The Cultural Landscape Foundation has released the latest documentary in its ongoing Oral History series, which documents the lives and careers of pioneering landscape architects through in-depth interviews, archival footage, and on-site videography of their most noteworthy projects. The most recent edition focuses on Laurie Olin, recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and one of the nations most esteemed landscape architects. Through 29 segments amounting to over 90 minutes in total, the documentary charts Olin’s seminal career from his early years in Alaska and at the University of Washington, to his professorship and the University of Pennsylvania and his work on such influential projects as New York’s Battery Park City, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle. The documentary series is part of the foundation’s multifaceted Pioneers of American Landscape Design initiative, which aims to identify and promote significant designed landscapes and explore the personal and professional histories, design philosophies, and significant projects of their designers. Past subjects of the Oral History project include M. Paul Friedberg, James van Sweden and Carol R. Johnson. Check the foundation’s website for additional information and a wealth of highly informative videos.
Posts tagged with "Film":
Dante Ferretti: Design and Construction for the Cinema Museum of Modern Art The Roy and Niuta Titus Galleries and the Film Lobby Dante Ferretti: Designing for the Big Screen The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters Through February 9, 2014 When you enter the Film Entrance to the Museum of Modern Art at 11 West 53rd Street, you are greeted by two large lions. No, you are not 11 blocks south at the New York Public LIbrary, nor are you in Venice, Italy. You are entering the world of Dante Ferretti, the 70-year old multi–Academy Award–winning art director of films, opera, exhibitions, and even two New York City restaurants, Salumeria Rosi (design inspired by a scene in Federico Fellini’s Satyricon). Large, muscular, physically confident objects dot the floor—the clock-face from Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011), Art Deco chandeliers from Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975), and Arcimboldo figures comprised of vegetables, fruits and flowers (Milan World Expo, 2015). But these are actually lightweight, ephemeral objects made of fiberglass and not meant to last beyond the creation of the film or duration of the event. The clock and chandeliers were on the cusp of being tossed when curators Jytte Jensen and Ron Magliozzi salvaged them. We then descend from the lit ground floor to the darkened subterranean levels where the movie theaters nest and magic happens. Blueprints and models midway down indicate Ferretti’s working practice. Particularly noteworthy are his dividing lines for elements to be built in 3D butt up against a green screen for digitally rendered CGI. As film viewers, we see them seamlessly. The lowest level features a cinematic labyrinth, which echoes Ferreti’s own proclivities for intricate passageways and mazes, let alone the labyrinth of the mind. It is easy to get turned around in a labyrinth, but as Ferretti is our guide, we can rest assured that we will find our way to the end. This immersive 12-screen video maze is technically ingenious using Gerriet’s EVEN “front and rear” pure white screen fabric with identical distribution of image on both sides. Intentionally, the visitor can see projected images both from the correct orientation as you would seated in a cinema or in front of a monitor, and backwards. Upon seeing the screens for the first time just before the exhibition opening, Ferretti declared they would have to be changed since the material appeared too opaque. But once he saw the projection, he was amazed that the image penetrated to the verso without dimming or distortion. The BenQ MX822st projectors deliver short-throw, bright, sharp contrast images. No matter how many visitors are inside the labyrinth, no shadows are thrown. Scenes from many of Ferretti’s films are shown, and with the clips clocking in at different lengths you’ll never see the same combination twice. (This is the first time that MoMA insisted that clearances from all actors and guilds be obtained, rather than simply the studios, so it is doubtful that this sort of undertaking will take place again.) Mirrors at the end of the wall seem to extend the labyrinth to infinity. In fact, the original 1939 Titus lobby by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durrell Stone had full-length mirrors [see photo at top]. The walls are lined with paintings, which is how Ferretti starts the process. He paints wide-screen canvases depicting key moments in the film with central perspective, pronounced light sources, grids and catacombs, often in a palette of dark reds and browns. The directors then respond to Ferretti’s concept, whether Fellini, Scorsese, Pasolini, Franco Zeffirelli, Anthony Minghella, Kenneth Branagh, Neil Jordan, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Julie Taymor, Claude Chabrol, David Cronenberg, Jonathan Miller, or the many others for whom he has created worlds of the imagination for their films. Ferretti divides his output into three categories, which are represented in the screenings of 22 features shown in MoMA’s theaters: the historic “period” films (Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, 1975 and The Aviator, 2004) “fantasy” (Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1988 and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, 2011) and “contemporary” (Elio Petri’s Todo Modo, 1976 and Scorsese’s Casino, 1995). What does Ferretti surround himself with in his studio to create these designs? Classic Italian modernism.
DOC NYC New York City November 14-21 IFC Center and SVA Theater This year the 4th DOC NYC documentary film festival boasts 132 films and events: 73 feature-length, 39 shorts, and 20 panels. Tucked into the schedule are films about architecture, design, and the arts amongst a wide array of subjectmatter. Only one, If You Build It, was also seen at the recent Architecture & Design Film Festival, so here’s your chance to view a new crop and to see the ones you’ve missed. Rebuilding the WTC documents the process of rebuilding at Ground Zero for six years with time-lapse photography, paintings, drawings, and interviews with the working men and women on site. Tiny: A Story About Living Small chronicles one couple’s documentation of their efforts to build a micro-house from scratch in the Colorado mountains raising questions on sustainability, good design, living in houses smaller than the average parking space, and countering the trend of MacMansions. In Michel Gondry’s (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) charming self-drawn animated film on linguist Noam Chomsky, Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?, he cites Frank Gehry’s work as 3D Mondrian. Toxic Hot Seat unpicks the history and consequences of regulations mandating fire-retardants for furniture, starting with the tobacco industry’s successful lobbying to blame house fires on upholstered furniture rather than lit cigarettes, and the resulting deadly chemicals inhabiting our interiors. PHOTOGRAPHY. Photographer Ishiuchi Miyako muses on the personal artifacts of Hiroshima victims: “To most people they’re only objects, but to me I see them as living creatures. I’m willing them into existence, saying, ‘please become visible’” which she does in her haunting photographs that infer the stories of their owners in Things Left Behind. Another photographer, Saul Leitner, deals with the triple burden of clearing an apartment full of memories, becoming famous in his 80's and fending off a pesky filmmaker in In No Great Hurry. A mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later, is now the subject of an exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery (through December 14) and the film Finding Vivian Maier. ARTS. If you followed the trail of moving the 340-ton granite boulder across 105 miles, through 22 cities to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last year for Michael Heizer’s installation of Levitated Mass suspended over a V-shaped walkway, here’s a chance to follow the process. 88-year old outsider artist Al Carbee makes art featuring Barbie dolls in Magical Universe, while Grey City depicts the struggle of a Brazilian graffiti art whose works are painted over by the city of Sao Paulo. The graphic mindscape and journals of Leonardo pop to life in the third dimension in Inside the Mind of Leonardo: 3D, and three Italian master tailors display their disappearing Old World Craft in Men of the Cloth. MUSIC. On the music front, there is Punk Singer Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre (and wife of Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz); Revenge of the Mekons, the British punk-turned-country bank that’s been together since 1977 and is admired by Luc Sante, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Harron, and Fred Armison (who was married to the lead singer); We Always Lie to Strangers about the phenomenon of Branson, Missouri, the “live music capital of the world”; Harlem Street Singer, about the blind Reverend Gary Davis, whose blues and gospel mentored members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Peter, Paul & Mary and played with Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Brown McGhee; Pleasures of Being Out of Step, a portrait of 88 year-old jazz writer Nat Hentoff, who champions the idea of free expression as the defining characteristic of the individual; the exhilarating 20 Feet from Stardom about heard-but-not seen backup singers; We Don’t Wanna Make You Dance, a twist on the 7 Up series of revisiting the same cast of a white teen funk band over time; and Mercedes Sosa: Voice of Latin America on the Argentinean singer’s 60-year career. View the full schedule here. Films and directors: Finding Vivian Maier, JOHN MALOOF & CHARLIE SISKEL Grey City, MARCELO MESQUITA & GUILHERME VALIENGO Harlem Street Singer, TREVOR LAURENCE & SIMEON HUTNER If You Build It, PATRICK CREADON In No Great Hurry, TOMAS LEACH Inside the Mind of Leonardo: 3D, JULIAN JONES Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?, MICHEL GONDRY Levitated Mass, DOUG PRAY Magical Universe, JEREMY WORKMAN Men of the Cloth, VICKI VASILOPOULOS Mercedes Sosa: Voice of Latin America, RODRIGO H. VILA Pleasures of Being Out of Step, DAVID L. LEWIS Punk Singer, SINI ANDERSON Rebuilding the World Trade Center, MARCUS ROBINSON Revenge of the Mekons, JOE ANGIO Things Left Behind, LINDA HOAGLUND Tiny: A Story About Living Small, MERETE MUELLER & CHRISTOPHER SMITH Toxic Hot Seat, JAMES REDFORD & KIRBY WALKER 20 Feet from Stardom, MORGAN NEVILLE We Always Lie to Strangers, AJ SCHNACK & DAVID WILSON We Don’t Wanna Make You Dance, LUCY KOSTELANTZ
2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street New York 212 941-2001 “Erecting a building is like making a movie….both processes involve blending light and movement into space and time. A model is like a script: at best it’s a promise and at worst it’s a safeguard. And, as with a script, a moment comes when you have to test your model against reality. You must start shooting the film, start erecting the building." —The Interior Passage We can see these starts when the two art forms come together in the 4th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinemas where 25 films will be screened through October 20. This year, the trend is toward process films that chronicle movements and initiatives (planning, education, preservation), portraits of buildings more than individuals, and Modernism referenced even when it’s not the direct subject. The festival kicks off with The Human Scale (which also opens at the IFC Center on October 18). The film asks, “What is the scale for measuring happiness in a city?” and uses Danish architect and urban design theorist Jahn Gehl’s work concentrating on the pedestrian and cyclist to pose answers. Referencing Corbusier, Gehl said, “If anybody at any time wanted to pay professionals to make a city planning idea which would kill city life It could not have been done better than what the Modernists did.” The film focuses on Copenhagen, New York, Dhaka (the fastest-growing city in the world with 1,000 new residents per day), Christchurch, NZ, Melbourne, and Chonqing, China. “You Measure What You Care About” shows how data sets of people’s behavior led to pedestrianizing central Copenhagen. Similarly, Jeanette Sadik-Khan, NYC Commissioner of Transportation, looked at how 90 percent of Times Square real estate was allotted to cars, which only accounted for ten percent of use. This statistic was flipped to give over 90 percent to people in plazas, bike lanes, and Bikeshare stations. Another side of the Bloomberg administration’s legacy can be seen in My Brooklyn, which could almost be an ad for Bill deBlasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” New York. Examining gentrification vs. diversification, the film zones in on downtown Brooklyn and the redevelopment of the Fulton Street Mall which was the third-most-profitable shopping area in the five boroughs (behind Fifth and Madison avenues). With rezoning, this vibrant retail area that catered to African-American and Caribbean populations, has been transformed into a luxury, high-rise residential area despite the promises of local developers. The real estate feeding frenzy and deal making is examined in the vein of another recent film, Gut Renovation, also from the personal point of view of a displaced white female Brooklyn resident. Frustration with the corporate world and abundant idealism led two architects, Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, to start Studio H: a design/build high school curriculum with the mantra “Design, Build, Transform” heard in If You Build It. Their approach is a practicum in design thinking, and they were invited to teach a class in rural North Carolina by a forward-thinking superintendent who was soon dismissed. (They agreed to stay on without salary.) The students learn basic tools to visualize their ideas—drawing, model-making—which were turned into inventive, practical projects like chicken coops and a farmer’s market structure for their economically depressed town. A formative influence was Miller's Cranbrook thesis project, a house he constructed in Detroit that would be deeded to a family contingent on their payment of utilities for two years but went unmet and was abandoned. He concluded that the end user has to have a stake in the process. Optimism was also a motivator of the “pilgrims and émigrés” of Cape Cod in Built On Narrow Land. This spit of land at the tip of the peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay became a haven for freethinkers, artists, and the modernist architects who gave a physical form to their lifestyle. The Bohemian Brahmans who owned large swaths of land that enabled this development was embodied by Jack Phillips (of the Phillips Exeter Academy family), an amateur architect who briefly studied with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard, and became the Pied Piper for mid-century modernism here. His instructors followed him, as did Serge Chermayeff (father of Ivan and Peter), Georgy Kepes, Paul Weidlinger, Charlie Zehnder, and other modernists and Bauhaus alumni that taught in Boston at MIT and Harvard. Gropius’s daughter Ati, and Ruth Hatch who commissioned the stunning Jack Hall–designed Hatch House are among the witnesses who lead us through this summertime oasis amidst the more conventional New England Cape Cod gabled cottages. Modernist architecture in Moscow, which was borne from a similar forward-thinking spirit that embodied the Russian Revolution, has a more problematic fate today. The title of the film, Away from All Suns!, is taken from Nietzsche who wrote: “The advent of modernity had swept away all foundations. Modernity is liberation and total destruction...What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving?... Away from all suns?” This unmooring is threatened by commercialism, illegal destruction, and new building as we are shown life behind the walls of three buildings: Ogoniok Printing Plant and Zhurgaz Apartment House (1930-35), the only surviving El Lissitzky building currently under threat; Communal Student House of the Textile Institute (1929) by I.S. Nikolaev, built to house 2,000 students and now under “restoration”; and Narkomfin Communal Apartment House (1928-30) by Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinus, considered the model for Corbusier’s Unité d'Habitation and currently on UNESCO and World Monuments Fund watch lists, is now a ruin occupied by guerrilla artists before it is turned into a hotel. We also get a brief glimpse of Tatlin’s Tower being paraded through the streets. Modernism is more cherished in a few building portraits: The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat, is a much-loved house in Lone Pine, California between Death Valley and Sequoia National Park. Commissioned by the unassuming Richard Oyler, who boldly wrote to the famous architect, charming Neutra and causing him to fall in love with the site. Neutra created an un-ornamented, post-and-beam structure with expansive glass that fit organically into the site (they even dug a swimming pool out of giant rocks in a mini-quarry). The realtor, Crosby Doe, who specializes in mid-century modern houses, said the experience of seeing the Oyler House for the first time was on par with Macchu Picchu. The house is now owned by actress Kelly Lynch and screenwriter Mitch Glazer (she is interviewed), who also own John Lautner’s Harvey House in Los Angeles. Another adored building is Fagus—Walter Gropius and the Factory for Modernity. Built in 1911 in a small town near Hannover, it was the architect’s first major building that he chronicled extensively in photographs. Light, elegant, and beautifully proportioned, it is still used as a factory for making shoe laces, run by the original commissioning family. A palace for work, Bauhaus archivist Annemarie Jaeggi said it “defies gravity.” The Interior Passage portrays a more contemporary building, Sanaa’s Rolex Learning Center at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the prestigious institute of technology. It follows the selection process from 12 invited firms including OMA, Zaha Hadid, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro through the difficult engineering tasks solved by bridge builders to make this low-slung, flowing building stand up (the large central shell was cast in one pour over two days and nights, a mammoth logistical feat involving 20 simultaneous mixing trucks). A fascinating mingling of Swiss precision and Japanese minimalism, this film doggedly stays with the process until students fill the single expansive, unbroken fluid space of undulating floors and ceilings punctuated by glass-walled and domed bubbles. It takes the library as a building type one step beyond OMA’s Seattle Public Library. Perhaps the person who is able to best put architecture into a wider context is the Pritzker Prize winner in Tadao Ando—From Emptiness to Infinity. He thinks “we have to intensively deal with the present,” and encourages a young employee to communicate more with people, rather than just his computer because “this impacts on architecture and our society. Because communication, life, and architecture belong together.”
Highrise buildings are the most commonly built form of the last century. So says A Short History of the Highrise, an interactive documentary that is a co-production of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the New York Times Op-Docs which has its premiere at the 2013 New York Film Festival and will launch on the website on October 5. It explores the 2,500-year global history of vertical living in four short films: Mud, Concrete, and Glass, which draws on the Times photo archives. The fourth, Home, is comprised of images submitted by the public. The films can be stopped at any time by swiping, pinching, pulling and tapping to dig deeper into the stories, see the backs of photos, and play games. Questions like who gets to live on the top floor and why (in Roman times, upper floors were the least desirable) are asked in rhyme: “Were these vertical experiments there for elites? Or to warehouse the poor away from the streets?” We climb the Tower of Babel, the Hakka round houses of Fujian province, and medieval Yemenese Manhattan-like mud towers before arriving at New York’s luxury-serviced Osborne, London Terrace, and Dakota built simultaneously to the multi-story tenements of the Lower East Side. All are shown in still images cleverly animated: buildings grow up, skaters glide, women wink, lights turn on, and the text is read by well-known Canadian musicians Feist and Cold Specks, as well as the series director, writer and editor Katerina Cizek. The result is a delightful, visually stunning exploration that is seemingly simple, but actually stretches both the conventional documentary form and how we depict space. This endeavor is the latest of a multi-year multi-format project of the NFB called Highrise. They have harnessed the tools of the digital revolution and fused them with tools of the social sciences, architecture, and design. Cizek has been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenDocLab as an MIT Visiting Artist, and with York University’s CITY Institute. The results thus far have been a series of web documentaries that tell tales “story by storey.” World of Highrises goes from the macro to the micro--Google Streetview aerials of countries, zooming into cities, and then specific highrises accompanied by a Wikipedia entry. We are encouraged to add to the roster. Living Proof shows that downtrodden highrise renewal is not a pipe dream. Examples of successful revitalization projects around the world are shown, narrated by architect Graeme Stewart who argues that it’s not the buildings themselves that are the problem so much as the system around the building. Cited are Hansaviertel in Berlin where a ground floor apartment was transformed into a cafe with terrace, and the facade brightened with an awning and paint. The first documentary produced, Out My Window: The Towers in the World, the World in the Towers is comprised of interactive “Views from the Global Highrise.” Called a 360-degree documentary, it uses Yellowbird multi-lens panoramic video technology to look at the “concrete-slab residential highrise buildings that are the most commonly built form of the last century. On the outside, they all look the same. But inside these towers of concrete and glass, people create community, art and meaning.” More than 90 minutes of material features 49 stories from 13 cities, “not the Parises, Londons, Tokyos” but the mid-sized cities -- Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Havana, Amsterdam, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut, Bangalore, Phnom Penh, Tainan, Johannesburg -- in 13 languages told in fragmented, non-linear fashion from the destruction of Cabrini Green in Chicago to the fallout of the Velvet Revolution in Prague, all from from very personal points of view. “One Highrise, every window a different city.” One Millionth Tower is an interactive open-source documentary which reimagines what rundown highrises can be. Many of these concrete blocks are falling apart, and considered failures. Some are torn down, some renovated, but most left to decay. In Toronto there are 2,000 such high-rise towers. In this video, a cluster of suburban Toronto towers (19 towers with 19,000 inhabitants) are matched with architects and animators. Together they envision a market, a garden, a playground in dis- or un-used spaces. On this video journey, we travel through a virtual space online in a 3D experience using HTML5, flying over a gridded ground, rather than viewing a straightforward 2D film. Utilizing Popcorn, created by the open-source web browser Firefox’s parent, Mozilla, allowed the team to add interactivity to video by linking it with social media, news feeds, and data visualizations. What you see is a series of stills accompanied by recorded conversations that are overlaid with what is re-imagined in drawings and animation. We come to understand the grim reality of the place, and the possibilities of changing that space with simple interventions--an abandoned tennis court becomes a performance arena with shallow stairs, a ravine becomes a stepped garden, a parking lot becomes a farmer’s market. Animators overlaid trees, a basketball court, bright colors, dancers, skaters, and a meditative garden. They tried to “make a photo come alive, to say `this space is alive.’ .... to slowly build the characters ... breathing and moving” transitioning from daytime to nighttime. In fact, one of these dreams actually came to pass: the Toronto residents built their own new playground. After all the brainstorming for the documetary, they applied for a grant (it took 10 days to complete the proposal) which was awarded. 90 residents together with outside help, performed the labor. In a shot from One Millionth Tower, a resident blows animated “seeds” from her hand which float across the “garden,” alight, and take root, a harbinger of the new growth that followed.
From October 16th through the 20th, Tribeca Cinemas will serve host to the Architecture & Design Film Festival, the country’s leading film festival for the architecture and design community. The festival will offer 25 film screenings, ranging in length from two to 95 minutes, each offering 15 distinct programs, in addition to panel discussions and book signings with internationally renowned designers and filmmakers. See the full schedule here and check out the full list of films with selected trailers below. Tickets go on sale October 1. Full list of films:
- ABC of Architects
- The Absent Column
- Away From All Suns!
- The Barragán House. A Universal Value
- Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty
- Building Is People
- Built on Narrow Land
- Fagus – Walter Gropius and the factory for modernity
- Grow Dat Youth Farm
- Helsinki Music Centre – Prelude
- The Human Scale
- If You Build It
- The Interior Passage
- The Latin Skyscraper
- My Brooklyn
- Not Shown for Clarity
- The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat
- Paul Smith, Gentleman Designer
- Sagrada – The Mystery Of Creation
- Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
- Subject, Theory, Practice: An Architecture of Creative Engagement
- Tadao Ando - From Emptiness to Infinity
- The Vision of Paolo Soleri: Prophet in the Desert
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County's Board of Supervisors voted to approve Disney's huge new TV and film production facility on the Golden Oak Ranch near Santa Clarita. The project is being master planned by LA-based firm, Johnson Fain, and the 58-acre "Studios at the Ranch" will include more than 500,000 square feet of studios, sound stages, offices, writers and producers "bungalows" and other developments. According to site plans submitted to the county the project's sound stages will be located on its southern side, with offices to the north. It will be completed in seven phases. According to the LA Times, the area, nicknamed "Hollywood North" and "Hollywood's Backlot," is becoming increasingly popular for filming because of its low costs and open, diverse spaces. More than half a dozen local ranches now serve as popular filming locations. More pictures and documents for the newest kid on the block below.
This Saturday evening, July 20, EZUFF, the Elvis Zapp Urban Projection Project, a mini-film festival, will have its inaugural run at the Mayles Cinema in Harlem. Its goal is to explore “art and city public life” using short experimental film to “make a link between contemporary urban forms of expression/representation and the political imagination for the city of today. It is about oblique ways to dig into present day urban cultures and imagine alternatives for the cities of tomorrow." EZUFF is masterminded by co-founders architect Andrew Macnair and multi-media artist and Mamoru Kobayakawa, along with Robert Bowen, Joke Post, David Kessler, and Kim Steele. In these moving-image explorations you can see the workings out of architectural ideas, the capturing of a moment, of visual connections, poetic explorations, and visual textures. Themes and approaches emerge such as the performative, where we experience the spaces where events take place but don’t necessarily see the event (Scala Zero [La Scala opera house], Yankees Game, Bronx); dystopia, ranging from contagion (Quarantena), waste, or a sinister hypnotic tower (Truth Tower); and music videos (I Came Home Haunted: Nine Inch Nails by David Lynch). A few flip the video images on their side 90 degrees for a vertical format (Towers, Parametric Play) solving the problem of how to show tall structures within a horizontal frame. Here are a few titles to watch for. Prop for All/if then: Arakawa+Gins - Bioscleave House, East Hampton by Robert Bowen centers on this unusual structure in East Hampton by Arakawa and Madelin Gins, a perceptual experiment that thrusts the body into architectural space. The building features an undulating, mottled floor that keeps visitors completely off kilter, a central green recessed warren, and walls of various bright colors inside and out. The film language echoes the intent of the creators: using the idea of a propeller (to literally propel the body forward), the camera spins in continuous tracking shots—right side up, upside down, sideway, interior and exterior—taking in the entire house at once, to the sounds of a chopper’s blades rotating. A second clip from this 18-minute film will also be shown where the house grows up from the ground, then disintegrates into a cloud colored dust. Patrik Shumacher, partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, made the video Parametricism, which is also the term he uses for the style of architecture based on advanced computational design techniques. In a manifesto, he has advocated for the term’s use to describe a style, as one would Baroque or Modernism. This video plays with different black and white visualizations: one linear, the others in 3D—in liquid-like black forms, in white Chicklets, another in white Lego-like chunks on an undulating surface. Forces ply the shapes into shifting elastic contours and you can imagine the firm’s architectural ideas coming to life. Gigdem Talu’s Heteroscapes focuses on the distinctive sounds of a place. Here, the “soundmarks” of Manhattan, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook are profiled with black and white video (giving more emphasis to sound than picture) that show the “reciprocal relationship with urban morphologies by creating patterns.” Enhancing footage of life on the street, the words “sound diffusion” “street rhythm” and “sound dissipation” accompany diagrams that show urban patterns, sections , and density. Close you eyes to see if you can identify the neighborhood. Ineke Liesting’s Rotating Rietveld: Schroder-Schrader House, Utrecht illustrates the harmony of composition by rotating the image of this De Stijl-style house. The composition is perfectly balanced in any direction. (Footage is very low tech, taken with a cellphone camera.) Chairarch, Australia by Glue Society is a delightful whimsy that takes colorful chairs into a blinding white snowscape by men clad in white spacesuits, which they stack and raise into an arched rainbow “because we can.” July 20, 7:00 pm Maysles Cinema 343 Malcolm X Blvd /Lenox Ave between 127 & 128 streets (212)537-6843 Future showings: September 17, 7:00 pm Spectrum Space, 121 Ludlow St., 2nd Floor, New York 10002
At Salone del Mobile in April, French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec demonstrated what it’s like to take a spin in a BMWi. Quiet Motion, the Bouroullec brothers’ interactive interpretation of the sustainable electric car brand, was an installation open for visitors to climb onto revolving platforms to relax as the world leisurely passed around them. Situated within a picturesque cloister of a Milanese monastery, four spinning cork platforms rotated slowly and quietly as, according to the brothers, “an allegorical interpretation of movement and contemplation.” The designers construed the concept of sustainable mobility with materials such as fabrics made of the sustainable wool yarn used as seat upholstery in the electric car and lightweight carbon columns produced using renewable energy resources. To reference materials used in car design, blue fabric strips surrounded each of the four carousels and leather covered the platforms. Bouroullec brothers-designed Aim lamps hung from the ceilings and illuminated the area at night. Materials commonly associated with furniture and interiors such as cork and fabrics were also utilized.
In 2005, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles became one of the most notable buildings in U.S. history to be torn down. Now a new documentary, After 68: The Rise and Fall of the Ambassador Hotel, is hoping to tell its story. Its filmmakers are raising money to finish the project through a Kickstarter campaign. Directed by Camilo Silva, the film explores the history of the hotel, once a symbol of LA's opulent westward expansion. The Ambassador hosted, among others, Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Salvador Dali, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin, and every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. And of course Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at its Coconut Grove nightclub, a location that also hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies. In 2005 the beleaguered hotel was torn down to build a $600 million school complex for the LA Unified School District. The film digs into the building's past and the controversy over its end, and captures the oral histories that are some of its only remaining memories. The Kickstarter campaign ends in two weeks.
Los Angeles-based landscape architect and indie filmmaker Evan Mather is crowd-funding his to way to his first feature-length film. After having produced a series of experimental time-lapse videos about the built environment—including 12 minutes to Vegas— he’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund From Sea to Shining Sea, a 105-minute documentary celebrating the diverse American landscape. Moviegoers will be able to cruise the Interstate Highway System from coast to coast through the extensive video collage, which Mather hopes to complete some time next year. Commentaries and factoids will be layered on from noted landscape architects, geographers, journalists, and those Kickstarter supporters who have similar cross-country jaunts to share. Based on the trailer, it looks like the film will be one part simulated science class, one part awe-inspiring imagery and one part epic road trip. So if you don’t have the days/weeks that it would take to drive across, this may be the next best thing.
Hammer Projects: Dara Friedman Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles Through April 14 Miami-based artist Dara Friedman is known for her black and white films of dancers dancing through city streets. For her film Dancer (2011) she used a 16mm camera to examine urban space and individuals within these spaces, filming improvisational dancers in a variety of styles, from flamenco, to ballet, to belly and break dancing, and more. In her work, Friedman also investigates accepted concepts of performance-based art. Her grainy films sometimes capture the sounds of street traffic, and she sometimes dubs music that is not always in rhythm with the dancers’ movements. For her first exhibition in Los Angeles, Friedman has prepared an 8mm film that is a follow-up to Dancer.