October 7, 2008

[Connecting Bits] The Designer’s Film Sense

Still from Andrew Sloat’s A More Perfect Union

As purveyors of the stories in people, places and things, it’s great to discover designers exploring filmmaking and experimenting with its narrative possibility:
A precursor to the designer-filmmaker role in the time of digital cameras, software and the web is the film work by the Eameses. In a piece in The New Yorker magazine (1999), architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote, “The visionary Eameses all but invented the notion of using multiple projectors and multiple screens. When they were invited to produce a film explaining life in the United States for an exhibition sponsored by the United States Information Agency in Moscow in 1959—the exhibition at which Nixon had the famous kitchen debate with Nikita Khruschev—they came up with a seven-screen display that bombarded Muscovites with more than two thousand images of freeway cloverleafs, buses, kite fliers, skiers, musicians, churches, skyscrapers, and Marilyn Monroe. Closeups, wide shots, and distant views flashed from screen to screen for twelve intense minutes. ‘We wanted enough images going at the same time that it would completely discourage being absorbed in a single one,’ Eames said later. ‘If you got more than you could really take in, the effect of information was one that was greater than you had actually experienced.’” Paul also related that “The Eameses shared a love of the ordinary, and an ability to make it noble, even sacred.”