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    The Five Obstructions

    Jason King Feb 14 '05 7

    I just watched the Lars von Trier/Jorgen Leth documentary The Five Obstructions. It is amazing how similiar the film process is to the architectural process.

    In short, von Trier and his creative mentor Leth play a game. Von Trier challenges Leth to remake his film The Perfect Human five times. Each time he gives Leth a set of obstructions. If Leth exposes a weakness, von Trier will punish him with a relevant obstruction. Watching the obstructed creative process is v. interesting.

    I want to talk to my Studio Instructors about modeling an assignment on this film. Perhaps each student could be assigned an existing worthy building and have to re-design it with a set of obstructions. Imagine taking Villa Savoye and re-designing using obstructions such as no white, no right angles, the site is downtown etc.

    Thoughts?

     

     
    • 7 Comments

    • Mason White
      Feb 14, 05 3:30 am

      I completely agree with you. I just showed that film in my history /theory seminar at Cornell, and we talked about it on similar terms. Hihgly underated film... Although I am not sure about mixing 'deconstructing' with 'obstructing'. did you see the Leth original? Great film in its own right.

      Alex MaymindAlex Maymind
      Feb 14, 05 9:44 am

      ive not seen the movie but that sounds quite interesting. id be curious to see how that turns out. also, mason, what is your seminar about and can i cross enroll from osu ?

      matr
      Feb 14, 05 1:44 pm

      it has already turned out - it is out.

      david basulto
      Feb 14, 05 8:21 pm

      wow
      your idea sounds amazing...
      specially for introductory courses... re-do a building with obstructions.

      bryan boyer
      Feb 15, 05 5:44 pm

      fwiw, originally v. savoy had quite a bit of color all over the joint.

      Mason White
      Feb 16, 05 4:38 pm

      alex - why not just commute to ithaca from columbus every thursday? The seminar is about working methodolgy, called "Working Strategies + Tactics." We are looking at music (serialism), architecture (mat building), film (sequencing), and web (mit media lab, et al)...

      Back to 5 Obstructions ... actually what is interesting about Von Trier's method over Leth's is the way in which von Trier operates more from a strategic base and Leth more from a tactical base. Von trier predetermines method as means of testing the outcome, while Leth works more reactively to conditions.

      the last obstruction was amazing; von Trier sets up a strategy by which Leth obstructs von Trier without even knowing it. brilliant.

      c.k.
      Feb 25, 05 1:25 pm

      that's interesting
      it was the first thing that came into my mind after i saw the movie, that if i ever teach studio i will structure it like this.
      my favourites are the original black and white movie about the human and the cartoon one.

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