The Architecture of Film Seminar, Spring 2015

And so it begins… This is a film seminar in the context of an architecture school. It’s a seminar, not a lab, so we bias critical discourse over the nitty gritty of this or that cool effect, quick and dirty production [like those Godard films from the 1960s, breathless indeed!] and lots of thinking and talking. It’s also within the context of an architecture school, and more specifically within the context of architecture theory, because, in the just so words of K. Michel Hays, “[its] mediatory function releases unnoticed complicities and commonalities between different realities that were thought to remain singular, divergent, and differently constituted” [this is a book that should be on your bookshelf: Hays, K. Michael, ed. Architecture Theory Since 1968. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998]. Film too, we argue, is a text; also not a thing-in-itself, and so the theoretical work begun elsewhere, in more proper architecture theory contexts, continues here with film as our text. “The world is a totality; it is an essential and essentially practical problem of theory to rearticulate that totality.”

Let’s study film as if it were architecture–making space with moving images [and later, when you return to architecture studio try studying architecture as if it were film, playing up the time and psyche components of architecture, watch what happens]. To be clear, this is not the architecture in film but rather the architecture of film, that precise preposition oh so important. In 15 weeks and 3600 frames we will have made rearticulated the world twelve times. I say it’s not a lab, but like architecture you need to bring both that math and that otherness, it’s both precise and arbitrary, and so I give exactly two minutes as the time-site constraints for this particular work of film architecture to do with it as you will.

If you can stream this, you might want to look at the documentary Side by Side [2012], a quick tour of how all things digital started in film [talking heads include Lynch, Lucas, Scorsese]. But first, listen [there is a visual, but close your eyes and listen, substitute architecture for film and the argument works just the same] to Soderbergh’s “State of Cinema” at a film festival in San Francisco a couple of  years a go [on April 27th, 2013]. Think about this: “art is inevitable.”

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