Monthly Archives: December 2013


Watch the lecture about Kiesler’s work:

Stephen Phillips describes several of Frederick Kiesler’s most significant designs, including  the 1962 Universal Theater concept for a show at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York. Kiesler believed that traditional architecture lacks the adaptability and flexibility necessary to meet the demands of modern society. Kiesler’s proposals incorporated the temporal variation of space and form to synchronize with the human body’s rhythms. Phillips describes how Kiesler, while teaching at Columbia and Yale, did research into human motion and perception. Phillips presents a number of Kiesler’s installations that illustrate Kiesler’s ambition to engage the viewer in novel ways. Beyond employing movable elements, Kiesler proposed flexible, expanding and contracting spaces. Todd Gannon joins Phillips to discuss the nature of Kiesler’s work and his impact on architecture. They credit Kiesler with being the first to insist on the value of architectural ideas that aren’t realized. They discuss Kiesler’s obsession with control, always to the service of the corporate good, and the social and political implications of this view. Phillips discusses Kiesler’s Endless House project, and his embrace of contemporary trends. Though ignored by both the modernists and the postmodernists, Phillips argues that Kiesler is one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, and one whose ideas are still relevant.

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Watch the video:

The Tate Britain Commission invites an artist to develop a new work in response to the Tate collection, highlighting the continuum of visual and intellectual ideas between historic and contemporary art.

For 2013, Simon Starling invites you to take a ‘rollercoaster ride on invisible rails’ through histories and memories of Tate Britain’s famous Duveen galleries with Phantom Ride.

Collapsing time and space, cutting back and forth on a looping trajectory, Simon Starling redoubles the space of the galleries with huge projection screens and reveals significant artworks and events that have previously animated the space like ghostly apparitions. Float weightlessly over the rubble of the destructive bomb-blast that ruptured the space in 1940, confront an up-turned Jaguar jet fighter, and greet iconic paintings that float ethereally mid air.

The phantom ride was a genre of film popular in the very early days of cinema. A camera was fixed to a moving vehicle to simulate a journey for an immobile cinema audience. They sat pinned to their seats, white-knuckled for fear they might derail on the next precipitous bend. The train tracks or the road anticipated the trajectory of the ‘phantom’ vehicle. Here though, the way has vanished. The highly precise and repeatable movements of the huge robotic arm on the similarly track-bound ‘motion control camera’ used to make this film facilitate a rollercoaster ride on invisible rails. The film’s soundtrack is the only remaining evidence of the camera’s week-long presence in the Duveens – the audible contractions and expansions, the ascents, descents and contortions, of a very real machine.
Simon Starling