This Autumn, The Architecture Foundation’s leading series of cinema, documentary and art enters its fifth year, after 13 UK premieres across 25 screenings. Continuing to explore how the moving image can re-present and offer new perspectives on design and the city, the season will present a showcase of 14 short films across two specially curated screenings – with a portrait of London through the eyes of artist and filmmaker John Smith and an evening of experimental films from the influential design avant-garde of 1970s Italy.
September’s edition marks the fifth anniversary of Architecture on Film with a special chance to view a London-focused compilation of the work of filmmaker, artist and Londoner John Smith, programmed as part of the Barbican film season Urban Wandering: Film and the London Landscape (19 September – 2 October). Smith will be with us in person to discuss his relationship to London and this idiosyncratic body of work, which takes the UK’s capital as subject, material and ally. On the evening we will be screening films Smith has shot over a 25-year period in an ever-changing London – from the Dalston of the celebrated classic of 20th century experimental filmmaking, The Girl Chewing Gum, to the pre-M11 Leytonstone of Blight – to present Smith’s singular combination of humor, documentary and formal ingenuity, which here invites new readings both of the city and of film itself.
The Architecture on Film series returns in November, with an evening of experimental short films by the finest of Italy’s 1970s design vanguard (Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass Jr., Gaetano Pesce, Superstudio and more). Originally commissioned for an influential 1972 MoMA New York exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape – described at the time as “one of the most ambitious design exhibitions ever undertaken by the Museum of Modern Art” – the film’s often provocative cosmic abstractions and adaptations of design thinking to the moving image continue to resonate, influence and intrigue, through visions of future living scenarios and critical utopias. The screening, which will show these important films together for their London premiere, will be accompanied by a special introduction from academic, writer, and curator Peter Lang, and has been programmed in response to the Barbican Art Gallery’s autumn exhibition Pop Art Design.
As ever, each screening will be contextualised through specially commissioned programme notes. Past Architecture on Film essay authors have included leading writers, urbanists and critics such as Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic, BLDGBLG’s Geoff Manaugh, the Otolith Group’s Kodwo Eshun and Ground Control author Anna Minton.
John Smith’s London + Q&A
Tuesday 24 September 2013, 7pm
A portrait of London through the eyes of artist, filmmaker and avant-garde hero John Smith, compiling five of his short films which use the capital as subject, material and ally. Humour, documentary and formal ingenuity combine in a body of work that invites new readings of the city, the quotidian and film itself.
Total programme running time: 93 mins + Q&A & introduction
The Girl Chewing Gum (1976) 12 mins, colour, sound, 16mm.
Hackney Marshes – November 4th 1977 (1977) 15 mins, colour, silent, 16mm.
The Black Tower (1985-7) 24 mins, colour, sound, 16mm.
Blight (1994-96) 14 mins, colour, sound, 16mm.
Lost Sound (collaboration with Graeme Miller 1998-2001) 28 mins, colour, sound, video.
In partnership with LUX.
Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, MoMA, 1972
Thursday 28 November 2013, 7pm
Experimental films from Italy’s 1970s design avant-garde (Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass Jr., Gaetano Pesce, Superstudio and more) gain a rare UK premiere showing on the big screen, accompanied by a special introduction from design historian and curator Peter Lang
Total programme running time: 74 minutes + introduction
All films 1972
Introductory/Orientation Film by Emilio Ambasz
Dir. Giacomo Battiato, 11 min 30 sec
Gae Aulenti, Three Elements
Dir. Massimo Magri, 4 min 20 sec
Ettore Sottsass, Jr. Untitled
Dir. Massimo Magri, 8 min 51 sec
Joe Colombo, Total Furnishing Unit
Dirs. Gianni Colombo and Livio Castiglioni, 4 min
Alberto Rosselli, An Idea for A Mobile House
Dirs. Ernesto Prever and Osvaldo Marini (CINEFIAT), 5 min 23 sec
Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, Untitled
Dir. Giacomo Battiato, 9 min 24 sec
Mario Bellini, Something To Believe In
Dir. David Mosconi, visual ideas by Mario Bellini, Francesco Binfaré, David Mosconi, and Giorgio Origlia, 15 min 58 sec
Gaetano Pesce, Paesaggio Domestico: Habitat for 2 People
Dir. Klauss Zaugg, 5 min 31 sec
Superstudio, Supersurface – An Alternative Model for Life On The Earth
Dir. Superstudio, 9 min 20 sec
In partnership with the exhibition Environments And Counter Environments: Experimental Media In ‘Italy: The New Domestic Landscape’, MoMA 1972, curated by Peter Lang, Luca Molinari and Mark Wasiuta, organised by GSAPP, Columbia University.