Experimenting with temporality and cinematic techniques as an alternative position in architecture Cover Image
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Experimenting with temporality and cinematic techniques as an alternative position in architecture
Experimenting with temporality and cinematic techniques as an alternative position in architecture

Author(s): Katarina Andjelkovic
Subject(s): Essay|Book Review |Scientific Life
Published by: Historický ústav SAV, v. v. i.
Keywords: cinematic aspect of architecture; cinematic techniques; filmmaking; architectural design strategies; moving image

Summary/Abstract: INTRODUCTIONThe Greek term kinema signifies motion or movement, while contemporary contextualization of the notion cinema denotes the architectural space in which we become part of the visual system that allows us to perceive a sense of movement and which moves us. As the notion cinematic space presupposes an integrated temporality, and since temporality is traditionally seen as a fundamental limitation to the reception and integration of moving images within the institutions of art and art history, a framework for the interpretation of cinematic space in this research can only be opened through the non-representation of space, variable materialization of the image of architectural space, and the general form of its variability and abstractness, in contrast to its static nature. The theoretical implication of temporality of the cinematic space debates since the 1960s displaces the research focus from the specific analysis of the relational apparatus to the negotiation between arts and moving images, and sets the viewing subject in the central position of the analysis. Given the pervasive convergence of art and moving images we are now witnessing the ‘flowering’ of cinematic forms in visual art. These experiments induced spectator-focused forms of image production and circulation, asking “how have moving images redefined what we think of as ‘art’? How might they have affected our viewing experience?” It seems to me that it significantly relates to the issues of architectural space since our viewing experience, widely debated today in their temporal unfolding, stems from the problematizations of maintaining our essentially kinetic relationship with space. If this is accepted, then such a convergence between space, art and moving images is evidenced through an image-based practice.Commitment towards basing the future of architectural design practice to work with images was part of the preparations to move architectural research to the filmstrip, to become part of the montage process. It is essentially related to what Anthony Vidler highlights in the future of architectural practice, particularly that of Agrest and Gandelsonas, Tschumi and Nouvel. Vidler argues that they see architecture not as a form of language per se, but instead as a form of writing, extending this way the cultural system of which architecture and urban space are elements, to incorporate movement. Therefore, contemporary architecture practice quickly arrived at film and montage theory as influential for the practical organization of space, with a deep fascination for the fragmented, composite quality of the urban space. Penz and Lu created notion urban cinematics directly from studying ways of organizing the environment. Accordingly, for the purposes of this research the concept of cinematics has been drawn from its dual function: that the visual aspect of cinematics makes a metaphor for perception and cinematic techniques metaphor for the organization. This paper, therefore, has two linked purposes. The first is to provide the framework of an intellectual setting to clarify how the cinematic techniques philosophically and theoretically interlink with the specific spatial organization between real and cinematic space. Its second purpose is to consider the viewing experience in reviewing the conceptual status of time interval between real and cinematic space. It is aimed at deepening what little research so far has stressed as the importance of thinking about the particularity of the relationships between time, space and movement, through which cinematic device utilizes its unique features such as the ability to manipulate time, to show motion, and the ability to switch between linearity and non-linearity.ACKNOWLEDGING THE VIEWING SUBJECTTheorization of the consequences that post-WWII cinema has had on the spectator’s perception of time is a key parameter of analysis in this research, since this period has marked the integration of moving images into contemporary art and affected the altered status of the work of art. Moreover, it challenged the status of physical elements that belong to real space by acknowledging the space and the viewing subject through the displacement of the formalist definitions of the medium. Consideration of the theoretical implications of the new widespread use of cinema first occurred in gallery installations, and afterwards in the use of projected images in urban space. Today, we ask how the viewing experience affects the way we might theoretically and philosophically interlink cinema with specific spatial organization in order to review the conceptual status of interval between real and cinematic space. In that sense, postmodern film experiments drew attention to the physicality and spatiality of the film apparatus, while asserting the dominance of film’s physical parameters in the viewing experience itself. This development owes much to the avant-garde film experiments of the early 20th century. The advent of structural film induced a more meditative-contemplative mode of viewing that, together with Duchamp’s attack on the modernist myth of visual purity, marked a paradigmatic shift within modernist aesthetics. In the further development of structural film, basic elements were determined to become part of the upcoming cinematic experiments: 1 – prolongation of temporality, 2 – introduction of observation (the viewer completes the work), 3 – interest in materials and language which took the form of a general subordination of interest in representation, especially of narrative, on the conditions of production and display. This paradigmatic change in the viewing conditions forms an essential part of the analysis of temporality between real and cinematic space. Drawing attention to the viewing act, the process is directly associated with the spatial experience which the architect can effectively manage by using the formative techniques of film: montage, editing. In terms of contemporary film, where the articulation of space is contextual, it is easy to keep its critical dimension as well by directing attention to the act of viewing. By contextualizing real space, a problem of ‘distraction’ was opened instead of contemplative immersion (characteristic of a classic Hollywood movie) projecting the viewer in a distracted state to another place and time. In other words, in questioning the reception of contemporary film as suggested by Peter Osborne, ‘the moving image suggested new reflective rhythms, new articulations of duration within the complex network of its temporal connections’. This quality opens the path towards breaking the type of experience common to classical cinema, particularly by refusing linear narrative in preference for the devices that multiply the projected image to produce arrays of multiple simultaneous images, i.e. non-linear temporalities.

  • Issue Year: 49/2015
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 274-285
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: English