Modernist architecture is the subject of Aglaia Konrad’s 16mm films but rather than – and beyond – a form of architecture on film, or film on architecture, what her films propose is an investigation into the potential for film to embody the experience of architecture as sculpture.

Working with the moving image offers Konrad, who is originally a photographer, the possibility of duration and, most importantly, that of editing – of constructing an accumulation of points of view and positions, which in her latest film La Scala is emphasized by the use of the split screen. A split screen which is reminiscent of the double screen projection in works such as River Yar by Chris Welsby and William Raban, a 1972 film which documents a landscape – a river estuary in the Isle of Wight – at the interstices between seasons and between night and day. The ‘multiple projection’ of La Scala proposes a multiplicity of perspectives and, more significantly, a succession of combined images. The combined shots often serve to emphasize each other. Konrad tends to pair images of the same space, shot from a slightly different perspective, in a slightly different light. Perhaps a slightly different moment of the day, a different exposure. Almost identical images function as a spatial jump cut, rather than a temporal one.

Perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Garda, La Scala is a Brutalist villa built in the late 1950s by Italian architect Vittorio Viganò. In spite of its pure, modernist lines and materials, La Scala is not a neutral architectural environment but one that highlights drama – hence the theatrical resonances of its name. Its most dramatic feature is the vertiginous concrete stairway that gives its name to both the house and the film (‘scala’ means ‘ladder’ in Italian). The film begins from the perspective of the lake and moves up, through the scala and into the house, where glass becomes predominant, and with glass, light. The film explodes into a kaleidoscope of reflections, multiplied by the double screen. Film attempting to capture light, and film as light.

In memory of sound engineer Gilles Laurent, who was working on the sound design and was killed in the Brussels bombs, Konrad has chosen for the film to remain silent. But silence is particularly befitting, allowing for the emphasis to be on space: the space filmed, the space of the screen, the space between the screens. (Maria Palacios Cruz)

  • Format 16mm(16 mm.)
  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 2016
  • Duration 00:11:44
  • Artists