Portrait of a House

«Portrait of a house» is a two-minute animated portrait of Casa Malaparte built in Capri, Italy, between 1938-1942 by its owner Curzio Malaparte in collaboration with a master builder. This filmic portrait deconstructs the house’s over-published iconic image to reveal an intimate and poetic interior, which has been neglected in its historical analysis and theoretical discourse. The short film is made as a mixed-media animation, combining photography, video and digital drawing. With a collection of found images, the creation of an audiovisual database, and processes of assemblage and digital montage, this mixed-media animation enacts the building’s implicit narratives and reconstructs the experience of affective spatial views. It performs spaces, views and fragments in a series of animated tableaux, each capturing a specific theme of the house, including Raining Windows; Salon; and The Tourist Boat. The filmic work aims to make visible the transient conditions of atmosphere, affect and imaginary, all outcomes of the author’s study, personal encounter and temporal occupation of the house.

«Portrait of a House» explores the potential of the moving image as a reflective tool in architectural design research. Foregrounding experience as a source of knowledge in architecture, this method introduces the concept of the architect-performer, as an active subject attuned to movement, who interweaves visual and spatial knowledge acquired from direct place experiences with insight from design, historical and theoretical research. This filmic practice explores the relationship between the architect-performer and the site under investigation, playing a mediating role between analysis and design. This embodied and performative approach poses an alternative to more common uses of the moving image in architectural practice and education that fluctuate between two polarised directions of photorealism and constructions of utopic fantasy worlds.

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Script, 3D animation and composition, photography / cinematography: Popi Iacovou

Sound composition: Nasia Therapontos

Vimeo Link: https://vimeo.com/509502975/62c774f50e

Bio of artist:

Popi Iacovou, lecturer at the University of Cyprus, is an architect and design researcher investigating trans-disciplinary models of thinking and practicing architecture. She received a PhD in Architectural Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and an MPhil on ‘Architecture and the Moving Image’. She has taught at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, the University of Cambridge, Neapolis University and University of Nicosia. Her research explores the intersections between architecture, performance and the moving image. It investigates how the everyday and the theatrical, as spatial events, produce architecture as a social field. Her methodology is based on situated filmic practice as design research method that investigates spatio-temporal phenomena across different scales. She has published internationally and her films and architectural design work has been shown in various film festivals and architectural exhibitions.

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Theatres of Architectural Imagination Frascari Symposium V