films

Extensions of architecture through film-making

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Matthew’s interest in film making started at university where he produced a number of short films which explored themes including the transitory nature of space and movement through space. More recently Matthew has completed a Masters of Architecture at the University of the West of England which continued to investigate the relationship between film and architecture. The MA focused upon developing a palette of film derived transitions to explore and intervene within the space through which we journey. The created transition palette has real potential to be used within urban design as a new way of looking at space from a mobile perspective through film.

Skills and techniques acquired from the MA went on to help both Matthew Hynam and textile artist Carole Waller win a Public Art Competition in Milton Keynes where exploring space whilst journeying through film was central. The intervention is currently being tendered and will be onsite in the of autumn 2011.

Matthew Hynam continues to look for further projects that explore the film architecture praxis and if you feel that you have such a project please feel free to contact me: matthew@matthewhynam.co.uk

Short film ‘Between Cities’

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‘Between Cities’ explored the link between thresholds and filmic transitions. The film sought to explore the mutable, watery threshold between the populated city of Venice and its structural underpinnings and was designed to convey this as an interstitial space.

Short film ‘Labyrinth’

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‘Labyrinth’ explored the technique of montage in order to make an impression of a proposed architectural intervention within a real site. The film conveyed the insertion of a spatial intervention within Spitalfields Market, which when combined with the existing circulation routes created a labyrinth. The intervention was generated through the analysis of a short narrative and aimed to create a transitory escape space allowing people to temporarily escape the rituals of their everyday lives.

Filmic Space: developing a palette of transitions for urban designers’

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This essay examines the possibility of using ‘filmic transitions’ to provide urban designers with a ‘transition palette’ to structure space for an increasingly mobile society. The view of this essay is that whilst our experience of journeying through space has expanded, the tools and perspectives from which we design our cities have stayed relatively unchanged for centuries and have largely focused on space from a static view point. This static perspective can be seen in the majority of urban design approaches, including masterplans, sections, elevations and even 3D models, and allows space to be observed outside of time and movement, providing the viewer with a paused snapshot of space, an abstraction of reality. However, our actual view of space is not static, it is mobile and viewed ‘in a continuous light’ as a stream of juxtaposing and collaging layers.

In order to understand the potential of film as a means to explore the space through which we journey, it is first necessary to understand the effect it has on us as viewers, and how the streaming of still frames at a rate of 24 per second can fool our eyes into seeing a ‘persistence of vision’ and furthermore stimulate our mind into believing we are part of a ‘filmic space’. Combine this experience with the film editing process and suddenly the film maker has the power to restructure space for our senses, to move through space. It is this very editing process that could provide urban designers with the means to intervene and design in space from a transition perspective, and become part of the process rather than merely static observers.

‘The process of viewing a film turns the viewer into a bodiless observer, the illusory cinematic space gives the viewer back his/her body, as the experiential haptic and motor space provides powerful kinaesthetic experiences. A film is viewed with the muscles and skin as much as by the eyes.’

Pallasmaa, J. (2005) The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses.

It appears that we already have the skills to read ‘filmic space’ filmicly and what is actually needed is a ‘transition palette’ to use these skills. In creating the ‘transition palette’ it was necessary to focus this study upon the filmic mechanism that film makers use to transition scenes; the ‘filmic transition’. The ‘filmic transition’ not only allows a director to structure and control the ethereal stream of space and narrative that occurs within the frame but, because it sits outside of the frame in the realm of filmic syntax, it is universal in meaning and not specific to an individual scene or narrative. Thus the ‘filmic transition’s’ ability to structure the ethereal delivery of frames whilst remaining detached, gives it unique properties that could be used to alter the way we perceive the transition of space and result in the production of new sequences of space structured by cinematic thinking.

It appears that we already have the skills to read ‘filmic space’ filmicly and what is actually needed is a ‘transition palette’ to use these skills. In creating the ‘transition palette’ it was necessary to focus this study upon the filmic mechanism that film makers use to transition scenes; the ‘filmic transition’. The ‘filmic transition’ not only allows a director to structure and control the ethereal stream of space and narrative that occurs within the frame but, because it sits outside of the frame in the realm of filmic syntax, it is universal in meaning and not specific to an individual scene or narrative. Thus the ‘filmic transition’s’ ability to structure the ethereal delivery of frames whilst remaining detached, gives it unique properties that could be used to alter the way we perceive the transition of space and result in the production of new sequences of space structured by cinematic thinking.

‘People journey continuously back and forth, and in so doing construct memories, which become an internalised, often unconscious filmic process of capturing and editing. We are all the time making mental movies, and this in a sense is how we consume the city: layered, superimposed fragments loosely associated with faces and conversations, which we can then recall and reconsume later, when remembering.’

Doesinger, S. (1998) Consuming Architecture; SIMCITY.

The findings of this exploration suggested that there are many metaphorical similarities between ‘filmic transitions’ and ‘spatial transitions’. The analysis inspired the author to create a palette of ‘filmic transitions’ for urban designers. The ambition of the ‘transition palette’ is that it introduces the possibility of using filmic processes to explore space and becomes an additional tool to shape our cities from a much needed mobile perspective.

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Filmic Space: Filmic still Interstate 110 Los Angeles

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Filmic Space: transition palette cut

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Filmic Space: transition palette dissolve

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Filmic Space: transition palette pan

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Filmic Space: spatial match cut Las Vegas

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Filmic Space: spatial track Chicago

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Filmic Space: walking space

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Filmic Space: developing a palate of filmic transitions for urban designers

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Labyrinth: short film

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Between Cities: short film