40 301 Body and Space Morphologies : Architecture and Film


Passed foundation level (bachelor in architecture) and a desire to conduct your own experimental artistic research on moving images producing and containing architectural phenomena and conditions

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

The handling of own video and photo equipment (digital camcorders/cameras, smart phones etc.) and the respective software for basic editing

Course content

Body and Space Morphologies is a research based teaching program that offers a series of elective courses and master studios in explorative architectural design, sensing and thinking. The aim of the studio course series is to work and deeper investigate primal architectural phenomena and conditions, and to develop those into experienced distinct architectural sensations or interests. The elective courses on Architecture & Film are for students that wish to create their own architectural problem(s) through studies in film-making and the production and discussion of moving imagery; for students who have an urge to seek deeper into particular architectural issues and who want to challenge their own creative process and to get to know themselves better in the making and understanding of an architecture. Beyond the success of a mere problem-solving and/or established architectural critique, Body and Space Morphologies studios and elective courses prepare and try to enable students to conduct their own architectural artistic research.

Architecture & Film # XII Spring 2017:
An investigation towards a discursive space in video/film. Architectural body and space in film have since the early days of film inspired and influenced architectural practice. New production and representation techniques in 3D-tools, games, film, and video continue to challenge our understanding for, and development of the architectural space.

The elective course Architecture & Film will focus on the morphology of body and space through investigations in photographic and moving images. The aim with the course is to further understand, influence and critically develop the architectural space through a phenomenological and perceptual approach. The course uses the video camera and editing software as creative tools to individually observe, register, and interpret different situations, sensations and phenomena – and with the aim to anew reflect upon and inform architectures spatial properties.

Learning outcomes

The ability to prepare and conduct an advanced visual experimental architectural design research through the work on and manufacturing of moving imagery; including process preparation/adaption, development of own working method, critical verbal/written reflection on the basis of ones own visual material (moving imagery), and the conclusion of the research in a final presentation and film-screening. The students learn how to conceive and perceive architectural form, space and body within the autonomous and un-programmed architectural construct produced and discovered on screen, and how to further discuss the occurring architectural phenomena as conditions within a body and space morphology discourse.

The students will receive an introduction to theories of architecture, film, and video connected to the topic of the course. Weekly practical exercises will provide a thorough basic knowledge of the use of digital video camera and editing software (Adobe Premiere and After Effects) as the tools for registration, observation and creative interpretation. Exercises, lectures, and discussions contribute to give the students the opportunity to develop a critical stance on the use of camera/editing software as architectural tools in order to further facilitate an advanced, experimental design based on a current, critical architectural discourse. The students discover, retrieve and nourish architectural ideas from an immediate and impulsive reaction i.e. through intuitive and reflective filmmaking.

In the final workshop week that focuses on approaching “the problem of body”, every student should be able to sense and aware body through architectural space and the making or active on-looking of a video camcorder as their bodily extension and intuitive reflective subjective tool that makes a new reality. In textual works we use the course experience to argue for how a new bodily reality or architectural space is created in the video montage – a body and space that cannot exist outside of the video.

The goal of the studio is to skill students towards independent and self-sufficient artistic architectural research that produces new architectural content, awareness and ideas; preparing them both for their final experimental architectural thesis/diploma but also for an artistic parallel to scholarly research in general (e.g. the alternative PhD as offered by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme). In general, students are enabled to trust their creative work and seeing/reading ability towards strong and independent yet sufficient architectural content and ideas. They mature in their personal architectural awareness and should be able to make their artistic voice heard, no matter what context they operate in, through the work with moving imagery.

Working and learning activities

The main activity is the artistic research / architectural design based on the individual capacity to produce and read moving imagery with an architectural content. The course starts with a brief historical, theoretical and philosophical discussion on film in general, and on kinetic representation of architectural space in particular. Students will be introduced to the field of investigation through lectures, literature and a series of films and video art.

Exercises in video sketching* and video editing will train the students’ practical skills and insight in the relation between space and the image, and space in the image. Each course day starts with an hour-long talk on the challenge of the day (mandatory lecture). The students manufacture their video individually and then screen and discuss the video work in plenum.

Mandatory reading material is handed out on the respective course days. A literature list is available online and serves as a recommended reading list (not mandatory). *Video sketching: to draw – to doodle – to paint with video.

Work Effort/Demands
A typical course day consists of a lecture, the screening of a film/video and the production and discussion of the video sketches. The students work individually with the tasks and deliver at the end of the day. The material produced is discussed in plenum. Two days are reserved for an in-depth training in the video editing software. Each course day demands 7-8 hours of attendance and work.

The final workshop-week has its own outline and demands daily attendance and work. This year's focus will be on the human body in motion and in the meeting with spatial infrastructures and/or obstacles. The course collaborates for this week together with the French/Swiss Butoh dancer Julie Dind. The results of that collaboration will be published.

Professor in charge

Rolf Gerstlauer