Cinema has originally occupied a frontier place. From the urban point of view, cinema comes to the city in the form of ephemeral construction that is formalized in a tent where you can see moving images. It occupies the outskirts of the city temporarily and ends up joining the city overlapping and overflowing the theatrical architecture.
After 125 years of history, when cinema can be viewed individually anywhere, cinematographic spaces seem to be in crisis. Has your collective experience ceased to make sense? What are the aspects that a room offers so that the public comes to it? Does it have to be a stable typology or can it occupy urban spaces temporarily and return to being an ephemeral typology?
The research project Zinemaren Arkitektura/Arquitectura del Cine promoted by the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, develops since 2020 an investigation on cinema as an architectural space and the place it occupies in the city. The project is proposed as a meeting point between thought, research and cinematographic and architectural practice. Through this day, the Zinemaren Arkitektura/Arquitectura del cine wants to open a space for exchange with international experiences that dialogue and expand its lines of ongoing work: from historical research on the architectural evolution of cinema to experiences of construction and resignification of buildings and spaces related to the cinematographic experience.
1. Bri Newesely - A Cinema for Rojava. BHT Berlin student project work
The goal of the project “A Cinema for Rojava” is the construction of a cinema in Amudê. It should be able to seat 200 people and possess modern, easy-to-use technology, e.g. laptop and beamer. It should have a stage. It should be built using local labor and materials. It should be low-budget. It should be a symbol of international solidarity with Rojava, carried out by local youth and internationalists. It should serve as an example of simple construction, while using innovative building techniques and avoiding expensive materials and paternalistic engineering.
Until today, the fire in the cinema of Amudê is an open wound in the collective commemoration of the Kurdish people of Rojava in the north of Syria: at the 13th of November 1960, at least 186 children between 8 and 14 years died, when the cinema of Amudê burned down.
With the mastercourse students of theatre and event technology at Berliner Hochschule für Technik, we are approaching the interface to architecture and specialist planning of assembly buildings, here using the example of a cinema. Two project works were selected, which are now being implemented on Amudê after years of standstill due to the war situation. The project focuses on a number of issues: to give back a part of history to the people, to implement cinema as part of current culture, to implement a place for cultural interchange, and to implement a place of living studies.
2. Juan I. Prieto - The irruption of cinema: a new architectural typology for a new means of expression
On December 28, 1895, the Lumière brothers held their first film screening open to the public at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris, opening a new world of possibilities for audiences and creators, which would soon have an impact on architecture. The infinity of new expressive possibilities, economy and novelty of the cinema motivated its unstoppable expansion, and in 1896 film screenings were already take place in practically all European countries. From fair attraction it soon became a means of artistic expression of the first order and the first architectural spaces created to measure defining a new architectural typology were born, while avant-garde theater directors incorporated projections in their representations and dreamed of new architectural spaces where to create a means of total expression for the convulsive beginning of the twentieth century.
3. Karla Crncevic - UNSEEN Initiative (Croatia, Konavle region)
Initiative for the revitalisation of public spaces started in Konavle region, on the south of Croatia along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. With small cinema-protest screenings in the locations that were in conflict between private and public interest, we tried to remember the pre-war cultural and cinema life and underline the importance of keeping film theaters for the people. Using infrastructure from the socialist system that were not invested in after the war (such as Houses of Culture and Open-Air Cinemas, but also parks, streets and squares) UNSEEN created events with different artists, film authors and cultural workers. There have been five seasons of various happenings in more than eight locations. It also resulted in the recuperation of one of the cinemas for public use.
UNSEEN’s aim is to create possibilities of returning cinema to life in small places that were affected by changes that happened in the 1990s decentralised culture production and give them a different purpose then preexisting ones. UNSEEN wishes to encourage discourse and reflection on the artistic and social potential of public spaces, relationship between marginal areas and centres, issues related to authorship of young artists and research in artistic creation within new media.