Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kracauer, Sigfried, Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality.

Are films, "manufactured dreams"?

What relations can be drawn between dreaming and creativity?

Is their a connection between separating from reality and the process of design, in relation to the way this article defines film?


  1. To answer my own question...

    I believe that there is a strong connection between the design process and a separation from reality. In the reading, film is referred to as being dreamlike. It is a false reality that allows the viewer to conceive something that does not necessarily exist.

    I architectural design, I often have to separate myself from the reality of a built object, in order to further the design process. The ultimate goal is always to create the reality of a building, but not every sketch and model is a concrete representation. Many of these drawings and models become something entirely surreal, in order to further the development of the design. For example, architectural drawing are often very conceptual. They allow the observer to view the project in a almost "dreamlike" condition in order to conceive it. This separation from the concrete reality of a building into the dreamlike conception of it, is very important to the process of architectural design.

  2. by the way...both SIR NICHOLAS and NICKREADSBLOGS are my usernames. I accidentally signed into the wrong one.

  3. This makes me think about the way that our bodies paralyze themselves during the REM cycle so that we do not "act out" our dreams. So it seems the brain processes our dreams as reality even though we are not physically going through the actions occurring in our dreams. In the same way, we sort of live vicariously through characters in a film (or book even) and "follow along" with them as their story unfolds. In the same way, as designers, we have to step back from what we create.

    To quote Peter Zumthor from Thinking Architecture: "...when our imagination and curiousity about the reality of the drawing can penetrate the image, [so that] the portrayal itself becomes the object of our desire, and our longing for its reality wanes because there is little or nothing in the representation that points to the intended reality behind it."

    In a way then, as designers, we have a very similar obligation that filmmakers do. Their purpose is to construct a reality that is so believable (think of a dream you had that seemed so real you couldn't remember if it actually happened) that we are immersed in the story and sympathize with the protagonist. Much like this, we should construct a form or space that is so genuine in the way it intends to invoke a certain emotion that inhabitants can drift through it and retain this experience. The danger here (in film and architecture) is that the beauty of the piece becomes so distracting that it is this beauty that is focused on and not the message that is trying to be conveyed. I can think of several movies that I like simply for the visuals but have a story with little essence. Of course, the best ones are those that have both.

    As designers, when all of the elements are brought together; construction, circulation, balance, light, etc., the inhabitant is able to 'derive' [from the French Situationists] and focus on the essence that all of these elements are supporting. The same is true with film and the reality that is constructed there; lighting, acting, cinematography, dialogue, set/costume design, etc.

    I guess all of this to say that success as a filmmaker or designer comes with the ability to lose your viewer in your work so that your message is evident.