectrum, but there is much more user awareness of how the machine shapes the production and perception of the specific image than in everyday life. Regarding our own perception, experiences, age, culture etc. shape our vision. The machinic gaze is shaped by an algorithm behind it. But referring to the machinic gaze and its inherent “high-tech flavour”, it might not be as “new” as we sometimes think it is. Especially, if we cut it down to the very specificities of the different media types and the way the images are produced and consumed. Think of visual toys of the 19th century for example, which had to be driven by hand cranks since there were no motors available, yet we see a very strong involvement of the user’s body and the machine while producing the image. Or, think of the camera obscura, also a “machine” of its own kind: a machine that incorporates, it “swallows” the body of the user completely. By using this special device, his or her body becomes an integral part of the apparatus, it doesn’t “work” if nobody is using it. Today, I see much less embodiment and much more abstraction when thinking of the machinic gaze. There is a different way of how to relate to each other. JB So you would agree that technological change is shifting the way we are perceiving the outside world? VK Totally. The internet, to mention just one example, is a medium to another world. We live three lives a day. And you see that people are experiencing a city completely differently. Sometimes you are at a concert and people are filming that and you are, like, Wouldn’t you like to listen to the concert?
Point Cloud Cave
VK Regarding the disciplination apparatus Foucault is talking about, visibility is treated as an ambivalent topic. While the panopticon is a machine to make the prisoner visible, the guard is invisible. In this case visibility is a trap, to quote Foucault. Isn’t the drone the perfect disciplination machine in a Foucaultian sense? Here, a single gaze can make everything visible for all times. Additionally, even if it is not there, above you, the mere possibility of its presence has a disciplinating effect! Another example is the laptop camera that today everybody covers with a sticker, just in case someone is watching. The way this dispositif of control takes on a life of its own fascinates me! The Borges quote makes me think of a room covered in mirrors, where you can see infinity at all angles. And that’s a different situation. I think Borges approaches the term of visibility from a uni-dimensional and monistic perspective – the person in the cellar with his own perception of the world – , whereas Foucault deals with visibility in this antagonistic way, taking institutional, political and historical aspects into account.
JB I was thinking about the example of a city where you haven’t been yet and you want to get to a very specific spot and in order to do so you plan your way via Google maps. Even after you have switched off your phone you perceive the way to the point you want to get in a very different way because you once had the photo-realistic Top View. VK … and you didn’t have to work yourself through the surroundings or orientate yourself in the streets. I think something gets lost. CG I don’t see it that negative. You do orientate yourself but with the help of the machine. The eye of the camera is like an extension to our body. Of course, the fact that Google maps give you the fastest way to drive from A to B is a program of our control society that wants to increase efficiency.
I was thinking about the example of a city where you haven’t been yet and you want to get to a very specific spot and in order to do so you plan your way via Google maps. Even after you have switched off your phone you perceive the way to the point you want to get in a very different way because you once had the photo-realistic Top View.
Jérôme Becker AV It is a detail of your work, Cenk, but there is a moment at the beginning of your movie when the spectator sees the machine and sees the baby. CG Every individual is a production of a specific time and its mindset. That is also what the bunker refers to. When you are inside, you are part of the history but you are not active. You are frozen in that minute. AV I cannot remember. What was first: the machine or the baby?
CG The scene starts in that the machinery makes the baby. (....) I would say the human was there first. JB And who will be the last? CG The machine will be the last. (...) Borges’s story can be seen today as trans-humanism... I see it like that. As an age of singularity, of technological development, when one will be able to transcend, detach his body from his mind and be in this crowd where he can see everything without distortion or confusion. He will become one. JB That reminds me of the last Blade Runner, where the villain transforms into a kind of cyborg, after he lost his sight... He has that digital head of Medusa, a swarm of cameras spreading around his head, which is kind of first step towards a total view. There are some parallels to Borges. JB I have a last question to you... one of your favourite movies? VK Decasia by Bill Morrison from 2002. It is a movie that was developed as visuals for an opera. Morrison got the material from old Nitro films from archives (which were discontinued as they are very dangerous because of self-ignition when stored above 50° Celsius). You can see the decay of the material of the filmstrip. Sometimes the state of the material becomes part of the narration, for example in the case of a scene with the boxer who fights against a mysterious enemy, the decay of the film. These images fascinated me.
Borges’s story can be seen today as trans-humanism... I see it like that. As an age of singularity, of technological development, when one will be able to transcend, detach his body from his mind and be in this crowd where he can see everything without distortion or confusion.
CG My favourite film is Matrix. I love the whole trilogy but the first one is my top top top. Nr. 2 is 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her from Godard... JB Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain. I really like the aesthetics of the 70s and this crazy dada narration which I think is really unique. AV Ulysseus Gaze... it's about this filmmaker, who crosses the Balkans on his way home. It's war time and he's searching for three lost reels of the Manaki brothers... the region's first gaze.
Point Cloud, Camera Flight from top to ground and threw JubilĂ¤umswarte
Point Cloud Details of the Forest Floor of Gallitzinberg, Shadows and Vegetation
02 - PART 2
Spatial Overview Narrative
WATCH THE MOVIE
You would wander in the woods and step on a corner of a collapsed bunker (...) or all of a sudden you would be welcomed by an entrance of a bunker appearing to you behind a tree branch. This gave me the strong feeling of walking literally on top of a history that one doesn’t have access to any more …an incredible feeling in midwinter, being all alone in nature that is occupied and layered with many stories. (...) For me film as media is the best way of creating freedom, surprising yourself with unexpected imagery, to merge many unrelated stories, to abstract history, to create future, or to tell a story that is already told… Cenk Güzeliş
Film Stills (0:08-0:41), Cenk Güzeliş. 2016. The Aleph.
Laser Scanning Positions on Gallitzinberg
When It came to the design process of my version of the Aleph, my biggest inspirational force has become the exhibition that took place in AZW, curated by Ingrid Holzschuh & Monika Platzer. An incredible architectural book "Wien. Die Perle des Reiches" emerged from it, showing the historical visions of Nazis on the future of Vienna. Amongst them you find many insane mega structures of architecture. An absurd vision that is detached from reality, using the urban fabric of Vienna as a canvas! Erasing the history and urban fabric with their own megalomaniac visions, which is not in any way close to reality, a science fiction story that actually was planned in past. In that sense, my version of the Aleph displays architecture in mega scales which makes it obviously a fictional story. Giant structures in black and white. Server rooms, digital grids that simulate sky, a mega crack to the core of the earth, a mega structure that captures that crack from which the machinery generates human bodies, the future, the past, and the present…labyrinth, protection shields (...)
Film Stills (5:24-8:14), Cenk Güzeliş. 2016. The Aleph.
Thus I provided myself a laser scanner to take my documentation to another level which is in 3D, in order to look at the site made of millions of points with different information. This Bunker would be shown as a Portal to the Aleph (...) Technology in that sense helped me a lot to make a scene that is in transition from reality to an imaginary dream-like world. A digital model which is adopted from reality could enable my digital camera to fly in many impossible ways.
Film Stills (2:09-2:38), Cenk Güzeliş. 2016. The Aleph.
This scene of transition from real footage of Bunker to the Pointcloud model of Bunker is crucial to the film. Here, the camera that was filming until that very moment from a human point of view is detaching itself from the rules of physics. There is a switch of perception from the body of the observer to a digital world and later on towards the imaginary world, when the bunker becomes the portal to the Aleph and the viewer already sees the labyrinth of the narration coming. One can metaphorically see each point of the point cloud model already as different versions of the Aleph, as each point has its own coordination that in their ensemble form the abstraction of something physical. Cenk Güzeliş
MAGAZIN An exhibition space for contemporary architecture in Vienna.
Current Exhibition: MAPPING ‘SOCIAL ARCHITECTURE’: between Search and Effect by MARLENE WAGNER Exhibition 06.10.-24.11.2018 Film Screening & Midissage 31.10.2018 Panel discussion 23.11.2018 Finissage 24.11.2018
Panel Discussion for the exhibition Building Weather by Markus Jeschaunig © Jerome Becker
How I started hanging out with home by Space Popular © Eva Sommeregger
MAGAZIN location at Weyringergasse in Vienna © Jerome Becker
MAGAZIN was founded by the Verein für zeitgenössische Architektur in March 2018 and is run by Jerome Becker, Matthias Moroder, Florian Schafschetzy and Eva Sommeregger. MAGAZIN presents the work of young local and international architects in solo exhibitions that are especially conceived for the spaces in the Weyringergasse location - framed by corresponding publications and lectures. MAGAZIN a space for contemporary architecture.
Weyringergasse 27/i A - 1040 Wien info [at] architektur-im-magazin.at architektur-im-magazin.at opening times during an exhibition: Friday 15:00 - 18:00 Saturday 15:00 - 18:00 and by appointment
AUGSTRUCTION No More Plans
Architecture graduate Garvin Goepel recently reconstructed Corbusier's South Wall of Ronchamp, by using no plans but only his Augmented Reality Apps for Mircrosoft Holo-Lense and Apple I-Phone. He has discovered a new construction method. A method that will illuminate 2D-drawings and the need for skilled labour. He calls this new method - Augstruction. Augstruction allows you to determine complex tasks and to understand structural relations through simplified and accessible methods in an very intuitive way. In this project, he focused on the assembly of non-standard prefabricated elements based on an optimized structure with a feedback loop that allows you to integrate imprecision into the design. The project was not designed in drawings but in a non-linear process that allows the integration of new information during the Augstruction phases. This project was executed by non-professionals. Even children were able to assemble structural relations intuitively and playfully with Augstruction, whereas they would have never been able to understand these relations in a conventional 2D drawing of the same geometry. Augstruction makes a division between the exactitude of the space to be built and the method by which it is constructed.
ÂŠ Garvin Goepel
WATCH THE MAKING OF Augstruction, 2018
04 Eleni Boutsika-Palles is an architect and artist born in Athens (GR) and currently living in Vienna (AT).
She obtained a Diploma in Architecture from the National Technical
University of Athens, a Diploma in Scenography from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and attended the Art & Science masterâ€™s degree programme at the Unversity of ApEleni Palles
plied Arts in Vienna. She has worked in the fields of architecture, theatre and film developing a passion for speculative thinking. Her artistic work constitutes of poetic arrangements and site-specific installations in various scales. She is currently a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna pursuing a deeper understanding of what she calls metanarratives of desire.
An Essay in Ugliness
On cinematic dystopias Eleni Palles
“Things, objects, machinery play a major role in these films. A greater range
of ethical values is embodied in the decor of these films than in the people. Things, rather
1_ Sontag, Susan, The imagination of disaster, Commentary magazine, Issue from October 1965, p.42.
than the helpless humans, are the locus of values because we experience them, rather than people, as the sources of power. According to science fiction films, man is naked without his artifacts. They stand for different values, they are potent, they are what gets destroyed, and they are the indispensable tools for the repulse of the alien invaders or the repair of the damaged environment.” 1
Applied pessimism Since the very early years of the cinema, the sci-fi genre has walked hand in hand with design to conceive and assemble the new worlds that so often hold a key role within the plot. Especially in cases engaged in near-future dystopian storytelling, architecture is weaved as an indispensable character within the narrative underlining its sociological aspects. Although architecture is an inherently optimistic venture, one can say that the composition of cinematic dystopias introduces the dark side of the discipline. It is indeed and invitation to identify the problematics of the present, calculate the failure rates of the currently suggested solutions, multiply this by a hundred and eventually produce the corresponding imagery. Kind of an applied pessimism, contradictory to the optimism suggested by ‘visionary’ architecture.
Figure 1_ Twelve Monkeys directed by Terry Gilliam (1995). Although part of the film's plot takes place in 2035, Gilliam and production designer Crispian Sallis agreed that everything in the future would be pre-1996 materials. They used things that had an everyday quality and turned them into something still recognizable for the viewer. For example a doorknob made out of an old sander or a vacuum cleaner turned into a flashlight. This approach offers a future that feels lived in to the point of being broken down. It was a wonderful way to build a truly awful world.
Figure 2_ Playtime, directed by Jacques Tati (1966). Tati's set was one of the first subtle critiques of the marriage between urban renewal as a policy and modernism as an architectural ideology that created the banal modern city.
Figure 3_ Brazil, directed by Terry Gilliam (1985). here the protagonist is part of a bureaucratic apparatus that runs an urban settlement. The city, spatially reminiscent of public housing projects, is a Fordist dystopia where the services are inefficient and cumbersome and state control is panoptic.
The cinematic dystopia made its appearance in the motion pictures already at the early twentieth century. Films like Aelita (1924) and Metropolis (1926) dealt with a large number of urban and social issues that were incorporated into their narratives. Problems pertaining to the urban poor and social unrest, generational conflicts, vices and virtues of technology and contemporary doubts about the redeeming power of religion were some of their basic themes. Around the middle of the century and while trying to leave two large wars behind and reinvent the city, films like Alphaville (1965) and Playtime (1966) engaged with the architectural metamorphosis towards the modern city and its critique. The postmodern cinematic dystopia is instilled with the themes of the compression of space and time. In widely discussed films like Blade Runner (1982) and Brazil (1985), the city of the future is depicted as a scrambling of the most sordid physical aspects of the urban present. Foucault's notion of a panoptic society, where central authority is constantly watching its subjects, is prevalent in the cities of Judge Dredd (1995) and the Twelve Monkeys (1995), while movies like Logan's Run (1976) and The Fifth Element (1997) reveal the dystopia that is embedded in every utopian dream, once pushed to its logical conclusion.
Figure 4_ Judge Dredd directed by Danny Cannon (1995). Originally a comic, Judge Dredd is the executor of justice in Mega-City One, which has often been referred to as Plato’s Republic in twenty-second century America, with the Judges as its philosopher-kings or guardians and the Law as its Forms. Indeed, the Judges are strkingly similar to the guardian class of Plato’s Republic – male and female.
Figure 5_ The Fifth Element, directed by Luc Besson (1997). The comics' creators Jean 'Moebius' Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières, whose comics provided inspiration for parts of the film, worked on the production design. The buildings in this future are inspired from both metabolist modular apartments from the 1960s, and at the same time from the futuristic designs of the architect Antonio Sant'Elia in from the 1910s. The costumes were exclusively designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Figure 6_ Black Mirror, TV Series (2011-). The series portrays exaggerated cases of future modern societies, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.
2_ Fitting, Peter, Unmasking the Real? Critique and Utopia in Recent SF Films, R. Baccolini, & T. Moylan (Eds.), Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination, Routlege New York, 2003, p.155-166.
3_ Suvin,Darko,The SF novel in 1969, in Nebula Award Stories, edited by James Blish, Doubleday New York, 1979, p.158. In Suvin's opinion, the focus of the genre lies in encouraging new ways of thinking about human society. Suvin has labeled this idea of subversive thinking as cognitive estrangement. Those works of SF that could be characterized as using cognitive estrangement rely on no one particular hypothesis, but instead on the cognitive presentation of alternative realities that directly contradict the status quo.
The past decade there is a growing affiliation towards the sci-fi genre spanning from film to popular TV shows like Black Mirror (2011-) and Alternate Carbon (2018-). Their nightmarish sentient cities base their dystopic character on the radical distortion of human interaction among themselves and with their physical surrounding. The incessant improvement of special effects and post-production manipulation of the footage broadens the spectrum of visual possibilities and allows even more radical approaches to the dark side of ‘progress’.
Critical dystopias Such fictive cinematic cities can be reviewed and further scrutinized as critical dystopias to offer engaged critics that extend beyond the strictly formal qualities of the literary utopia and that can evaluate recent dystopia2. Retaining from the utopian tradition that Darko Suvin has famously called ‘cognitive estrangement’ 3, critical dystopias proffer a new world in which the familiar is defamiliarized by being presented outside the dominant interpretive paradigms, from new perspectives and in novel contexts, in which the unthinkable is thought and presented as real and in which the technologically imaginable is realised in many of its unintended consequences. A critical dystopian approach would thus enable a meaningful deconstruction of the built environment and the societies that have inspired and produced it. In these cases architecture becomes the physical manifestation of the social and political background that also creates the story’s heroes and villains. All the unattractive dystopias put together for filmic purposes deliver a pertinent critique on failed urbanism and although they rarely develop systematic theoretical arguments, they can open up imaginative vistas, push ideas to their limits and provide new vocabularies to help make better sense of our surrounding. For the better understanding of the above,this essay further focuses on two filmic examples, whose cinematic space can be evaluated as a critical dystopia. These two films are Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men (2006) and although at first glance they have little in common, they both base their narratives on a failed society set in the failed urban environment that the latter one has produced.
Figure 7_ Logan's Run, directed by Michael Anderson (1976). Despite the strong premise of the script the film suffers from its production design which is rather unconvincing and fails to produce the illusion of a possible future. In fact, in a number of scenes it’s obvious that the city of the future is a shopping mall in Dallas. Every few years there are rumors of a remake of the movie for which one can only hope.
Figure 8_ Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (2017). The area outside the city is a patchwork of solar thermal power plants similar to the current Ivanpah facility in California. But they all appear to be dormant. It looks like war may be behind that.
Anton Furst's Gotham City
4_ Interview with the New York Times on June 18, 1989, Article titled 'Batman Prowls a Gotham Drawn From the Absurd'.
Figure 9_ The Pinewood Studios where parts of Gotham were built in real size.
Figure 10_ Hugh Macomber Ferriss (1889 – 1962) was an American architect, illustrator, and poet. In his book 'The Metropolis of Tomorrow'(1929) he combines stunning renderings along with his writings in a study of the aesthetical as well as the psychological impact of the skyscraper in the cityscape. Here, the cover of the book with one of Ferriss' sketches.
Batman’s hometown city was well known from the comic books and the 60s television series. But it wasn't until the 1989 movie, that the city was given a whole new character. Production designer Anton Furst reinvented Gotham as ‘a stygian Babylon of emaciated alleys and big bruising towers, all murk, sleaze and psychopathic architecture’. 4 Furst's sophisticated slum gave Gotham its own protagonistic role in the movie. Its architecture is bold and freed from constraints of practical functions. The whole set was designed and created from scratch in the Pinewood Studios in England, which provided freedom and flexibility for uncompromising artistic expression.
Gotham is in a sense Ferriss’ metropolis gone wrong, or perhaps gone according to plan5, it has become an art-deco city in decline, whose grandeur can however still be glimpsed through the layers of crime and decay.
5_ Anderson, Darran, Imaginary cities, Influx Press, London, 2015, p.457.
9 Figure 11_ One of Furst's sketches, overview of Gotham with the Cathedral imposing in its skyline
Figure 12_ Scale model of Gotham City
For the overall ominous atmosphere of the city, Furst drew most of his inspiration from Hugh Ferriss; imposing monolith cities as illustrated in his manifesto of visual urbanism The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929).
6_ Stamp, Jimmy, Batman Demolishes Penn Station in Chip Kidd’s Death by Design Retrieved Feb 10, 2013, Life Without Buildings: http://lifewithoutbuil dings net/2012/06/de ath-by-design.html.
The buildings are a layered palimpsest of architectural elements and details from different epochs and styles. Furst mixed references from the work of architects like Otto Wagner, Albert Speer, Antonio Gaudi and Shin Takamatsu and played with scale and light to create the sinister city that ‘permeates the consciousness of those who live there until themselves become a part of the urban fabric, a fractional embodiment of the city itself’6. (Stamp 2009) The Flugelheim Museum, as one battleground between Batman and his enemies is called, is a brutalist construction with Viennese aspects to its tea room and brownstone arches. Its design was broadly influenced by the style of the Japanese architect
Figure 13_ Gotham's City Hall, like other buildings, is much indebted to Fascist architecture, and particu larly to the style of Albert Speer
Shin Takamatsu, who fascinated Furst. The last confrontation scene between Batman and Joker and the 'rescue of the girl' takes place in the Gotham Cathedral, of which Furst spoke with particular relish. The design was inspired by an architect whose work, like Gotham City itself, is a bizarre, uncategorizable mix of periods: Antonio Gaudi. Indeed, it's specifically indebted to one of his most famous buildings, the Sagrada Familia, or Church of the Holy Family, in Barcelona.
''What fascinates me about Gaudi is that I can never position him in time,
he's not a modern architect, even though he lived this century, and he's not a classical architect. He's an extraordinary one-off anomaly between the old and the new, between Art Nouveau and Gothic; and I wanted a slightly Gothic feel to the cathedral. I mean, it's a period piece, closed and allowed to rot because God left the city long ago and no one goes to church anymore. So I thought of a Gaudi building like the Sagrada Familia and then stretched it into a skyscraper, then put pieces of medieval fortress into it to make it heavier, then finished the top with a Victorian witch hat, like the roof of the house in 'Psycho.' '' 7
Throughout the whole move the vertical stratification of space offers a mise en scĂ¨ne of extravagant art and set design, architecture and travel vehicles. This juxtaposition of styles combined with oppressive uncanny geometry became the dystopic urban setting upon which the superhero narrative is weaved. Furst told Time Magazine in 1989:
Anton Furst's sketch for the Gotham Cathedral: â€œI basically stretched Gaudi into a skyscraper and added a castle feel which was especially influenced by the look of a Japanese fortress."
''We imagined what New York City might have become without a planning
commission (...) Imagine a skyscraper with a piece of pure Italian Futurism beneath Otto Wagner or Louis Sullivan. I took an almost Dadaist approach and augmented it as much as I possibly could, so that we have a kind of potpourri, an incredible mixture of styles that I thought might develop its own style. I wanted the city to be an essay in ugliness but a fascinating essay, one with a strong sculptural interest.'' 8
7_ Interview with the New York Times on June 18, 1989, Article titled 'Batman Prowls a Gotham Drawn From the Absurd'. 8_ Ibid.
14 Shin Takamatsu, Ark Nishina Dental Clinic in Kyoto ,1983.
Figure 14_ Gotham's Landmarks: the City Hall on the left and the Flugelheim Museum on the right.
Figure 15_ What Furst designed and created was a set that was the biggest since Cleopatra in 1963, and undoubtably the last time that much money would be spent on a set. The set took five months to build with a team of 200 people working on it.
Children of Men
Figure 18_ The opening scene of the film sets the time in the future without a bluntly obvious extreme change of the urban lanscape.
Figure 19_ The office where the protagonist works is also nothing very innovative, minor improvements in technology can be found in the gadgets and props.
Figure 20_ The Battersea Power Station has been used over the years for numerous films among others the Monty Python's 'Meaning of Life' and Terry Gilliam's 'Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus'.
Figure 21_ Cuarón tried to get the infamously anonymous street artist Banksy on board for the project as artistic collaborator.“ Banksy was not yet the famous Banksy that he is now, and I dug him,” Cuarón says. He wanted to have the graffiti artist work on the film in some way.Banksy didn’t sign on for the film but reportedly gave per mission through his manager to use one of his works, a stencil of two cops smooching, in the background of one of the shots.
A similar dadaist approach (far from reason and logic, how can i not be didactic here?) in composing the urban as filmic space is taken in science fiction movies when using existing architecture as shooting locations. In these cases the collaging of scale and style to achieve a coherent ‘future’ is composed in the cutting room. After all, the future cities have too been developed from the present. Employing existing architecture within speculative fiction films can actually add to the effectiveness of the aesthetic outcome and their dystopic character. The familiarity of the setting is meant to terrify by introducing the unsettling idea that this ‘could happen to us’. Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men is set in a near-future dystopia in which women are unable to have babies and the youngest person on earth is 18 years old. As far as its setting is concerned, Cuarón rejected technologically advanced proposals and downplayed the science fiction elements of a futuristic setting. He chose to focus on imagery reflecting the contemporary period and managed to create a very successful example of a cinematic adaptation of real life as a near future. The existing locations lend an air of layered authenticity to the speculative fiction, thus enhancing the terror effect. In the film, warnings of a future London comes in the creeping terror of how recognisable it all is. The movie is filled with scenes where the set design seamlessly fits into the story. The London streets, that manifest what an unforgiving place society has become, stand in direct contrast with the environment of the few privileged, one of which the hero Theo Faron visits. The disused Battersea Power Station serves as the exterior for this location, while the entry hall is part of the Tate Modern.
Setting this official building inside an old power station is a direct nod to this museum, which displays modern-art exhibits in the former Bankside Power Station. Just a few shots of this expensive art and luxurious accommodations say plenty about the outof-touch officials. The 2027 London of the film that we see isn't that different from what we experience today. There are subtle improvements in technology, but those rarely stand out as obvious ploys to make it futuristic. When the protagonist steps into a Fleet Street coffee shop in the opening scene, it feels similar to a business that you might see today. Everything feels more run-down and gritty, but it isn't clear just how far this world has fallen into ruin. It's only after the bomb explodes and we learn more about the situation that we truly understand the horrors of this future. The images of crowds of refugees pleading with the army to let them through are shocking and don't feel that far off from the present day.
Cuarón chose locations from the London area that wouldn't seem out of place in 2027. By including as much contemporary iconography as possible, the result is a film that is not so much futuristic as it is future-proof. He recruited his longtime friend and frequent partner Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki to be his cinematographer. Together, they hit on the idea of loading up the background with information — graffiti, placards, newscasts — and thus limiting the kind
9_ Riesman, Abraham, Future Shock, New York Magazine, December 26,2016.
of expository dialogue that often plagues dystopian stories. Cuarón recalls Lubezki declaring:
"We cannot allow one single frame of this film to go without
a comment on the state of things.'' 9
12_ Anderson, Darran, Imaginary cities, Influx Press, London, 2015, p.346.
Figure 22_ One of the most striking aspects of Children Of Men is the way in which the British government is engaged in all-out war on refugees from other countries. Politically, even in a world where no new children have been born for 18 years, overpopulation is still a concern because of the depressed economic reality, and 'fugees' as a contraction of refugees is as dehumanising a the term 'migrants'.
“It’s not about the future. I don’t care about the future, the whole intent of the movie was to
make an adventure that goes through the state of things today. “ 10 Cuarón claims
Indeed the set does not provide the spectator with images of the future, but rather defamiliarizes and restructures the experience of his own present. The 2027 world that we see isn't that different from what we experience today. There are subtle improvements in the technology, but those rarely stand out as obvious ploys to make it futuristic. As one of Children of Men’s biggest fans, Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek, put it in a documentary featurette that accompanied the DVD release, 'A good portrait is more you than you are, yourself, and I think this is what the film does with our reality … It simply makes reality more what it already is.'
Figures 23_24_ The only official encountered in the movie is Theo's cousin, who runs the so-called 'Ark of the Arts', where works by Pablo Picasso and Banksy are displayed alongside one another inside the Battersea Power Station. As a cheeky detail, a giant inflatable pig is tethered outside, as on the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals (Figure 25). We also see the statue of David, peglegged by a metal rod after it was apparently damaged before it could be rescued. As Theo asks Nigel why he preserves these works when no one will be around to enjoy them in another hundred years and he responds that he just doesn't think about that, the visual metaphor of the crutch is a good one in this hall of recovered artworks.
Exaggerated Presents Cinematic urban dystopias are products of their own time. Whether they come out of the pages of a literary work or acquire their narrative power through the sequence montage and assembly, they basically reflect their exaggerated present. The same way Metropolis having been produced in the late 1920s reflects the fears and shift of dynamics of the inter-war period, Black Mirror does not miss a chance to hint at the repercussions of our already cyborg existence and the radical shift of our appropriation of the surrounding environment. The recycled urban pastiche as it was envisaged by sci-fi subgenres in the 70's and 80's sensed the reverberations of overpopulation and foresaw what has today become the prevailing image of many megacities. 25
Figure 25_The city of Chongqing in southwestern China, is the most populous city in the world and its development very much resembles what was a few decades back imagined as a dystopic cityspace. Its urbanization seems an uncoherent layering of buildings on top of other buildings, bridges, gargantuan costruction sites, haze, pollution and humidity. photo by Anna Lerchbaumer
If we were to look today for signifiers of the futureâ€™s past, we wouldnâ€™t have to look farther than the popular architectural websites. Gas stations, business parks, housing complexes and holiday resorts are only a few of the sites that offer prophetic glimpses into possible futures inscribed in the present. Urbanists refer often to these developments as fortified privatopias erected by the privileged to wall themselves from the imagined resentment and violence of the multitude. From the ruins of the old ideal of the city as a space of urban citizens, emerges a sphinx-like Generic City11 of urban consumers.
11_'The Generic Gity is the city liberated from the captivity of centre, from the straitjacket of identity. The Generic City breaks with the destructive cycle of dependence: it is nothing but a reflection of present need and present ability. It is the city without history.' Rem Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL, Monacelli Press New York, 1995,p.1250.
Figure 26_Still from the movie High-Rise (2015) directed by Ben Wheatley and based on the novel by J.G. Ballard (1975). The film is set in a luxury tower block during the 1970s. The wealthy upper echelons of society live on the top floors, while more common families live on the lower ones. The architect of the complex inhabits the penthouse on the 40th floor overlooking a baroque roof garden, being in direct contrast with the otherwise brutalist estate. J.G. Ballard addressed the urban condition in most of his novels, encompassing topics as diverse as ecological crisis, technological fetishism, urban ruination and suburban mob culture. In Novels like Concrete Island (1974) and Vermillion Sands (1971) he foresaw the 'privatopias' that most urban developments around the world proudly showcase.
12_ Not long after Darwin’s visit on the island in 1836, Joseph Hooker instigated the alteration of the Green Mountain at the invitation of the British Admiralty aiming to turn one of the most desolate islands in the world into a lush landscape. A fully functioning ecosystem was achieved through a series of chance accidents or trial and error within just a few decades.
13_ 'Travel is very useful, it exercises the imagination. All the rest is disappointment and fatigue. Our own journey is entirely imaginary. That is its strength.' Louis-Ferdinand Céline, 'Voyage au bout de la nuit', 1932
Their aesthetics can be disorienting, you could be in Athens or you could be in Singapore. Emerging in more and more cities, these developments uncouple space from living experience and declare themselves independent from time or history. If such developments are the cities of the future, how will their inhabitants live? How can their expectations be shaped by these environments? Given the gravity of the issues brought up by contemporary architecture, the exercise and study of this type of applied pessimism and the creative compilation of exaggerated presents is able to produce the necessary nonsense material, that can question and redefine concepts like urbanity, nature, corporeality, communication.
The first rule for understanding the human condition is that we live in secondhand worlds.’ 12 The one thing all speculative futures have in common is that nothing is actually new. Futurists do not and cannot make the future, it is about the awareness of the now and the always. Good futurists have an eye for signifiers of future past. Everything in
‘Our world like a charnel-house is strewn with the detritus of dead epochs’ 13
Figure 27_Still from the multi-screen film installation written, produced and directed by Julian Rosefeldt. Among others 13 characters, Cate Blanchet impersonates a worker in a garbage incineration plant reciting architecture manifestoes. In this still she recites Coop Himmelblau's manifesto from 1980 'Architecture must blaze'.
Architecture must blaze.
"Films are like four dimensional puzzles..."
Jeff Desom is a writer, film director and visual effects artist. Combining live-action, found footage and digital effects, his work has been selected and awarded at a number of festivals around the world. He works between Luxembourg and Los Angeles.
Anna Valentiny and JĂŠrĂ´me Becker in an interview with the Luxembourgish filmmaker and author Jeff Desom
Holorama: An Optical Theatre, 2015
From my point of view as a filmmaker, architecture can serve a few purposes: It can be the extension of acharacterâ€™s inner state. It can be an arena that physically pins a set of characters up against each other. Or it can be a purely atmospheric presence. Technically speaking it is the stage and as such it plays an integral part in how you block a scene.
WATCH THE MAKING OF Rear Window Timelapse, 2012
Jeff There is definitely a strong feedback between the two art forms. From my point of view as a filmmaker, architecture can serve a few purposes: it can be the extension of a character’s inner state. It can be an arena that physically pins a set of characters up against each other. Or it can be a purely atmospheric presence. Technically speaking it is the stage and as such it plays an integral part in how you block a scene. When it comes to contemporary architecture I would have a hard time naming a particular style or movement. But I do take notice of it when I see it. Especially in films and more specifically the science fiction genre. Of any genre, sci-fi has the most vivid dialogue with contemporary architecture. I would be interested to know in how far films that depict the future are influencing the aesthetics of up and coming architects. A lot these films reflect the Zeitgeist and happen to be very cold and dystopian. Sometimes when I drive past a newly constructed house, I try to imagine it with wear and tear a few years down the line. In some of those buildings you can definitely see a hint of dystopia. Especially in the range of affordable housing, I’m sometimes shocked at how beauty has been sacrificed over functionality. It shouldn’t be a luxury. We need beauty around us, it is inherent to our well-being. If only there were more films like Spike Jonze’s Her. It’s a rare display of future living spaces that feel very warm and optimistic.
It (Architecture) can be the extension of a character's inner state.
Holorama: An Optical Theatre, 2015
WATCH THE MAKING OF
Adato We can observe an actually very architectural approach in your Rear Window Time Lapse (2012): a reconstruction of the always fragmentarily rendered background in Hitchcock’s film. You collaged the windows of an a priori chronologically developed narrative into a panorama of swarming simultaneous stages, you made a totality out of parts.
Holorama: An Optical Theatre, 2015
Adato In architecture, design techniques have in recent years fundamentally changed with the introduction of 3D software from film and animation. The theme of this Adato, however, is also based on an interest in film that is shared in general on the architecture scene. Do you as a film maker keep up with what’s happening in contemporary architecture?
HOLORAMA (2015) Inspired by the great tradition of optical theatres, Holorama brings several iconic scenes from the history of cinema back to life. From Twin Peaks to Apocalypse Now, from E.T. to The Big Lebowski via Jason and the Argonauts, Holorama gives these famous scenes a third dimension using a simple holographic process based on a semi-transparent screen, mixing the image of an extremely faithfully built model with the characters extracted from the original scene. A new perspective and a tribute Holorama: An Optical Theatre, 2015
Jeff Films are like four dimensional puzzles that we put together in our heads. However, the nature of time and space makes it impossible for us to ever see all the pieces at once. The bigger picture only exists in your mind and even then, it is subject to flaws in your memory. As I was revisiting Rear Window, this incompleteness became an itch I couldnâ€™t scratch. And so, I set out to reconstruct a whole from the fragments that Hitchcock had left us. I like to compare it to a form of film restoration or even archaeology. You carefully dig up the pieces of the puzzle and then try to reassemble them in a way that seems closest to the original state. On a purely spatial level, Hitchcock was extreme in that his camera never changes position when he looks out into the courtyard. The camera pans and tilts, but it does so from the exact same spot. This eliminates any parallax and makes it possible to reconstruct the space as if it had been scanned. A process not very different from the way you would shoot a panorama on your phone.
Films are like four dimensional puzzles that we put together in our heads. However, the nature of time and space makes it impossible for us to ever see all the pieces at once. Adato What role does the analogue model play in your work? In the installation Holorama (2016) or the music video Mr. Tillman for Father John Misty (2018), the function of the model goes beyond that of a purely ancillary and representational medium and becomes part of the scenario. Jeff My fascination with miniatures goes way back to a time when I would play with MĂ¤rklin trains and build those little model houses. I could see myself drive these
trains and live inside those houses. Come to think of it, most toys are mini-versions of daily objects from the world of grown-ups. From a young age, we are conditioned to use our imagination and pretend that these placeholders are as fully functional as the thing they represent. It’s not surprising that we start to project our dreams and desires into these objects. The same self-projection mechanism kicks in when we watch a film. To me miniatures and films are very similar in that regard. It only made sense to combine the two and play with that flaw in our perception. Adato What dos the relation between analogue and digital mean for your work? Jeff It’s a question that looms over many of the decisions we as filmmakers face today. Do you shoot film or digital? Is this a practical effect or will it be a computer-generated image? Every project is different and requires tailored solutions. In an ideal world, you make a choice based on certain aesthetics that you want. But when it comes down to it, time and budget tend to make those decisions for you. In my experience, the digital wins that battle ninety percent of the time, but when I get to work with installations it’s a different story. There’s more room for experimentation. And since my roots go back to a time before digital, I always look for ideas where both worlds, the digital and the analogue, complement each other. With new technologies emerging every day, it’s easy to forget the ingenuity that existed many years before computers were able to create images. Adato A theme that has kept recurring in your works right from the beginning is your treatment of different film tricks. Where does this fascination for torpedoing real conditions come from and how have you acquired the necessary skills? Jeff When I became serious about filmmaking, DVDs started to replace VHS as a new way of experiencing movies at home. Not only could you skip to any point in the timeline, but there were also these wonderful supplements like making-offs, deleted scenes or director’s commentaries. They really opened my eyes to a whole new world I didn’t know was out there. It was like a magician showing you how the trick
WATCH THE VIDEO
Video Still, Jeff Desom for Hauschka. 2012. Radar.
X ON A MAP (2009) A short film about eggs and maps. It's not easy
WATCH THE MOVIE
being a great discoverer when everything has been mapped out. starring Sean Biggerstaff, Vicky Krieps & Jean-François Wolff as Christopher Columbus written & directed by Jeff Desom produced by Bernard Michaux, Lucil s.àr.l. cinematographer Jean-Louis Schuller production designer Christina Schaffer editor Amine Jaber music
Film Still, Jeff Desom. 2009. X on a Map.
works. It was addictive. Later the advent of the internet brought forth tutorial videos and forums that allowed me to learn pretty much any skill I needed. For me, a lot of that was visual effects and special effects related. With a computer and the right software, I was able to make my zero budget DIY home-video production truly shine. It felt very liberating and to this day I keep searching for ways to use visual effects in unusual ways.
It’s the mystery that draws us in as we continue to seek out fictional worlds and accept them as alternate realities even though their artificiality is proven knowledge. Adato The visual effects you used in Mr. Tillman are not simply part of an augmented representational technique which aims to pretend the reality of the fictive. From that moment on, in which the scenery floats like a little island in a vast nothing, the
illusion is explicitly treated as illusion. Can we read that as a manifesto for the artificial element in film? Jeff Indeed Mr. Tillman is very explicit about its artificiality. It riffs on a very common motive: the frame within a frame. In fact, it is something that you see a lot of in Rear Window and that has probably influenced me. It poses the question where reality ends and where the illusion begins. Is the theatre screen that border? Or is it your eye’s retina. Or is the border even further within your mind. Film is a safe place to teeter on the edge of those questions. It’s the mystery that draws us in as we continue to seek out fictional worlds and accept them as alternate realities even though their artificiality is proven knowledge. Adato How do you see the contrary positions, such as in the Dogma 95 movement, that bans all tricks and special effects in order to counteract an increasing alienation from reality in the cinema?
Jeff Since its earliest beginnings cinema has tricked us into believing that a series of still images are moving. To say one makes films without the use of tricks is an illusion in itself. Dogma 95 brought forth some terrific films but as a movement it always seemed like more of a stunt to me. They proclaimed rules to break rules, we call that trolling today. I do understand the frustration that a movement like Dogma 95 was born out of. In fact, I’m not seeing enough counter-movements in response to the current state of an industry dominated by blockbusters. However, I don’t think that the use of effects is indicative of falseness. If a film manages to elicit something that rings true to us, does it matter what tools were used in order to do bring forth that sense of veracity? Look at 2001 A Space Odyssey. Kubrick’s masterpiece is widely considered one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history. From sets to costumes, almost everything you see on screen was manufactured in one way or another. The film also pioneered a great number of visual effects. And yet, to this day, it deeply resonates with the human experience. Adato With the development of ever higher-performance software packages for digital image synthesis, the entire potential in film has long been exploded. Everything imaginable seems to be representable. How do you cope with this situation of potential limitlessness? Jeff It is true that processors have become more powerful but at the same time resolutions for deliverables have grown exponentially. I still feel like I waste the same amount of time waiting for the computer to render as I did ten years ago. Truly limitless resources still heavily rely on a generous budget and an army of CG artists. I can’t say that I have access to those kinds of means yet. Even if I could produce every image my mind conjures, I think the sheer mass of mediocre imagery in my head would deter any viewer. As storytellers, it is our job to filter out a lot of that junk before we have something half-way ok to show for. Limitations can be annoying but they help make choices and create a point of view that is unique to us. Adato You are an author, film maker … do the projects you develop and realise on your own have priority, or those during which you are integrated into a team? At what point in the production process is know-how demanded, and how might we imagine an average working day of yours? Jeff It really depends on the project and no two projects are the same. Sometimes I am the one to initiate a project from the ground up, other times I come on board after a script has already been written. In my day to day, I’m usually working on a few projects that are at varying stages of the process. I might pitch a music video while I’m in pre-production on a TV pilot and also give my notes on visual effects for a commercial in post. Production itself is a more irregular occurrence. On days
when I’m out and about on a film set I have barely any time for other projects. Collaborating with a team is intense and requires my undivided attention. In that time, you come across a lot of very unique challenges and you have to constantly think on your feet to come up with solutions. The clock is ticking and you can quickly waste a lot of resources making a bad decision. But if everything works out more or less it’s a blissful experience. Adato Your website includes after Music Videos, Short Films and Commercials the category Installations. What is left of film when the camera is left out?
It is true that processors have become more powerful but at the same time resolutions for deliverables have grown exponentially. I still feel like I waste the same amount of time waiting for the computer to render as I did ten years ago. Jeff Good question. The camera is the most obvious tool in a filmmaker’s kit. You can even recognise certain directors by the way they compose a shot or how they move the camera. It’s a well-known observation brought forth by the auteur theory. Part of the fun in my installation work is to strip away that sense of authorship and give some control back to the viewer. Hitchcock would probably turn in his grave if he saw what I did with Rear Window. Without a camera, the viewer’s role becomes a much more active one. By extension we also loose the cut, the least obvious but most quintessential property of film. What we are left with is something that has a lot more in common with virtual reality than film. Adato In your work we’ve seen homages to Méliès, Kubrick and of course Hitchcock. Are there any contemporary authors, film makers or artists who inspire you or with who you’d like to work with in the future? Jeff Currently, I find computer games to be the most exciting domain in the arts. I don’t play much myself but I keep a close eye on what game designers are creating. If the opportunity ever arose I would definitely consider a collaboration with an artist in this field.
Video Stills, Jeff Desom for Father John Misty. 2018. Mr. Tillman.
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Facsimile Eine vergessene Episode über die räumliche Beziehung zwischen Architektur und Film
Jérôme Becker ist Universitätsassistent an der Plattform future.lab (Fakultät für Architektur und Raumplanung der TU Wien). Nach dem Architekturstudium studiert er Philosophie an der Universität Wien und arbeitet an eigenständigen Projekten im Bereich Architektur. Mit dem Forschungskollektiv »Bedroom Exodus« untersucht er die räumlichen Aspekte der Praktik des Ausruhens, insbesondere dem Zusammenhang zwischen Schlafplatz und Wohnort. Als Mitbegründer des MAGAZIN Ausstellungsraum für zeitgenössische Architektur kuratiert er Einzelausstellungen junger, internationaler Architekturschaffenden in Wien.
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Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Facsimile (2004)
Die Dreharbeiten sind nicht sehr aufwendig. Kurze zusammenhanglose Szenen. Kein Dialog. Keine Storyline. Ein gewöhnliches Hotelzimmer mit hellen Holzmöbeln vor einer beige gestreiften Tapete und ein banales Großraumbüro mit halbhohen Cubicles unter dem strengen Raster der weißen Akustikdecke. Die beiden Kulissen bestechen nicht gerade durch ihre Besonderheit. Es ist vielmehr ihre Austauschbarkeit, die sie interessant macht – ein Merkmal, das wohl auch Auswahlkriterium für den Cast der rund hundert Schauspielerinnen und Schauspieler war. Ganz normale Menschen in ganz normalen Situationen zu porträtieren, scheint das Hauptmotiv des Filmsets zu sein. Es sind nebensächliche Details, die in ihrer absurden Übersteigerung für leichte Irritation im vorherrschenden System der Banalität sorgen. Einmal ist es der viel zu große Haufen an geschredderten Papierschnipseln vor dem Schreibtisch, ein anderes mal sind es die weißen Halskrausen der um das Bett herumstehenden Anzugträger. Der Film der eigentlich keiner ist heißt Facsimile. Regie führt eine Architektin.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Slow House (1990)
Die Rolle der Leiterin einer Filmproduktion ist ein Debüt für Liz Diller, dabei ist es nicht ihr erster Exkurs in das Feld der ephemeren Künste. Die New Yorker Architektin und ihr Partner Ricardo Scofidio haben sich seit der Gründung ihres gemeinsamen Büros Diller + Scofidio im Jahr 1979 mit zahlreichen Videoinstallationen und Performances an den verschwommenen Rändern der Architektur positioniert. Diese Ausflüge in benachbarte Disziplinen sind zum Teil auch in konkrete Bauaufgaben mit eingeflossen, wie beispielsweise im Slow House und beim Umbau der Brasserie, wo multimediale Installationen als essentielles Element des Entwurfes geplant wurden. Eine klare Linie zwischen der darstellenden und der bildenden Kunst ist im Werk von Diller + Scofidio nie lesbar gewesen. Facsimile scheint jedoch das kinematografischste Projekt zu sein, obwohl das gedrehte Material nicht für austauschbare Kinoleinwände und zahlendes Publikum bestimmt ist. Die Aufnahmen sind Teil einer präzisen Inszenierung an einem konkreten Ort. Sie werden ausschließlich auf einem speziell angefertigten Bildschirm an der Glasfassade des Moscone Convention Centers in San Francisco abgespielt.
Film Stills, Diller Scofidio + Renfro. 2004. Facsimile.
Der LED-Screen ist fünf Meter hoch und neun Meter lang. An einer fahrbaren Abhängung aus Stahlträgern gleitet er langsam an der abgerundeten Kontur des Eckgebäudes entlang. Eine auf der Rückseite des Displays montierte Videokamera ist auf die Innenräume des zweiten Stockwerks des Kongressgebäudes gerichtet und überträgt das Live-Bild direkt auf den zur Straße orientierten Monitor. In geringem Tempo scannt die Apparatur genau die Stelle des Gebäudes ab, die sich gerade hinter
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dem Bildschirm befindet und projiziert das eigentlich von außen nicht sichtbare Innenleben hochaufgelöst in den Außenraum der Howard und 4th Street. Durch die unmittelbare Kopplung des aufnehmenden Mediums mit dem ausstrahlenden, wird eine direkte Durchsicht von außen nach innen inszeniert. Das Duo aus Kamera und Bildträger funktioniert – zumindest in eine Richtung – wie ein bewegliches, digitales Fenster. Dieses räumliche Setting bildet erst das übergeordnete Narrativ in das sich die zu Beginn beschriebenen Einzelszenen einfügen. Insgesamt sind es 24 Stunden an Footage. Die voraufgenommenen Videos werden zufällig unter das Live-Material gestreut. Die natürliche Richtung und Geschwindigkeit der Bewegung des Monitors, sowie die Belichtung bei unterschiedlichen Tageszeiten sind am Set genauestens imitiert worden, um das Vortäuschen von Zeitgleichheit und Authentizität der am Moscone Center gezeigten Filmaufnahmen aufrecht zu halten. Unbemerkt mischt sich so das künstlich arrangierte Setting des Schauspiels unter die realen Handlungen der alltäglichen Nutzung. Es kommt zur Ununterscheidbarkeit zwischen der Kopie und dem Kopierten, zwischen Faksimile und Original.
1_ Edward Dimendburg Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture After Images. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2013, S. 102.
2_ Nach Étienne Souriau definiert das Afilmische die unabhängig von den kinematographischen Tatsachen existierende Wirklichkeit, während das Profilmische für die gefilmte objektive Wirklichkeit z.B. bei Dokumentarfilmen steht.
2015 wird der Bildschirm nach nur 11 Jahren Laufzeit mit ständigen Unterbrechungen abmontiert. Das Projekt ist an den kostenintensiven Wartungs- und Reparaturarbeiten gescheitert. Um eine lukrativere Nachnutzung als Werbescreen zu verhindern, machen Diller und Scofidio in einem offiziellen Schreiben an die Betreiber darauf aufmerksam, dass es sich bei Facsimile um ein Kunstwerk handelt. Die Installation dürfe ausschließlich zum abspielen der durch die Architekten bestimmten Inhalte eingesetzt werden. Eine Verwendung zu Werbeoder Marketingzwecken sei aus diesem Grund rechtswidrig. Sie berufen sich mit dieser Forderung auf ein früheres Dokument aus dem Genehmigungsprozess der zuständigen Behörde der Stadt San Francisco, wo steht: Facsimile’s screen is not a raw material, and it is not a Part of the Moscone Center’s architecture. … In Facsimile, the screen acts more like a painting than the wall behind it. … This screen has no use apart from effectuating the artist's contemplation of the final work, which is conceptual, not utilitarian in purpose. As a result, a court would likely find that it is art.1 Dass es sich um eine künstlerische Intervention und nicht um eine integrative Erweiterung des Gebäudes handelt, ist tatsächlich schwer zu bestreiten. Die Installation ist ein reines Add-on, ein Fremdkörper. Trotzdem besteht eine starke Verbindung zur Architektur. Diese äußert sich in Form einer Überlagerung von zwei unterschiedlichen Dimensionen des Raumes. Facsimile ist ein parasitäres Gebilde, welches mit seinem Wirt in einer Art Austausch steht.
Zwei Dimensionen von Räumlichkeit Obwohl ein an der Fassade entlang fahrender Bildschirm vorerst nicht wirklich als raumbildend erscheinen mag, so ist Facsimile doch alles andere als unarchitektonisch. Der aufgespannte Raum ist nur nicht physischer Natur, sondern ein virtueller. Was Diller + Scofidio erkannt haben ist, dass das Medium Film eine Räumlichkeit besitzt, die sich in die Architektur integrieren lässt. Mit der linearen Aneinanderreihung von gebautem Raum, Kamera und Bildschirm kommt es im Liveübertragungs-Modus zu einer Überlagerung des aufgenommenen und am Screen abgespielten filmischen Raumes mit dem physischen Raum, der sich real und unabhängig von der Präsenz der Kamera dahinter befindet. In der Theorie des Dokumentarfilms wird dies über das besondere Verhältnis des Profilmischen zum Afilmischen definiert.2 Dabei entsteht bei Facsimile nicht nur eine Kohärenz zwischen Aufnahme und filmunabhängiger Realität. Mit der zusätzlichen Gleichschaltung von Zeit und Ort der Wiedergabe, kommt es zu einer direkten räumlichen Durchdringung von Video und Architektur. Die Entscheidung, den Bildschirm an der Fassade entlang fahren zu lassen, ist hier von elementarer Bedeutung. Der Effekt der Überlagerung wird für den Betrachter erst durch die Korrelation der kontinuierlichen Veränderung des Bildfeldes mit der gleichmäßigen Bewegung des Bildträgers unübersehbar.
Präsenz des Absenten Dafür, dass jenes Element des Konzeptes, welches dem dauerhaften Betrieb der Installation schließlich zum Schicksal wurde, eigentlich unverzichtbar war, gibt es noch einen weiteren Grund. Die horizontale Bewegung der Bildschirm-Kamera-Apparatur bewirkt eine kontinuierliche Erschließung dessen, was außerhalb des Bildfeldes liegt, und ist Auslöser der damit verbundenen visuellen Effekte im realräumlichen Kontext des Moscone Centers. Mit dem offscreen space wird generell im Film ein nicht sichtbarer und doch präsenter Raum definiert3, der gezielt als Objekt der Spekulation des Zuschauers genutzt werden kann. Die Erkenntnis, dass der filmische Raum größer ist als es das gegenwärtige Bildfeld suggeriert, bewirkt seine virtuelle Ergänzung durch den Betrachter. Aus Erinnerung, Erwartung und Imaginiertem bilden sich visuelle Hypothesen über das Unbestimmte, welche das angeschnittene Bild räumlich weiterdenken. Im Beispiel von Facsimile steht das Bildfeld in einem solchen relationalen Verhältnis zum Off. Die Umrisse des Monitors sind nicht die Grenzen des Bildes. Das gezeigte Ensemble ist kein geschlossenes System. Es definiert sich vielmehr durch seine Offenheit zum Außerhalb des Bildes. Die Kadrierung ist eine Art bewegliche Maske, bei
der sich der ansichtige Raum in ein umfassendes homogenes Größeres verlängert. Diese Offenheit – und darin liegt die Subtilität des Projektes – nutzen Diller + Scofidio um die am Filmset inszenierten Szenen als blinde Passagiere in das Gebäude zu schleusen. Virtuelle Eindringlinge aus der Vergangenheit, die sich mit den Handlungen der Gegenwart vermischen und darauf warten ertappt zu werden.
3_ Vgl. Gilles Deleuze: Das Bewegungs-Bild. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp 1997, S. 33f.
4_ Gabriel Esquivel: Affect and E-Motion (MX Design Conference, Form + Desire: <Linked Projects> potencial, Universidad Iberoamericana, Santa Fe, Mexico City, 2007) S. 3f.
Um die Grenzen zwischen Schauspiel und Realität noch stärker zu verwischen, wurde über die Möglichkeit nachgedacht, bei weiteren Dreharbeiten auf professionelle Schauspieler zu verzichten und stattdessen zusätzlich inszenierte Aufnahmen am Set mit den tatsächlichen Angestellten des Kongressgebäudes zu schießen. Das perfekt inszenierte Vortäuschen von Authentizität erinnert an eine spezielle Kategorie des reality television’s, welche im US-amerikanischen Fernsehen seit den frühen 80ern als Structured Reality oder Scripted Reality für hohe Einschaltquoten sorgte. Die Gerichtsshow The People’s Court (1981-93; 1997-heute) revolutionierte das Genre, indem die Episoden mit Laien statt Schauspielern gedreht wurden. Der Effekt ist der eines gesteigerten Grades der Echtheit, mit dem der Voyeurismus der Zuschauer gefüttert wird. Die daraus entstandene Kultur der Doku-Soap scheint eine direkte Referenz für Diller + Scofidio gewesen zu sein. Mit ähnlichen Tricks haben sie ein Wechselspiel zwischen Wirklichkeit und Inszenierung konstruiert, dessen man sich als Betrachter erst einmal bewusst werden muss. So könnte man vom Titel des zeitgleich geplanten Pavillons für die Schweizer Expo 2002 den Begriff des Blurrings ableiten, um damit das wohl stärkste Motiv am vielleicht prägendsten Moment ihrer Karriere zu bezeichnen. Mit der Installation Facsimile verschwimmen nicht nur Innen und Außen, Realität und Fiktion oder Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Das Motiv des Blurring gilt auch für die Relation zwischen Film und Architektur, einer Beziehung, die allgemein betrachtet eher eine unausgeglichene ist. Bei einem Großteil der Begegnungen zwischen den beiden Disziplinen handelt es sich um einen Gastauftritt der Architektur als räumliche Kulisse im Kontext des Filmes. Regisseure wie Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard oder Wes Anderson und Filme von Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) bis High-Rise (2015) bezeugen den Stellenwert der räumlichen Parameter des Drehortes, sowie den Einfluss des jeweiligen Architekturdiskurses auf die Kulissen. Die umgedrehte Rollenverteilung beschränkt sich jedoch auf wenige Ausnahmen und Facsimile kann als eine davon gezählt werden. Verwunderlich nur, wenn man bedenkt, dass die Liaison Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts vielversprechend begonnen hat.
Architektur und das bewegte Bild Als um 1890 die ersten Kinematographen von Reynaud, Anschütz und den Gebrüdern Lumières entwickelt wurden, hat sich das Motiv des bewegten Bildes zeitgleich in der Architektur des Jugendstils etabliert und Nachahmung gefunden. Die Interaktion von zweidimensionalen Mustern mit dreidimensionalen Ornamenten im Stiegenhaus von Victor Hortas Hôtel Tassel zeugen beispielsweise von einem direkten Einfluss des ästhetischen Konzeptes der Bewegung und der Filmund Projektionstechnik auf die zeitgenössische Baukunst der 1890er Jahre.4 Wie projizierte Schatten einer sich bewegenden Figur, verweisen die geschwungenen Linien an der Wand, hinter dem ähnlich ornamentierten Treppengeländer, auf die neuen Möglichkeiten zur Aufnahme und Wiedergabe von fotografischen Bewegtbildern. Die neu entwickelten Techniken resultieren in einer räumlichen Übersetzung der abstrakten Idee der Bewegung. Was ist daraus geworden? Während das Medium Film es perfekt versteht den gebauten Raum für seine Zwecke zu nutzen und ein weitreichendes Repertoire an Aneignungsstrategien entwickelt hat, bleibt die Ratlosigkeit der Gegenfrage: warum tut sich die Architektur mit dem bewegten Bild so schwer? Mit der Malerei hat es doch gut geklappt: die Trompe-l’oeils der Wand- und Deckenbilder haben sich in der Renaissance zu einem raumerweiternden Entwurfselement der Architektur entwickelt. Man könnte hier also auf gewisse Muster zurückgreifen. Nur das mit der Bewegung scheint der Architektur, die seit Jahrtausenden der Starrheit verdammt ist, noch etwas suspekt zu sein. Facsimile ist in diesem Kontext höchstens so etwas wie eine Vorschau, ein Trailer für einen Blockbuster, dessen Releasedatum noch nicht bekannt ist.
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Victor Horta: Hôtel Tassel (1894), Foto © Bastin & Evrard
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WATCH THE VIDEO
Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Blur Building (2002) Foto © DS+R
Film Stills, Jean-Luc Godard. 1963. Le Mépris.
Haben Sie Gedanken, Ideen oder Projekte rund um das Thema Architektur + Archäologie mit denen Sie zur kommenden Adato beitragen wollen? Wir freuen uns auf Ihre Textvorschläge (Deutsch, Französisch, Englisch) und Arbeiten bis zum 20. November an Anna.Valentiny@valentiny-foundation.com.
Sie machten einen Versuch die Archetypen des Bunkers oder Billboards als kulturelle (Aus)wüchse zu dekodieren. Sie sezierten, Archäologen gleich, die Schichten kultureller Reminiszenzen in der Bemühung das Wesen des gefundenen Produktes menschlichen Lebens auf der Erde zu begreifen.
Venturi und Virilio, so grundsätzlich verschieden ihre Themen zu Beginn auch wirken mögen, befassten sich beide mit Baukörpern, Architekturen und Typologien - einmal an der Küste der Bretagne, einmal in der Wüste Nevadas - die, wie von Außerirdischen auf die Erde geschleudert oder Ruinen einer vergangenen und vergessenen Zivilisation gleich, am Ende der Welt gestrandet scheinen. Auf den ersten Blick kontextlos, unverständlich.
ADATO 2018.3 – Architecture + Archeology
CALL FOR PAPERS
Ende des Sommers erreichte uns die traurige Nachricht vom Ableben zwei der einflussreichsten Denker des 20. Jahrhunderts: Der Philosoph und Medienkritiker Paul Virilio verstarb am 10. September in Paris. Acht Tage später folgte ihm der US-amerikanische Architekt und Theoretiker Robert Venturi. Virilio erlebte als Kind in Nantes Bombardierungen durch die alliierten Truppen. Ein Trauma, das ihn zeitlebens prägen und seine Arbeit beeinflussen sollte. 1975 erschien mit Bunkerarchäologie sein wohl bekanntestes Werk. Venturi gelang 1972 mit Learning from Las Vegas, das in Zusammenarbeit mit Denise Scott Brown als Reisedokumentation entstand, der internationale Durchbruch. Es handelt sich um eine Case Study. Am Beispiel besagter Wüstenstadt und durch die Imagination einer Handvoll Studenten wurden neue Wege gefunden die moderne amerikanische Stadt, die des Autos, zu kartographieren. Darüber hinaus emanzipierte sich Learning from Las Vegas zum Standardwerk der Postmoderne, die in ihrer oft ironischen und noch öfter sehr ernst gemeinten Formenspielerei bis heute keinen wirklichen Abschluss gefunden hat.
At the end of the summer we heard the sad news about the death
As a child in Nantes, Virilio experienced bombing by Allied
As fundamentally different their themes might seem at the
November 2018 to Anna.Valentiny@valentiny-foundation.com.
English), PHOTO SERIES and ARCHITECTURE PROJECTS, by the 20th of
We are looking forward to your TEXT PROPOSALS (German, French,
ce of the found products – the “detritus” – of human life on earth.
the strata of cultural reminiscences in the endeavour to grasp the essen-
billboard as cultural (out)growths. Like archaeologists, they dissected
They made an attempt to decode the archetypes of the bunker or
ld. At first glance, context-less, incomprehensible.
of a lost and forgotten civilisation, seem stranded at the end of the wor-
Desert, which, as if hurled onto the planet by extra-terrestrials or ruins
with typologies, one time on the coast of Brittany, another in the Nevada
start, Venturi and Virilio both dealt with buildings, with architecture,
endpoint, even today.
intended – playful improvisation with forms has never really found its
which in its frequently ironic – and, even more frequently, very seriously
Las Vegas" came to stand alone as the standard work of postmodernism,
can city, the city of the automobile. Over and above this, "Learning from
a handful of students, new ways were found to map the modern Ameri-
the example of the said desert city and profiting from the imagination of
travel documentary with Denise Scott Brown. It is a case study. Taking
breakthrough in 1972 with "Learning from Las Vegas", co-authored as a
most famous work, "Bunker Archaeology" Venturi made his international
influence his work. 1975 was marked by the publication of probably his
troops. A trauma that haunted him throughout his life and was to
Eight days later he was followed by the American architect and theorist
philosopher and media critic Paul Virilio died on 10 September in Paris.
of two of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century: the
Learning from Las Vegas, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, 1972
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NEXT ISSUE 3_18
A DAT O
PREVIEW Ende des Sommers erreichte uns die traurige Nachricht vom Ableben zwei der einflussreichsten Denker des 20. Jahrhunderts: Der Philosoph und Medienkritiker Paul Virilio verstarb am 10. September in Paris. Acht Tage später folgte ihm der US-amerikanische Architekt und Theoretiker Robert Venturi.
Architecture + Archeology
Virilio erlebte als Kind in Nantes Bombardierungen durch die alliierten Truppen. Ein Trauma, das ihn zeitlebens prägen und seine Arbeit beeinflussen sollte. 1975 erschien mit Bunkerarchäologie sein wohl bekanntestes Werk.
Cover of the German Version of Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi, Scott Brown, Izenour (Original: 1972)
Venturi gelang 1972 mit Learning from Las Vegas, das in Zusammenarbeit mit Denise Scott Brown als Reisedokumentation entstand, der internationale Durchbruch. Es handelt sich um eine Case Study. Am Beispiel besagter Wüstenstadt und durch die Imagination einer Handvoll Studenten wurden neue Wege gefunden die moderne amerikanische Stadt, die des Autos, zu kartographieren. Darüber hinaus emanzipierte sich Learning from Las Vegas zum Standardwerk der Postmoderne, die in ihrer oft ironischen und noch öfter sehr ernst gemeinten Formenspielerei bis heute keinen wirklichen Abschluss gefunden hat. As fundamentally different their themes might seem at the start, Venturi and Virilio both dealt with buildings, with architecture, with typologies, one time on the coast of Brittany, another in the Nevada Desert, which, as if hurled onto the planet by extra-terrestrials or ruins of a lost and forgotten civilisation, seem stranded at the end of the world. At first glance, context-less, incomprehensible. They made an attempt to decode the archetypes of the bunker or billboard as cultural (out)growths. Like archaeologists, they dissected the strata of cultural reminiscences in the endeavour to grasp the essence of the found products – the “detritus” – of human life on earth.
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