Palladio: What do you think about eternity?
Le Corbusier: Boring.
Written by the Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn, an excerpt from a fictitious dialogue between the renaissance architect Palladio and Le Corbusier, a modernist, sets us up for the themes in the film
The House Protects the Dreamer (2014). In it, the two architects of different eras discuss their buildings, nature and eternity.
The House Protects the Dreamer (2014) depicts a fictitious modern architect in whose work the human body, movement and sound play equal part to line and paper. The film takes a form of a frame for the architect’s dreams and deliberations on the symbiosis of the human form and architecture. The relationship between the architect and his partner leads us to think about the fetishizing of the human body and of otherness. The movement in space brings forth the creative process in architecture.
Sometimes the dreams of architects become the nightmares of others. The modern utopian cities and huge building blocks – “machines for living in” according to Le Corbusier –have become ghettos and ghost towns. The film thus presents us with questions of dreams and disappointments and the legacy of modernism. The grainy film in itself is a body, reminding us of its mortality with its scrapes and bruises.
Among the starting points for the film have been different systems of proportions that architects have created through the ages based on the measurements of an ideal human form. Most well known of them is probably the Vitruvian Man, visualized by Leonardo da Vinci. Also Aulis Blomstedt (1906-1979), a Finnish architect, had his own system of proportions, Canon 60. He used it in many of his designs, eg. in the private recidence also displayed as the home of the architect in the film.
The name of the work is borrowed from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space (1958), which looks at architecture through phenomenology. In his book Bachelard examines for example how the memories we have from our first home affect our future architectural experiences. A house is a nest, a cradle, giving shelter to our dreams.
The citations used in the film are taken from Vitrivius‘ Ten Books on Architecture and the lyrics in the music by Infinite Livez are based of the extract from the text by Sverre Fehn.
Hannu Karjalainen (b. 1978) graduated with a MA in photography from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (currently Aalto University) in 2005. He was selected as the Young Artist of the Year in 2009 in Finland. Recently his work has been exhibited eg. as a part of the #FocusFinland programme at ARCOMadrid, at the Scandinavian House in New York, at Museum if Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki and at the Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä, Finland. www.hannukarjalainen.com
Image: Hannu Karjalainen, The House Protects the Dreamer, 2014 (videostill)
September 5–28, 2014
The House Protects the Dreamer
PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY HIPPOLYTE
Yrjönkatu 8–10 (courtyard), 00120 Helsinki
09 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16