This Saturday evening, July 20, EZUFF, the Elvis Zapp Urban Projection Project, a mini-film festival, will have its inaugural run at the Mayles Cinema in Harlem. Its goal is to explore “art and city public life” using short experimental film to “make a link between contemporary urban forms of expression/representation and the political imagination for the city of today. It is about oblique ways to dig into present day urban cultures and imagine alternatives for the cities of tomorrow.” EZUFF is masterminded by co-founders architect Andrew Macnair and multi-media artist and Mamoru Kobayakawa, along with Robert Bowen, Joke Post, David Kessler, and Kim Steele.
In these moving-image explorations you can see the workings out of architectural ideas, the capturing of a moment, of visual connections, poetic explorations, and visual textures. Themes and approaches emerge such as the performative, where we experience the spaces where events take place but don’t necessarily see the event (Scala Zero [La Scala opera house], Yankees Game, Bronx); dystopia, ranging from contagion (Quarantena), waste, or a sinister hypnotic tower (Truth Tower); and music videos (I Came Home Haunted: Nine Inch Nails by David Lynch). A few flip the video images on their side 90 degrees for a vertical format (Towers, Parametric Play) solving the problem of how to show tall structures within a horizontal frame.
Here are a few titles to watch for.
Prop for All/if then: Arakawa+Gins – Bioscleave House, East Hampton by Robert Bowen centers on this unusual structure in East Hampton by Arakawa and Madelin Gins, a perceptual experiment that thrusts the body into architectural space. The building features an undulating, mottled floor that keeps visitors completely off kilter, a central green recessed warren, and walls of various bright colors inside and out. The film language echoes the intent of the creators: using the idea of a propeller (to literally propel the body forward), the camera spins in continuous tracking shots—right side up, upside down, sideway, interior and exterior—taking in the entire house at once, to the sounds of a chopper’s blades rotating. A second clip from this 18-minute film will also be shown where the house grows up from the ground, then disintegrates into a cloud colored dust.
Patrik Shumacher, partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, made the video Parametricism, which is also the term he uses for the style of architecture based on advanced computational design techniques. In a manifesto, he has advocated for the term’s use to describe a style, as one would Baroque or Modernism. This video plays with different black and white visualizations: one linear, the others in 3D—in liquid-like black forms, in white Chicklets, another in white Lego-like chunks on an undulating surface. Forces ply the shapes into shifting elastic contours and you can imagine the firm’s architectural ideas coming to life.
Gigdem Talu’s Heteroscapes focuses on the distinctive sounds of a place. Here, the “soundmarks” of Manhattan, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook are profiled with black and white video (giving more emphasis to sound than picture) that show the “reciprocal relationship with urban morphologies by creating patterns.” Enhancing footage of life on the street, the words “sound diffusion” “street rhythm” and “sound dissipation” accompany diagrams that show urban patterns, sections , and density. Close you eyes to see if you can identify the neighborhood.
Ineke Liesting’s Rotating Rietveld: Schroder-Schrader House, Utrecht illustrates the harmony of composition by rotating the image of this De Stijl-style house. The composition is perfectly balanced in any direction. (Footage is very low tech, taken with a cellphone camera.)
Chairarch, Australia by Glue Society is a delightful whimsy that takes colorful chairs into a blinding white snowscape by men clad in white spacesuits, which they stack and raise into an arched rainbow “because we can.”
July 20, 7:00 pm
343 Malcolm X Blvd /Lenox Ave between 127 & 128 streets
September 17, 7:00 pm
Spectrum Space, 121 Ludlow St., 2nd Floor, New York 10002