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“THE ARCHITECTURE OF ALMOST-NOTHING, SEEN THROUGH THE LENS OF EXPERIMENTAL FILMS OF THE 1960’s AND 1970's “
Almost nothing Architecture. Ways of exploring minimum change needed to allow architectural discussion.
PhD research by Roxane Enescu
Promoters: Wouter Van Acker (Faculty of Architecture of ULB) and Thomas Mical (Auckland University of Technology)
Habits make people blind to their environment, but unconsciously they continue to be influenced by the architecture that they frequent and to be shaped by it, becoming as vulnerable in this process as they are unconscious of it.
That ordinary repeated inter-action builds a strong link between the users and their environment that continuously and mutually transforms them, citizens and cities, architecture and users, in time.
The fundamental question in this research is: What is the impact of the everyday architecture on the people that cross it? How are they aware of everyday architectural cognition augmentation ? What is the real nature of this “almost-nothingness” augmented dimension of the architecture exposed to this repeated process of everyday impact between users and the used spaces? “
Understanding how this interplay erosion process between users and used spaces works unconsciously eventually opens avenues towards a controversial discourse about the necessity of a long-lasting stimulating architecture to make people aware of their everyday interaction with the reality, or on the contrary, arguing towards a neutral architecture impacting people’s existence in a minimum way.
Part of the underground experimental cinema of the 1960s and early 1970s that emerged in U.S. through certain artists like Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, Michael Snow, Stan Brakhage explore architecture as a research territory for understanding human transformation, highlighting the close relationship between people and their environment by challenging the limits of perception.
In the same time, in Europe, cinematographers as Chantal Akerman, Alain Resnais or the Nouvelle Vague film makers and theorists build their films or theories and base their practice on the fundamental interaction between architecture and its inhabitants or users. Through the use of repetition process or duration they incessantly review the way of seeing and retelling reality. From the beginning of their films to the end of them, everything is transformed: the viewer, the object of their gazing action and the product of this interaction itself and the film as the memory of the visual research process.
All that film material, considered as meticulous watching minutes of a laboratory experience, establishes an extraordinary complex and a rich corpus for the present research for studding the everyday inter-action between ordinary people and the environment that they pass through repeatedly and unconsciously.
Subjects of interest: everyday life architecture, minor architecture, urban interstice and interval, urban traces, inframince, industrial architecture, invisible architectucture, architecture and experimental/documentary films, experimental film and avant-garde documentary cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, architecture and cinema.
She studied Architecture in the ULB Faculty of Architecture public management in Solvay Business School of Brussels, fine arts in Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels and digital video production in SAE Institute.
Currently she’s a PhD student and also practices and teaches architecture. She initiated in 2012 a module of courses of Architecture & Cinema which is composed of theoretical classes and practical workshops with the purpose of producing thematic short films that analyse and explore the cinematic perception of architectural and urban environments. She also opened the Laboratory of research on the city and the environment in 2016. She has also taught theory and history of architecture and has her own agency of design.
Her videos or artistic productions are mainly experimental and were exhibited in Belgium, Italy and USA. She has also made interviews and documentaries, focusing on representation and visual comprehension of the same reality in its multiple hypostases.
As a PhD student, she is affiliated with the research centres Hortence and Sasha where she led her doctoral research on the theme of “everyday architecture”, entitled “the architecture of almost nothing, viewed through the lens of experimental and avant-garde cinema of the sixties and seventies”.
Recently she renewed the Erasmus partnership between ULB and the University of Sassari in Sardinia, through a conference and a workshop held in December 2016 in the Faculty of Architecture of Alghero, with the filmmaker Giovanni Cioni. This year, in April she will take part in the architecture and video festival and will present a conference on the “fragile Border between the Real and the Imaginary, treated from Stories and Traces found in the city, in Brussels”, based on the films made by the students of Architecture and Cinema classes that she coordinates. In January, she organized an evening of projections and an exhibition with students of the architecture and cinema module on the theme On the topic of “Urban Traces” which will be extended in March as part of the exhibition Recto-Verso where she will dialogue with the filmmaker Jonathan Ortegat on “architecture of films – films of architecture”