Glare & the Antic Architecture Cinema, Splinter #4

Excerpt from the architecture zine Splinter #4: Glare & the Antic Architecture Cinema,
Summer 1991, Barry Isenor + Kenneth Hayes, Editors.

There was an arresting moment in a film we saw recently. Beyond swirling blue and black images of desolate industrial housing appeared a hesitant shimmer that quickly developed into the fierce glare of a sunset reflected by a tall, mirrored, glass building. It took over the screen and left an indelible image. Glare is the image’s power to compel you to look into it’s brightest spot.

We realized that glare, not “filmic space” or “montage” might be where we could begin to talk about cinematic architecture in our everyday world. What glare does is upset the balance between a specific point and its background. It’s an effect, an irritant that creates the commodity’s edge, determines its ability to standout. If we’ve made objects into rivaling images, our reward is that they glare back at us, solicit our attention by affronting us. The screen is the locus of glare.

The glare of cinema has fixated architecture, which always used to make spaces dark. Film has been latched onto by architectural theory as a metaphor for the narrative complexity and spatial qualities that architecture has always already had. What has become compelling is the absolute control of the image, the capacity to fix your view on a single edited experience. Disregard claims of intrinsic similarities; this is architecture threatened and envious of the new techniques of projecting images of desirability and power.

Surveillance and the Spectacle are not antagonists: they collaborate to keep the whole world in thrall. In Cinecitta, you SQUINT OR GO BLIND.

Back to May 1994 Newsletter: Los Angeles Urbanism