07 avril 2008

Things I thought of while watching 3 films by Ernie Gehr {Shift (1972-74), Signal – Germany on the Air (1982-85), Side/Walk/Shuttle (1991)}

Kasmir Malevich
Le Corbusier and the Congres International d’Architecture Moderne
Eisenhower and the creation of the US Interstate system
Straub and Huillet (sparseness, the geographic camera movement)
Eisenstein's montage - and Lang's (e.g., Metropolis)
Russian Constructivism
Leni Riefenstahl
America's postwar economic boom
1960's avantgarde architecture (for the people) (i.e., Brutalist geometries)
the grid
the scale of humanity vs. the scale of society
human development vs. humanity

the total failure of this work to address the material or emotional conditions of life on earth.

and, after further reflection:
an understanding that this last point is of course false, that Gehr's work addresses (among many formal concerns) the structural issues of a developed society by way of an ambivalently* humanist/antihumanist critique of 'development' as the opposition of humanity.

* Marxist humanism concerns itself with the alienation of the individual due to the structures of modern society (for Marx, these are mainly structures of work and servitude, but one could easily extend the concept to physical structures - though for Marx these physical epiphenomena would be superstructure rather than base).
Marxist antihumanism sees individualism as an ideological position, and instead re-emphasizes the role of social forces over the abstractions of individualism.
Both of these positions can be reconciled with Gehr's work, which among other things explores the dehumanization of mankind through the social constructs of society, as exemplified in the linear principles and constructed environments of urban life.

Interestingly, in a piece I hadn't read until now, Michael Sicinski compares Gehr's Side/Walk/Shuttle to Marx in an entirely different way.

Shift and Signal – Germany on the Air available here

1 commentaire:

jmac a dit…

What could be more beautiful than Pythagoras?!

But why condemn the moon for not being the sun? :)