Welcome to the London Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city, brought to you by New London Architecture.
A master at making images speak as a pioneer of the essay film, vanguard filmmaker Harun Farocki’s lifelong interrogation of how the world is constructed, articulated and perceived frequently led him to architecture, finding within the built environment material ripe for deconstruction. Following Architecture on Film’s presentation of Farocki’s In Comparison / The Creators of Shopping Worlds in 2010, for the 10th anniversary of the season we return to the filmmaker for a double bill exploring architecture from the macro to the micro, through two very different visual languages.
SAUERBRUCH HUTTON ARCHITECTS (Germany, 2013, Harun Farocki, 73 min)
A film both made out of and about details and thinking, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects – Farocki’s final film – quietly observes the Berlin architectural office with an elegant precision that offers an analogy to his subject’s work.
“The structures of these two architects appeal to me. They are lavish with ideas while remaining dedicated to ecological efficiency. They are playful without being arbitrary. They are bound to the formal language of modernity without being dogmatic.”— Harun Farocki
From the inherently ironic task of designing a Virtual Reality Centre to the search for the perfect door handle, Farocki’s final film is a subtle exercise in looking and listening, concerned with the negotiation of thinking and design, discussion and action, as a portrait of ideas becoming form. Using the tools of observational cinema over a three month period, he finds in the architect’s labour a place of constant questioning – a fitting mirror and coda, perhaps, to his own life’s work.
COUNTER MUSIC (France, Germany, 2004, Harun Farocki, 23 mins)
Counter Music dissects the ‘city-body’ through its own images - both machine and man-made. From sleeping humans to waking street lamps, Farocki explores the ‘veins of the city’ in split screen, finding drama in the mundane to portray ‘a story of a day in the life of a city’.