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Body and Space Morphologies : Architecture and Film

Full course name in English: 
Body and Space Morphologies : Architecture and Film
40 301
Syklus 2
2016 Høst
Rolf Gerstlauer

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

Om emnet

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.


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.

Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

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.

Body and space morphology is about the relationship between body and space.
How it manifests itself to be human in a room; outdoors, indoor, outside and inside, and
within the manmade room. Alone or together, as one amongst the thousand, or as the
thousand above the one.
Body and space morphology is about your body and the room you have within.
How it manifests itself to be human in architecture; what it inspires us to, and what it inspires
as an architecture, towards an architecture. Seeing the offer that lies in architecture, the
perversion of it, the infrastructure, poesy, the container, the gate, darkness or light.
Body and space morphology is about meeting the wall.
How it manifests itself being human between the walls; knowing about oneself, loneliness,
longings and all that is imaginable. Seeing oneself changed, having insights and outlooks,
transparency and visibility, hideouts and the stage. Seeing the light come and go, seeing the
chair and the mirror shrink and grow, seeing how all things inhabit and capture the room.
Being between the walls, looking at how the walls swallow and devour the things, seeing
how the walls are becoming.
Body and space morphology is about the problem of body.
How it manifests itself to face the unknown; what presents itself as new or what just became
in front of you. That which yet not has a name, although it shows itself, can be touched,
heard, smelled and felt. That which stands sound and nevertheless can leave, that which can
or cannot be moved; moves us.
Body and space morphology is about the distance in space.
How it manifests itself to stand still; one moves just a little, approaches a thing, every thing,
jumps, penetrates, goes into it, turns around, looks up and down, takes on things, is looking
back and keeps moving on.
Body and space morphology is about what we do not know and approach anyway.
Without a map there are only lines and without a compass directions just get more, then the
word world is exploded and before recognition has become, and it is resemblance and
closeness that which implodes us astray. This you might endure and as you wish.
Body and space morphology is about “to act necessities”;
wanton and radically so, using your hands, using the other, using your head but not meaning
a thing, acting abstract, acting the figure, autonomous it is and dirty it will get, serious too
and ridiculous radically so.
The final workshop week is conducted at AHO and in the outdoors close to the school.
Students should prepare for a rough working environment and fit themselves with suitable
work-wear that allow for dirty work.
Recommended Literature
Abraham, A. A new nature: 9 architectural conditions between liquid and solid
Allen, S. Points and Lines
Arendt, H. The Human Condition
Arendt, H. On Violence
Barthes, R. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
Barthes, R. Empire of signs
Barthes, R, & Heath, S. Image, music, text
Benjamin, W. The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media
Benjamin, W. Walter Benjamin’s archive: Images, texts and Signs
Benjamin, W. On HashishB erger, John. About Looking
Berger, J. Why Look at Animals?
Berger, J; with Dibb, M., Blomberg, S., Fox, C. & Hollis, R. Ways of Seeing
Borges, J. L. Labyrinths
Calvino, I. Invisible cities
Deleuze, G. Francis Bacon: the logic of sensation
Deligny, F. The Arachnean and other texts
Descola ,P. Beyond Nature and Culture
Descola, P. The Ecology of Others
Derrida, J. The truth in painting
De Toledo, S. A. Cartes et lignes d’erre / Maps and wander lines: Traces du réseau de Fernand Deligny
Druot, F., Lacaton, A. & Vassal, J-P. Plus
Ellis, B. E. American Psycho: A novel
Fehn, S. The poetry of the straight line_Den rette linjes poesi
Fjeld, P. O.. Sverre Fehn. The pattern of thoughts
Flusser, V. Towards a Philosophy of Photography
Frampton, K. Labour, work and architecture: collected essays on architecture and design
Gissen, D. Territory: architecture beyond environment
Godard, J-L, & Ishaghpour, Y. How video made the history of cinema possible
Hays, M. K. Architecture theory since 1968
Hejduk, J. Architectures in Love. Sketchbook Notes
Hustvedt, S. The blazing world: A novel
Hustvedt, S. What I loved: A novel
Kittler, F. Optical Media
Kittler, F. & others. ReMembering the Body: Body and Movement in the 20th Century
Koestler, A. The Roots Of Coincidence. An Excursion Into Parapsychology
Koestler, A. The Act of Creation, a Study of the Conscious and Unconscious in Science and Art
Koestler, A. The Ghost In The Machine: The Urge To Self-Destruction
Kracauer, S. Theory of Film: the Redemption of Physical Reality
Krauss, R. & Bois, Y. A. Formless – A Users guide
Kwinter, S. Architectures of time: toward a theory of the event in modernist culture
Leatherbarrow, D. Uncommon ground: architecture, technology, and topography
Merleau-Ponty, M. Phenomenology of PerceptionM umford, Lewis. The transformations of man
Kolhaas, R. & Obrist, H. U. Project Japan: Metabolism Talks
Richter, G., & Friedel, H. Gerhard Richter: ATLAS
Scarry, E. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World
Serres, M., Malfeance: appropriation through pollution
Skinner, B. F. Walden Two
Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others
Sontag, S. On Photography
Stein, E. On the Problem of Empathy
Stein, E. Potency and Act, studies toward a philosophy of being
Stein, E. Finite and Eternal Being: an Attempt at an Ascent to the Meaning of Being
Thoreau, H. D. Walden, Or, Life in the Woods
Vesely, D. Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation. Question of Creativity ...
Viola, B. Reasons for knocking at an empty house: writings 1973- 1994
Woolf, V. Kew Gardens
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