PACIFIC HIGHWAY ONE/WINDSCREENS
by Goswin Schwendinger
Director of Love and Crime. Basta! AA Visiting School
22 May 2014
Pacific Highway, USA
Imagine 12 researchers, 5 electric vehicles and the whole length of the Pacific Highway running through 3 American states. These are the ingredients of this year’s Visiting School Programme of Love and Crime. Basta! Every year we engage in a 2-week-long investigation in the realm of cinematic architecture in its widest sense.
We started in 2012 in Nice, France. Silent short movies were made in order to work on an approach towards a new structural and visual language, involving and immersing ourselves in Nice, Cote D’Azur’s capital of criminality. With Nice as our backdrop we started with a constructed still image for a possible plot that was subsequently produced, shot and finally edited with the aim of making a silent movie that reflected the precision of light sound, colour, texture, or camera and actor movement. All this to give a very specific definition of a place, a mood and a psychological moment that is known to us as a Cinematic House. In 2013 the Research Team for Cinematic Operations (RTCO) went to Calabria with the artist Hilary Koob Sassen. Through the methods of Making, Unmaking and Remaking (MURMUR) we worked towards a new architectural and political language through sound recordings, one-to-one model making and performance. The interior of an abandoned cinema hanging off a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean sea became the metaphor for our Cinematic House.
Now, this August we will travel to Olympia, WA where our journey will begin afresh. We will be transported in convoy using Nissan LEAFs which will become our Cinematic House for the duration of the trip. Every road trip exists to experience unknown territory, punctuated only by the necessity of eating, sleeping, refuelling and going to the toilet. The vehicle, a moving object, becomes home for the duration of the trip and is in that sense the only constant. The freedom to drive this vehicle through the ever- changing landscape presents us with the unexpected, which is projected onto the surface of the windshield.
The use of a still camera lets us write the story of time in images. These relate to us personally through the attraction of a specific event or moment. But simultaneously, the images also relate directly to the portrayed landscape or environment. That lets us conclude that the camera is not merely a tool to reproduce reality but much more a mediator between one’s inner self and our immediate surroundings.
The intervals of picture taking and what the images represent can be described both as random and yet still highly personal. Today’s world will become a seen past that lets us reflect on the ever- changing conditions of existence. Shots of details or sunsets, of rear views or seascapes start to define our growing history like the bulk collection of data by the NSA, a collective memory. Now the question to be asked might well be: would the rescue for the photographer’s soul be the narrative, a timeline, or in our case, the road trip? The actual trip, with all its challenges will allow us to research, reflect and understand what it takes to take photos that represent intention and fact at the same time. On the road we will meet urbanists and architects to discuss our expanding work. We will also hook up with Alec Soth, a Magnum Photographer and we will finish up on the last day at a drive-in cinema in 29 Palms where we will project our final films and celebrate the end.
Dear Friends. We are so excited to tell you: The next "Love&Crime-Basta!" experience, part of the Architectural Association Visiting School programme, will be in form of a road trip. Check first details on: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/STUDY/VISITING/pacifichighwayone Don't miss out and plan your next summer wisely. Best greetings from all at RTCO (Research Team for Cinematic Operations)