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"film" Category

Gesamtkunstwerk ?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

ARNE JACOBSEN (11 February 1902 – 24 march 1971) is a danish architect and designer. He was first able working as an architect, then mostly influenced by the modernist ideas. Typically, modernists reject decorative motifs, to emphasize more on materials, pure geometrical forms, function and adaptation to the industry.
Following the modernist philosophy, Jacobsen concieved buildings such as the Stelling House on Gammeltorv (left picture), or the SAS Royal Hotel (right picture), both in Copenhaguen.

old-square-gammel-torv-gammeltorv-_-6-k-c-3-b-8benhavn_700_0 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He went to design products because of his interest for the Gesamtkunstwerk concept. It concerned the preoccupation of building a place as a whole, every objects matter, one place (architecture, furniture’s, light…) is driven by one full concept, vision.
Jacobsen’s design products are therefore influenced by modernist ideals, but are more precisely a part of the organic modernist movement. This movement gave to Denmark and Scandinavian countries a particular place in modern design. Jacobsen played an important contribution to that.
The philosophy of organic modernism’s main concept is to emphasize on the harmony between human living and the world of nature, so that they are combined in an united, interrelated composition for a better living. Actually, it brings to modernism a humane element to its rationnalism. It’s to create clean, pure lines based on an understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship coupled with careful research into materials, proportions and the requirements of the human body.

Kokfelt House 1957 Kokfelt House

The Kokfelt House (1957) by Arne Jacobsen is a representation of what organic modernism can be in architecture.

Jacobsen uses craft and “natural” materials to build his design works. Jacobsen combines aesthetic for a better living and adaptation to industrial production (social matter); which made his works a critical and economic success in the 50’s.

The Egg

            The Egg is a chair designed in 1958 for the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen. It is manufactured by Republic of Fritz Hansen.
The chair answers to the project Jacobsen was commissioned for : designing the whole hotel. He could therefore fully following his interest on the Gesamtkunstwerk concept.
The Egg is considered as a triumph concerning Jacobsen’s design : the organic form of the chair constrats with  the building’s almost exclusively vertical and horizontal surfaces. Jacobsen searched for the perfect shape by first sculpting clay in his own garage. This shape offers to the user a bit of privacy in a public space such as the hall of the hotel. It also can be used in a private place such a home to lounge. The Egg is available in a wide variety of fabric upholstery as well as leather, always combined with a star shaped base in satin polished aluminium.
By combining pure organic form, industrial adaptation, craft (strong foam inner shell underneath the upholstery technique), and conception as a part for a whole; the Egg is an excellent representation of how was design conceived in Scandinavian countries in the 50’s.


Interior of SAS Royal Hotel Interior of SAS Royal Hotel

        This piece shows a particular vision on human living. A better living combining functionnalism (research of materials), human proportions (requirements of the body) and aesthetic (part of a whole, pure forms). It allows the user to take distance from the flows going through public spaces or even in a private one; to find again a bit of intimacy. In a world where we are constantly solicitated, this chair offers with a cleaned form the possibility to manage to deal with those requests. That doesn’t mean to disconnect, but to get better relation to our environment.

         I wonder if the search for better living through the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, which was the main preoccupation of Jacobsen, can be found in our daily lives. What happens to interior spaces when they are not conceived by professionals, but by individuals. Can we find the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk in vernacular spaces ? Do the objects, the planning of the space allow the user to enter one full vision of it ?


Improvised dialogue

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dialogue, Wendy, Robert, Anne" from Zara Zerny on Vimeo


about the movie: text in progress


[images Graduation Show, Zara Zerny]

The essay by Zara –as part of here graduation project– is an investigation and interest in approaching a method used in the moving image, film; the improvised conversation.
For years improvised conversations have mostly been used in independent films, which have a different focus and storyline then a traditional Hollywood movie. It is often noticeable to the viewer when a conversation is improvised; a specific atmosphere appears in which the random is made possible in a controlled environment; fiction becomes infiltrated by reality. A director works in a different way, when using an improvised conversation. Instead of following a strict storyboard the director designs a setting that allowes the actors to improvise within restricted environments.

download thesis: ‘Conversations and Design in Improvised Conversation’

László Moholy-Nagy’s: FILM

Thursday, April 28, 2011

László Moholy-Nagys films can be categorised into two categories. 1. Films of objects and 2. Films of people…

László Moholy-Nagy was raised in a small village in Hungary during the early 1900 hundreds. In his youth he studied both law and fought in the First World War before he attended an art school. In 1919 he moved to Vienna and in 1923 he became a teacher at the Bauhaus.

László Moholy-Nagys art can be described as abstract constructivism often strict, sometimes humorous and playful. László Moholy-Nagy is not only an abstract painter but also an abstract photographer, teacher, theorist and filmmaker.

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When considering film-works from László Moholy-Nagy it is tempting to make a psychological journey through the history of a mind.
In the film ”Grossstadt Zigeuner” from 1932 a group of village people, probably in Hungary, can be seen dancing, singing, working, children are playing and animals are running around. The images flashes fast and chaos is present. I consider the films, in themselves, to be a kind of documentation of human life in a certain place at a certain time, memories from his own life. Films of people.

In the other category, the one with films of objects, you find works like the ”Ein Lichtspiel” from 1930. Indefinable objects in constant movement, lit with strong reflecting light, flashing by in short cuts create abstract films. These abstract films seems to reflect city life, structure and the new harmonic world of pure art, politics and thought.

When viewing these two categories it is possible to claim that a strong yearning for self-reflection of human life and history was important for László Moholy-Nagys. By using his own experiences from his diverse life the films undertakes a divers form. Like a rule of nature.

When considering modern art from mid and late 20-century there seems to be a will to purify art as far as possible. Abstract painters used strict forms and the ideas of de Stijl and Bauhaus was strong. When considering this, László Moholy-Nagy’s films can be seen as unfitting in it’s variety and non consistent form.
László Moholy-Nagy himself claimed that good art and design should emotionally reflect the world around us.

Can art reflect life by purifying itself?

Considering the diversity of László Moholy-Nagy’s work and his claim of reflecting emotions and life in his own work it is possible to think that László questioned the idea of purification that his predecessors aimed for. Parallels can be drawn, to the philosophical thinkers of the time, Freud and Marx who structured the realm of truth by purifying theories of human behavior such as Freud’s theories of the unconscious as an explanation of reality or Marx’s claim that the truth can be found in the structure.
In modern thinking, with philosophers such as Derrida in mind, the idea of pureness and truth has been seriously questioned.

“My” “own” conclusion is that László Moholy-Nagy’s “films” indicates the impossible claim that “purity” of “art” truly “reflects” “life”.

more on Moholy-Nagy's films go to [x]


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kijken alsof je alles voor het eerst ziet. Het laten zijn van wat er om je heen gebeurt en is. Kijken als een kind verlost de wereld van goed en kwaad, het verlost ons van de etiketten die wij geplakt hebben op alles wat we zien. Het enige probleem is dat we geen kind meer zijn en ook nooit meer zullen zijn. Hoe nu verder? Hoe te  zien zonder te plakken?

Laszlo Moholy Nagy liet mij dit ervaren, of tenminste gaf mij de kans dicht bij deze ervaring te komen. Zijn film Berliner Stilleben laat het dagelijks leven in Berlijn zien in de jaren dertig. Het was bijzonder om te zien hoe een camera, het vastleggen van je eigen dagelijkse omgeving je dwingt met andere ogen te kijken. Alles is, niets meer niets minder. Dit werk, dat geruisloos mij een wereld aanbood, zette me aan het denken over mijn eigen wereld. Waarom heb ik het gevoel dat toen, in 1931, de dingen meer ruimte kregen? En waarom denk ik dat als ik weet dat dit niet zo is? En ja, er is maar een conclusie; de wereld die ik daar in dat kleine kamertje in het grote meesterwerk van Berlage aan me voorbij zag trekken, is exact de wereld die ik nu, al schrijvende, om mij heen zie. Het zijn enkel de kinderogen die ontbreken. Moholy Nagy heeft op geniale wijze afstand genomen van zijn natuurlijke omgeving en uiteindelijk, misschien juist  door middel van de afstand,een nabijheid gecreeerd die de verklaring ondergeschikt maakt aan de ervaring. Los van dat hij dit op een zeer gevoelige en in mijn ogen briljante manier heeft gedaan, gaat het mij vooral om zijn alerte gewaarzijn. Je open stellen voor de gewone dingen en het nu de kans te geven in alle eerlijkheid zich aan je te openbaren is een kracht die, niet alleen als kunstenaar, maar ook zeker als mens je meer zal brengen dan wat ook. Moholy Nagy heeft mij op die donderdagmiddag bewust gemaakt van de dunne scheidslijn tussen afstand en nabijheid. En door middel van het tonen van zijn wereld heeft hij mij meer laten zien van de mijne dan dat ik tot nu toe zag. Voor even was ik een kind, zo open, gevoelig en nieuwsgierig. Ik heb gekeken en gezien.

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Film Preview: Berliner Stilleben, 1931

more on Moholy-Nagy's films go to [x]

Experimental Documentary That Brings Truth Of Daily Life.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When I walked around In the van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven I was very enthusiastic when I found a beamer projection on the wall which was playing an old movie.
The name of the movie: Man with a movie camera, was new for me, as well was the artist: Dziga Vertov.

As I stood there watching a city was shown to me. this has to be Russia I thought. But I could only guess it. As well as I could only guess to the meaning of the images: the busy street shots at one hand and at the other hand the shots of filming camera’s.
This is the reason I picked this work, because it tickled my curiosity.

The movie dates from 1929. How wonderful and fascinating to look true time and space, I thought.
At home I looked up information and watched the movie completely.
So it appeared to be that Dziga Vertov was born in Bialystok (now a days Poland) in 1896 under the name Denis Arkadevich Kaufman.

Vertov was an idealist. He wanted to show his audience the truth but at the same time let them realize that the truth in a film is manipulated. He does this by showing only shots of what is truly happening; so no theater, script or film set and involving in his movie shots of filming camera’s. With a very experimental movie as consequence.

I find the idea interesting, although it is for me completely different. I don’t mind watching complete fiction, I am more interested in how the images look.
The images in Man with a movie Camera are really impressive. The shots (frozen and moving) are photographical. The editing is in the film is musical.

This is maybe the reason why I fell in love with it. Since my eyes are always searching for photographic images (photo or video) as well as I am interested in the editing of movies.

Shot from the movie; the audience eye

for more information and complete movie: link to The Man With The Camera
or :

Hobo symbols and Rastafari language construct our fantasy similar to Cinema

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Slavoj Zizek argues in his “Perverts guide to the cinema“, that each individual lives in a fantasy, fed by cinema. The role we play in society and the values we place on certain people, objects and situations are constructed by cinema. “If you are looking for what is in reality more real than reality itself, look into the cinematic fiction”(Zizek)

What is cinema actually? 24 frames a second. 24 images that visualize a story.  Usually accompanied by sound and dialogue to further visualize the story. So cinema tells us stories. And the stories create fantasies in the viewer.

However, we have not only started living our lives in accordance to fantasy stories since cinema. Story telling has been part of every culture. Through visual or literal means. It may seem like cinema is the most extreme way of story telling, as it can depict scenes in the most realistic way. However, as Zizek argues, cinema does not depict realistic scenes. It plays on the viewers fantasy. An example he gives is that porn depicts sex realistically. Cinema on the other hand, by hiding the obscenity, increases the erotic fantasy of the viewer even more. In cinema, the viewer is aroused through mere suggestions and everything around sex, not the act itself.

Jane changes clothes in silhouette,” from Tarzan and His Mate (1934) / “Percy changes his clothes” for The Dirty Weekender

The reason I bring this in, is that I want to investigate visual and literal symbols that similarly arouse the viewers fantasy through implying a story or some sort of meaning. Cinema is actually just a more complex alignment of symbols and construction of literary narrative. Therefore, Zizeks claim should also apply to more basic symbols and also language itself.

These images belong to a set of symbols used by gypsies and hobos. They would draw them on houses, street crossings etc. to warn and help each other.

What I found most intriguing is the hidden implications these symbols hold. The symbol meaning “woman living alone” holds a very dark implication. Even the shape of the symbol could suggest something sexual. Or the vulnerability of the woman, as this house can easily be entered.

A simple symbol like this can already visualize stories about rape, robbery or abuse.

This is what struck me when I came across these symbols, flipping through a book in one of our design workshops. However it is not only an insight into the brutal reality of hobo life. It also relates to far more recent developments. The recently censored site was a website launched in 2007, by Brant Walker. It allowed users to anonymously mark the houses of neighbours on google maps.

The concept of marking these houses has similarities to that of the hobo symbols.

Hobo sign for barking dog

The intensions and therefore the implications of these marks are different. The hobo sign is meant as a warning for when intruding into the property. The rottenneighbor entry seems to be more a way of letting out anger, a way of revenge.

In their function they are very similar though. The purpose of is to serve as advice for people choosing a new neighborhood to live in. This is very similar to the function of the hobo signs, although hobos would not look to buy or rent property, their signs also advise them about the safety of staying in certain neighborhoods.

On some entries also held similar implications to the hobo sign “woman living alone”.  There have been entries posted such as “Hier wohnt eine Schlampe, leicht zu haben und lässt die Tür immer offen.” a German post implying that the woman living in this apartment is easy to have and leaves the door unlocked. This post is an example for not going with the actual function of the website, of recommending neighborhoods. Instead it informs that there is something to get in this apartment. This makes its function even more similar to that of the hobo symbols.

This idea for an iphone application also plays on the idea of marking places to allow some sort of interaction with them. So the user would be able to search for, say, “a ‘safe camp’ or a ‘Kindhearted Lady’ (a picture of a cat) and then have the iPhone show him the location.”

However it is not only visual symbols, that hold implications. Also language unconsciously creates and upholds values and stories.

To become aware of this in English language, it can be interesting to look at the language of the Rastafari. A culture that has been very conscious of their use of words and grammar.

The  language spoken by the Rastafari is based on Jamaican English. Its a creole language, which formed when African slaves were brought to Jamaica and had to adapt to the English of the slave masters. In their “reasoning sessions”, language was a big point for discussion and the Rastafari consciously changed it to rid it of any unwanted implications and meanings. “If you Really want to know how Rasta’s think, “Listen to them Talk” (Nicholas, Tracy. Rastafari A Way of Life pg.37)

There are three main purposes for which these changes in the language have been made

1) To be aware of the subjectivity of each individual and the unity of man

“I” replaces “me”

“Me” is felt to turn the person into an object whereas “I” emphasises the subjectivity of an individual.

“I and I” replaces the pronouns “him” she” “we” “you” and “me”

This change of grammar refuses the “objective case”, that which is acted upon.

It aims at seeing the subjective-self in each individual.

And showing the unity of man.

Inity replaces unity

Demonstrates a general pattern of replacing “you” and similar sounds with “I”. U is consideres negative as it sounds like “you”

Itinually replaces continually

It has the everlasting/everliving sense of I existing continuously.

2) To not hide true meaning, implications of words

Underpression replaces Opression.

Polytricks replaces Politics

Politicians as tricksters

Outvention replaces Invention

Mechanical devices are seen as outdated, and because it is the inner experience of being a Rastafarian that is invention.

3) To give words the positive implications they should have

Rising together replaces Falling in love

Everliving replaces Everlasting

Overstanding replaces Understanding

Referring to enlightenment that raises one’s consciousness.

Know replaces Believe

Rastas do not believe Haile Selassie is God and that they the Rastas are the chosen people. They claim to know these things, and would never admit to believing them.

Reasoning replaces Conversation

Any lengthy talk should not consist of conversing back and forth, but reasoning. Putting minds together to discuss anything from politics to sports or everyday life.

Sign In or Sign Up?

We should pay more attention to the values that are created around us. The art of story telling is constantly affecting our fantasy. Not only in cinema. Im not saying that language or images should be changed to give them more positive implications. But like the Rastafari, we could become more aware of their importance.

Ghost Science?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

During a workshop of Ayumi Higuchi about ‘rules’ I saw one of the books she brought with her to class. One of them was “Design as Art” by Bruno Munari. While reading, I noticed he was clearly writing in and for another era, but his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design are still working. It’s a modern classic about how we see the world around us.  I have an obsession with modernism of an earlier era. I don’t know why exactly. But I know that something is haunting me. I constantly seek references of music, book, clothing and product design from the past. I wanted to write about examples of where I see these references, and what is it exactly that is haunting us and what enhances this power of haunting.

Lets start with Apple, almost everybody I know owns a macbook or an I pod. Most people don’t know that every single product at Apple, from hardware to user-interface design, is based on old designs for Braun during the 50s and 60s made by Dieter Rams. Jonathan Ive from Apple design is clearly inspired by him. Dieter Rams gives the clues for the products of the past present and the future of Apple, he is a furniture maker, architect and product designer.

Maybe a few of you are familiar with my next example, the magazine Monocle. Its an international magazine with its headquarters in London. Its more a book than a magazine, about international affairs, business, culture and design. Tyler Brûlé is Monocle’s editor-in-chief and chairman. He is the guy who brought neo-classic post-European modernism to lifestile publishing. Writers and photographers from over 50 countries deliver stories on forgotten states, political figures, emerging brands and inspiring design solutions. Monocle also works with impressive illustrators who contribute to the magazine periodically. Here are a few examples of illustrations made for the magazine.

Andrew Holder


Adrian Johnson

Notice the vintage inspired style and color composition. Few of the readers know that this is not the first Monocle. There was another Monocle , a virtually forgotten, but important magazine that was published from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. the new Monocle however actually looks nothing like the old Monocle.

Maybe all this nostalgia is not for the recent past, but more for the future that it promised, but never came. I present you Hauntology. Hauntology is derived from haunt and ology.

Hauntology is the opposite of nostalgia. The term goes back to 1848. Marx and Engels stated ‘A sprectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism’. It was introduced for the first time in 1993 by Jacques Derrida in his work “Spectres de Marx”. The future can only exists in relation to the past. We are living in a time when past is present, and the present is saturated with ghosts of the past. In hauntology, the present is not only haunted by ghosts of the past but also by  ghosts of the future. Jacques Derrida talks in the documentary “Ghost Dance” about ghosts being part of the future. In the documentary a student asks Jacques whether he believes in ghosts. He answers “Le phantom c’est moi”. In this case, yes it could be himself, since he is asked to play himself and without knowing it, he lets a ghost speak for him, he lets the ghost play his role.

Cinema is the art of ghosts, a battle of phantoms, its the art of allowing ghosts to come back, and let them speak for you. Watch the interesting documentary “Ghost Dance” (1983), starring Jacques Derrida.

My last example, hauntology can be found also in music. Recording label Ghost Box is an English recording label by graphic designer Julian House and musician Jim Jupp. They describe themselves as a label for artists that find inspiration in library music, folklore vintage electronics and haunted television soundtracks. The name Ghost Box itself is a reference to television and the way previous experiences with this medium can haunt your real-world experience.

I agree with Jacques Derrida that cinematography and telecommunication enhances the power of ghosts and their capability to haunt us. Music also contributes to this power of haunting. To prove it, listen to some of these examples of haunted music and let the ghosts of the past and future speak for you.


Broadcast and The Focus Group

Mordant Music

Laughing About Westerbork

Thursday, January 21, 2010

For a long time “The aftermath of World War 2” is going through my mind.
I especially think of the emotional effect is had on the different generations of Jewish family’s, also because of being third generation myself. In spite of the fact that I can’t acknowledge my Judaism, ’cause my mom is a catholic, I can say that it made me into the person I am right now. It is a subject that is very important for me to think about. The work of Harun Farocki, about the Dutch concentration camp Westerbork, gave me the inspiration to deepen my thoughts en emotions about this much-discussed subject.

Please click on the photo!

After doing some research on the work “Respite”, I found a YouTube film where Farocki explains how he is interested by traumatized generations. He’s not only talking about World War 2 victims, but he is talking about traumatization in general. Maybe we can see this interest as a starting point of his work. Another thing he talks about, which I think is very interesting, is this philosophy where they say that you have to experience the trauma again by smelling, feeling or hearing it, only after which you’ll be able to erase it. This is really something I want to explore for myself too. He is also talking about Alain Resnais, who was one of the founders of the Nouvelle Vague. This was a movement of young movie directors who tried to analyze Hollywood Cinema as critical as possible, and in doing so make a very radical change in cinema. Farocki tells about being inspired by this movement and especially by this kind of analysis of film. In “Respite” you can really see that this intrigues him.

Interview Harun Farocki part Ipart II

After seeing the work of Farocki I wondered what his intentions where. Did he mean to put the genocide out of his context, the downright association that everybody has: death. If yes, is that even possible? Can one see the Holocaust out of its context by only looking at photo footage? There was another thing that really caught my attention, the used photo material in the film, made by Rudolf Breslauer. These photo’s where not photo’s of stolen jewellery which was property of the Jewish inmates or remains of cut off hair, but they where photo’s of people who were laughing and doing there usual daily routines. Showing the humanity of it. The humanity that was still there, under the most horrible “scenery”. This point got me into thinking. And to put this point to my own situation; How is it possible that a damage of this kind, does not take the humanity away. And is that even true?

Once my dad told me about a moment out of his youth. It was about a conversation with his father, my granddad. After a talk about future plans and dreams, my granddad told my dad that he had no personality. The most painful thing you can imagine a father telling you. After he told me about this comment, I burst out into tears. The man was so harmed by the things he had been through. that he lost his ability to give love. Love, the thing humanity is based on.

After I stopped crying I came to the realization that not only my dad suffered from his traumatized father, but I did as well. It became clear to me that this pain was passed on from generation to generation A pain that exists out of so many layers and is therefore extremely difficult to solve. A pain that I carry with me because my father raised me up with it. Sometimes I’m scared of the thought that it will never end because of the fear to solve it, and that I will pass it true to my children or other loved once. Although I do think that it will become less, and time will solve a lot. But it will take a lot of time. In the end I can ask myself, if I once more relate my situation to the work of Farocki, is it true that people laugh their fears and sadness away. Cause I see that in my father as well, is that why our communication is only possible by laughing about everything, and talking about nothing?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My interest in film drove me to write my name on the contact list of “The New Anita/De Nieuwe Anita“, a film theatre/bar in Amsterdam. Ever since I have been receiving almost weekly information about the projected films in “Cinemanita“.

Funny thing is, like I said before, I  have been receiving emails from “Cinemanita” for more than a year already and for some reason, once I began this research, I did not place an immediate relation. It seems like a never ending discovery of unusual connections.

So I went into my gmail to see an email from “Cinemanita” received at 10:05 in the morning today, a few minutes after I posted my last Anita, Color post.

The email begins like this:



Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
122 minutes
In Polish with English subtitles

Film Director Krzysztof Kieslowski is best known for his trilogy

Three Colors (©93/94), but before he headed for France he made some absolutely stunning films in his homeland of Poland. Of all the films he made, many consider ‘Blind Chance‘ to be the best… and some consider it the best of his career.


“Three Colors”!. Surprised? Actually not.

“De Nieuwe Anita” / “Cinemanita”. Frederik Hendrikstraat 115, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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