Via ArchDaily, by Oscar Lopez
Not wanting to be outshone by the Americans and their developments with color television, the Philips Electronics Company decided to step away from displaying commercial goods and instead create a unique experience for the thousands of people that would be attending the Expo. The experiential space was created by putting together an international team consisting of an architect, an artist and a composer to create a pavilion displaying electronic technology in as many forms as possible, serving arts, culture, and the overall betterment of humankind.
The Philips electronics company turned to the office of Le Corbusier for the final commission of the pavilion. Le Corbusier replied by saying that, “I will not make a pavilion for you but an Electronic Poem and a vessel containing the poem; light, color image, rhythm and sound joined together in an organic synthesis”. Le Corbusier would take on the sole task of developing the interior of the vessel, leaving the exterior design of the pavilion to the responsibility of his protégé designer Iannis Xenakis, whom was also trained as an experimental composer and thusly would also create the transitional music that guided you into the formal space of organized sound.
For the composer of the Poem Electronique, Le Corbusier commissioned Edgard Varèse, choosing him over other well know composers of the time such as Benjamin Britten and Aaron Copland, both of whom the Philips company preferred over Varese. Le Corbusier gave minimal input into the details of how the interior of the pavilion would work, instead giving only a vague concept of what the experience should accomplish. The basic guidelines given to both Xenakis and Varese were that the interior was to be shaped in a manner similar to the stomach of a cow, with the form coming from a basic mathematical algorithm. The concept was that audience members would enter in groups of 500 at ten-minute intervals, for two minutes, as the audience filed in through a curved passageway, they would hear Xenakis’s transitional piece before entering a room that would go into darkness, enveloping the audience in a space of light and sound for eight minutes while an accompanying video displayed images along the walls of the pavilion. At the end of the eight-minute piece, the spectators would exit, digested, through another exit while the next group filed in.
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By Celine Danhier
Documentary – 94min
BLANK CITY tells the long-overdue tale of a disparate crew of renegade filmmakers who emerged from an economically bankrupt and dangerous moment in New York history. In the late 1970’s and mid 80’s, when the city was still a wasteland of cheap rent and cheap drugs, these directors crafted daring works that would go on to profoundly influence the development of independent film as we know it today.
Directed by French newcomer Céline Danhier, BLANK CITY weaves together an oral history of the “No Wave Cinema” and “Cinema of Transgression” movements through compelling interviews with the luminaries who began it all. Featured players include acclaimed directors Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, actor-writer-director Steve Buscemi, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Hip Hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, photographer Richard Kern as well as Amos Poe, James Nares, Eric Mitchell, Susan Seidelman, Beth B, Scott B, Charlie Ahearn and Nick Zedd. Fittingly, the soundtrack includes: Patti Smith, Television, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Contortions, The Bush Tetras, Sonic Youth and many more.
©2010 Pure Fragment Films