body, space & motion

  • role:
    film maker
  • location:
    dundee, scotland

body space motion is a short film, following dundee’s youthful parkour community. it is an accompaniment to research performed on topics of bodies in motion for my barch [hons] degree in architecture.

this film is a thinking machine, pulling together most of my design research work in one place. the nonlinear editing style, which this film employs, was important to emphasise the seemingly constant reinterpretation of how bodies in motion can be represented.

 

 

the film focuses on:

parkour in the city

from early in my research the parallels between dance and parkour have been apparent – dance being the subject of my thesis design. how those who practice parkour move through the streets has fascinated me, to the point of spending sunday afternoons out in the town with dundee’s growing parkour community – finding places to challenge their skills, acrobatics and courage. the film tries to give a glimpse of the ‘hyper-accessibility’ of the city landscape that is offered to these active young adults. when you can move, and indeed when you are moving, walls become closer together, handrails become more sturdy, window ledges become reachable… the city transforms.

movement/stillness

the art of film making is also addressed, as a tool to highlight the architectural idea’s presented elsewhere in my research. bodies are broken up in clips, limbs move independently of the space they would otherwise be confined to – a real blurring between the worlds of stillness and movement occurs. i have used the backing music track to influence where i placed an almost motionless moment within the film, for the purposes of contrast and focus of the intent behind some of the creative decisions i have made.   

space deformation

space within the film takes on a capacitive role – filmspace – where instead of video engulfing the viewable screen from start to finish, footage rests on this stage – framed – orientated in relation to itself and other video. this allows for a system where multiple videos and images can be presented together – where relationships become more apparent.

there is a deformation of space, revealed through the editing process in this film, that occurs with motion and subsequent parallax. i tried to mirror the sensation of the viewer moving through space at speed – similar in a way to that experienced in an activity such as dance – when you are moving walls seem closer, railings lower, window ledges more accessible… when we move, space moves with us.

 

a sequence of references enlisted during the time of making the body space motion film:

 

“The objects which surround my body reflect its possible action upon them” (Bergson 1896)

“Kinesthesia noun

The sensation of movement or strain in muscles, tendons, and joints; muscle sense”

“The most elementary provision for people to take possession of their direct environment is probably the provision of seating” (Hertzberger 1991)

“Objects that present themselves explicitly and exclusively for a specific purpose – e.g. for sitting on – appear to be unsuitable for other purposes …it leaves the user of the designed object too little freedom to interpret its function as he pleases.” (Hertzberger 1991) 

“There is no architecture without action, no architecture without events, no architecture without program” (Tschumi 1994) 

“How are people usually constructed by public space? They are standardized … The challenge for us was to say ‘This should be a non-standardized room’ because visitors do not come in one standard bodily state”

(William Forsythe from On Boundaries by Nikolaus Hirsch) 

“We can never afford to ignore the implications of how people relate to each other, and how they react in different situations” (Hertzberger 1991) 

“Objects that present themselves explicitly and exclusively for a specific purpose – e.g. for sitting on – appear to be unsuitable for other purposes …it leaves the user of the designed object too little freedom to interpret its function as he pleases.” (Hertzberger 1991) 

“Choreography is in itself ‘graphy’ – a drawing. We are not drawing. We are drawn” (Forsythe by Hirsch 2007) 

“ [motion x inbetween]program = event ” (Tschumi 1997)

“architecture distinguishes itself from other visual arts by the fact that people can move around in it, and only by means of motion can space be visually experienced.” (Ressilada 2008)

“Photo collages, or joiners, illustrate aspects of movement, sequence, space, and time and contain relational intricacies between real space and philosophical space.” (Robinson 2005) 

 

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