Thursday, August 07, 2008

London after the rain

Ben Marzys is "a young London based designer with an academic background in architecture and motion design". He produced the above video in 02006 while a student in Nic Clear's Unit 15 at the Bartlett School of Architecture. BLDGBLOG's Geoff Manaugh explains in a profile of Clear for Dwell magazine (March 02008) how moving images are integrated into the curriculum:

Each film functions as an architectural proposal -- or as an avant-garde form of urban analysis, albeit of a decidedly futuristic kind. This suits Clear just fine.

"Film can be a much more appropriate way of training architects than the traditional reliance on orthographic representation," says Clear, who once also studied philosophy, "and the skills learned in film production are great for transferring to conventional architecture. Even at the most basic organizational level, film is all about the flow of information. A decision you make now can have enormous consequences later."
"This type of work opens up a whole new series of possibilities about what architecture is," Clear explains. "The availability of film tools fulfills a deep-seated need in architecture to communicate beyond an architectural audience. But for all my polemic about the spatial, immersive, experiential, and narrative qualities of film, the main reason I teach this way is because it is so much fun."


The short came to my attention via the recent London Festival of Architecture (noted here earlier). On 12 July 02008 it was screened as part of onedotzero terrain 07: "distinctive visions and evocative interpretations of terrains and environments real and imagined, from built urban worlds to the shifting rural landscape and beyond". I was in the city at the time, but wasn't able to make it to the show. Still, even on a laptop screen, the tone of this short film (aptly described in in Manaugh's Dwell piece as "both Edenic and postapocalyptic") is arresting. The motion-collage and sudden context switches made me think of Röyksopp's music video "Eple", and the empty, yet somehow whimsical après-déluge imagery put me in mind of Mary Mattingly's series Second Nature, as well as Squint/Opera's series Flooded London 2090.

Other work by Marzys includes the somewhat jauntier and less polished 2012 (02006), and the more abstract, mood-driven Dystopian Dreams (02007); both videos exploring similar territory.

I'm interested to see where he goes with this work, and equally, look forward to seeing what else emanates from Unit 15. Certainly, their communicatively rich and broad conception of architecture is converging on the exploratory practice of experiential futures that keeps this blogger busy.

Related posts:
> Not drowning, thriving
> Second Nature

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