Vu-topia

Futures on Film

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Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th March 2009
Barbican, London

Building Futures presents a weekend exploring architectural utopian fantasies and cautionary dystopias to accompany Le Corbusier – The Art of Architecture Exhibition at the Barbican, London. Le Corbusier embraced film to convey and promote his ideas. The media has since been used by a host of architects and visionaries to illustrate possible futures.

Revealing our oscillating visions of things to come

The weekend of shorts, features and archive material grouped around four distinct themes that chart 75 years of the development of film and experimentation with the shifting realm of the architectural imagination. Vu-topia is accompanied by discussions, and present visions of new worlds from Corb himself to eco-architect Michael Reynolds and others.

Programme
Saturday 28th March 6pm

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A Civic Endeavour

Introduction by David West- Studio EgretWest.
Global war, gleaming underground cities and a luddite reaction to space travel, H.G Wells’ landmark Things to Come offers an epic 100 year prophecy. Together with Le Corbusier’s highly charged vision of demolition and construction for Paris as revealed in Architectures d’Aujourd’hui. Vu-topia kicks off with the 1930s epic quest for civic progress.

THINGS TO COME
UK 1936 Dir William Cameron Menzies
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ARCHITECTURES D’AUJOURD HUI
France 1931, Dir Pierre Chenal

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Homes for the Future

Introduced by Francois Penz, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge.
From American 1950s suburban promise of a bright future with the help of multi-talented robots (Leave it to Roll-Oh) to Charley’s plan to wave good-bye to overcrowded cities in favour of the UK’s new towns, this session looks back at the post-war optimism and the modern home. But this futuristic living ideal and gadgetry is not embraced by all as Mon Oncle’s Monsieur Hulot is quick to reveal…

MON ONCLE
France 1958, Dir Jaques Tati
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CHARLIE AND THE NEW TOWN
UK 1948, Dir John Halas
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LEAVE IT TO ROLL-OH
USA 1940, Handy Organization
Made for the New York World’s Fair (1939-40)

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Programme
Sunday 29th March 6pm

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The City of Control

Introduction by Tamsie Thomson- Head of Building Futures.
Set in the stark environment beneath the Earth’s surface, George Lucas’ first commercial feature envisages a de-personalised future civilization controlled by authoritarian robotic police. This suffocating view of technological estrangement preempted a wave of 1970s dystopic features and shorts that tapped into our suspicions of authority, technology and who or what is planning our future.

THX1138
USA 1971, Dir George Lucas

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The fight for a future

Faced with environmental challenges, film has portrayed both societal ‘meltdown’ around ecological disasters and stories of hope and endeavour. This session deals with both; firstly with Garbage Warrior, the tale of eco-architect Michael Reynolds and his quest to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities, followed by the highly dystopian end of the world animation of The Ark. This will be followed by Nic Clear of UCL presenting a series of shorts that looks at architecture’s role in the Near Future, an architecture of high-tech, low-tech and even no-tech.

GARBAGE WARRIOR
UK 2007, Dir Oliver Hodge
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SHORTS- Unit 15
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
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THE ARK
France 2006, Dir. Grzegorz Jonkajtys

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Vu-topia is brought together by Building Futures with the RIBA Trust and the Barbican.

All images kind permission of the Barbican.

Barbican
RIBA Trust

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