ARTS.FILM invites the director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture to introduce you to the cinema of Bêka & Lemoine.
From May 20th to June 5th, ARTS.FILM is partnering with the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the information website Kollectif to present a selection of 5 films of architectural exploration by renowned video artists Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine. Available online for free for subscribers to the platform and at a price of $10 for all, these 5 films chosen by Giovanna Borasi, director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, bring you to the cinema of these two artists, architects and filmmakers who, for the past 10 years, have been offering a new look at architecture and its narration.
WORD BY GIOVANNA BORASI
“Of the many films Bêka and Lemoine have worked on, the selection I have made helps us understand the ongoing dialogue between the client and the architect, and the latter’s aspirations, and the successes, failures, and surprises that come out of the attempt to realize them. So, if in Bordeaux Rem Koolhaas’ idea was to create a kinetic home, the cleaning lady asks what it means to take care of this ever-transforming space. If in Tokyo, Ryue Nishizawa’s idea was to create a private urban home with spatiality of a village, it is Mr. Moriyama (the funny client and art collector) through whose personality we understand this unique habitat. For Chamberlain, Powell and Bon, it is the residents, staff, and visitors of the Barbican who, like animals in a nature film, reveal the essential consonances and dissonances of their habitat. And similarly, for Bjarke Ingels it is numerous inhabitants, or specifically the mail man, of “8 House” whose lives inherently raise questions about happiness in these shared spaces. Bêka and Lemoine bring forward the condition of real life to reckon with the ambitions of the architect. And that’s why I decided to complement this selection with Selling Dreams, where you don’t have a famous architect’s design, but rather the design of a universal service like AirBnB, and you are again confronted with users coming up against its limits (and discovering its potentials).”
From May 20th to June 5th, you can watch on ARTS.FILM :
France | 2008 | 58m
Koolhaas Houselife portrays one of the masterpieces of contemporary architecture: the house in Bordeaux, designed by Rem Koolhaas / OMA in 1998. The film lets the viewer enter into the daily intimacy of the house through the stories and daily chores of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper, and the other people who look after the building. As we follow and interact with Guadalupe, an unusual and unpredictable look at the spaces and structure of the building opens up.
This film had its world premiere at the 11th Venice Biennale in Architecture 2008 and was awarded Best Film at the ArchFilmLund Festival in Sweden (2013).
France | 2017 | 1h 3m
English | Subtitles: English
One week in the extraordinary-ordinary life of Mr. Moriyama, a Japanese art, architecture and music enlightened amateur who lives in one of the most famous contemporary Japanese architecture, the Moriyama house, built in Tokyo in 2005 by Pritzker-Prize winner Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA). Introduced in the intimacy of this experimental microcosm which redefines completely the common sense of domestic life, Ila Bêka recounts in a very spontaneous and personal way the unique personality of the owner: an urban hermit living in a small archipelago of peace and contemplation in the heart of Tokyo. From noise music to experimental movies, the film let us enter into the ramification of Mr. Moriyama’s free spirit. Moriyama-San, the first film about noise music, acrobatic reading, silent movies, fireworks and Japanese architecture!
This film was awarded at the London Architecture Film Festival (2019), the Festival International du Livre d’Art et du Film, Perpignan (2018), the Arquitecturas FIlm Festival in Lisbon (2018), the Arqfilmfest in Chile (2018) and the FIFAAC in Bègles, France
France | 2014 | 1h 32m
English | Subtitles: English
Barbicania is a feature-length film capturing a month-long immersion in the life of the Barbican Centre and Estate in London, one of the most representative achievements of brutalist architecture. The film, built as a personal diary, recounts on a daily basis what the director’s duo has discovered during their urban trip from the top floors of the towers to the underground levels of the art centre. Barbicania invites you to discover the personalities, lifestyle and architectural landscapes that make the Barbican so special. Drawing an intimate human map of the place, the film questions the durability of this post-Second World War utopia.
The Infinite Happiness
France | 2015 | 1h 23m
English | Subtitles: English
The Infinite Happiness is a highly unusual architectural experience. The film takes us to the heart of one of the contemporary residential developments considered to be a new model of success: the giant “8 House” designed in 2009 by Danish architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group in the suburbs of Copenhagen. Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine recount their month-long immersion inside this experiment of the vertical village, nominated “World best residential building” in 2011. As a Lego game, the film builds up a collection of life stories all interconnected by their personal relation to the building. Drawing the lines of a human map, the film reveals the building from an inner and intimate point of view. By showing the surprising results of this innovative social model, the directors question the architecture’s ability to create collective happiness.
France | 2016 | 24m
English | Subtitles: English
The home-sharing platforms drastically changed Mark’s life. From a cozy and normal family life, this young man entered the vortex of a rather unusual and adventurous life experience. From now on, Mark makes a living by renting beautiful flats, living himself exclusively in hotel rooms, changing address everyday. Unveiling his rare strategies of success, selling tailor-made dreams for guests looking for a “true Scandinavian experience”, Mark pushes the home-sharing system to its extreme. Thanks to this experience, he found a new form of freedom combining a high level of material detachment with a maximum of mobility.
ABOUT BÊKA & LEMOINE
Bêka & Lemoine have stood out on the international architectural scene for almost 20 years through a cinematographic work known for its innovative nature and its tender and biting humour, which has disrupted the usual representation of contemporary architecture by putting people and uses at the forefront. A project which defeats the question of genre, by placing itself at the edges of the documentary and video art, through a singular and highly subjective style. Thanks to an authentic artistic perspective on architecture, Bêka & Lemoine open new horizons to the relationship between architecture and cinema.
Presented by The New-York Times as the “cult figures in the European architecture world”, Bêka & Lemoine’s work has been widely acclaimed as “a new form of criticism” (Mark) which “has deeply changed the way of looking at architecture” (Domus). Selected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (the Met) as one of the “Most exciting and critical design projects of the year 2016”, elected “Game Changers 2015” by Metropolis Magazine, selected as one of the “100 most talented personalities of 2017” by Icon Design. The complete work of Bêka & Lemoine has been acquired in 2016 by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York for its permanent collection. Their latest series, “Homo Urbanus: A City-Matographic Odyssey” portrays a harrowing journey across multiple cities in the world. With their intuitive, tong-in-cheek style, Bêka & Lemoine make us watch people with them, reflecting on how our cities shape our behavior as humans but mostly, it speaks about human behavior in its most universal form.
Their films have been widely presented in major biennials and international cultural events such as The XII Architecture Biennial of Sao Paulo in 2019, The Venice Architecture Biennale (2008, 2010, 2014), among many others. Their films are also frequently exhibited in some of the most prestigious museums and international cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Barbican in London. Bêka & Lemoine’s films have largely been selected and awarded by some major film festivals such as Cannes Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival (Venice), Locarno Film Festival, CPH:DOX (Copenhagen), DocAviv (Tel Aviv), among many others.
Bêka & Lemoine are regularly invited to lecture and teach in some of the most important universities: GSD / Harvard University (USA), GSAPP Columbia University (New-York, USA), Mendrisio (Switzerland) and HEAD (Switzerland). They thaught the design Studio Diploma 16 (M.Arch.) at the Architectural Association School in London from 2019 until 2021. In 2018 they have been laureates of Villa Kujoyama, French residency program for artists in Japan, and Ila Bêka has been laureate Italian Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.
More information: http://www.bekalemoine.com/
ABOUT THE CCA
The Canadian Centre for Architecture is an international research institution and museum premised on the belief that architecture is a public concern. We produce exhibitions and publications, develop and share our collection as a resource, advance research, offer public programs, and host a range of other activities driven by a curiosity about how architecture shapes — and might reshape — contemporary life. We invite collaborators and the wider public to engage with our activities, giving new relevance to architectural thinking in light of current disciplinary and cultural issues.
Founded as a new type of cultural institution by Phyllis Lambert in 1979, the CCA is currently directed by Giovanna Borasi.
More information: https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/