Active Time in Landscape, Architecture, and Cinema
SCIArc MediaSCAPES Seminar Thursdays, 1-4PM, room TBA
Professor : Ed KELLER

Since the birth of cinema, architectural and urban space and ideas of landscape have played a crucial role in
the visual representation of space on screen. As contemporary discourse is reinventing the idea of landscape and
providing us with the idea of multiple layers of overlapping ‘scapes’, so also has the concept of landscape evolved
within cinema. One of the key hypotheses we will examine in this course is the presence and function of time
within landscapes and cinema. Thinkers like Gilles Deleuze have written interdisciplinary histories of cinema- his
Cinema 1+2, for example- exploring the way that film functions as a highly accelerated cultural engine for the
development of thinking about space and also about time. This concept will guide our approach to the concept of
the ‘scape’.

Contemporary urban theories rely on concepts of networks and agents- human, ecological or economical-
which populate the landscapes that we work with as designers, and which can only be properly understood 'in
time'. Earlier conceptual models for landscape were drawn from a complex symbology and representational
vocabulary. A well recognized lineage exists which we can trace over the past 8 centuries which parallels the way
that societies construct images of themselves, build systems of control and economy, and the frames they build
in the landscapes around them.

Many different kinds of time have been theorized as human society moved from an agrarian to an industrial to
a post industrial environment. Examples of time embedded within landscapes abound: geological time; genetic
time; prehistorical time; cosmological time; city time vs. agricultural time; linear time or cyclical time; measured
time [Chronos] and unmeasured time [Aion]; reversible time as measured by classical physics or irreversible time
shown in thermodynamics and dissipative structures.

Cinema has compressed into just over one century all the representational and philosophical themes that our
built environment has been driven by for over a thousand years. This evolution of film has been informed, in many
ways, by the history of landscape theory: moving from the primarily visual, to the compositional and symbolic, to
the compositional and material, to the active landscape, then the urban montage as a landscape of image and
action and finally to emergent landscapes: the discovery of network systems on macro and microscopic levels.
Indeed, cinema has played a role in changing the way that we understand the nature of landscape as a lived field
spanning the scale from the microscopic to the cosmologic.

The films we will survey in this seminar showcase a variety of landscapes, each of which generates different
forms of time. We will track this catalog of ' time landscapes' through several dozen films. A wide range of
genres and periods will give cinematic illustrations of each concept of landscape, and will be joined with selected
examples from landscape, urbanism, and architecture. We will read from a core group of theorists and
philosophers whose work addresses the themes of time, power, and space that the films evidence.

We will use cinema to rethink the application of landscape as a mediated system which establishes
connectivity both in terms of space and time, informed by Appadurai's terms (techno, media, ethno, ideo, &
finance scapes) thus adding a critical component which activates the idea of time as an agent in the discourse on
landscape and the built environment. A common theme present in our screenings and readings this semester
will be that in each of the varying kinds of time we see evidenced, there is a deeply political nature. In fact, these
'Politics' of time suggest that all experiences of this new concept of landscape are both intensely political and

Class will meet once every two weeks. Additional meetings during the semester will be scheduled.

We will typically follow the format of a 1.5 hour lecture, followed by a 2.5 hour discussion with films clips screened in class.
Outside of class, students will be assigned to watch, on average, two films per week and read 20-40 pages of text drawn from
contemporary philosophy and film/architecture theory. Suggested viewings will be covered in class lectures. Most film material
that requires time outside of scheduled hours is available from rental
film houses, and hard to find films will be in the library on reserve when possible.

Week 1-10: Lectures, in class seminars, and external screenings and readings will comprise the bulk of the work.
Week 10-14: As an optional assignment, students will form small teams and conduct an urban drift that will draw on and
extend some of the cinematic and landscape concepts we have studied throughout the semester. We will discuss ways of
merging landscape mapping techniques with film making techniques. A brief film mapping analysis will yield protocols for an
urban engagment, which will be conducted according to Situationist ideas of the derive. This exercise will be recorded, and
presented as a short digital film in a juried screening during the final class session.

Introduction & selected examples of cinematic and temporal LANDSCAPES:
PARIS TEXAS:: Opening in desert
LESSONS of DARKNESS:: ten minutes- various excerpts
MAN with MOVIE CAMERA:: Ten minutes at START
MIRROR:: Trust Not Premonitions passage; Final sequence

WEEK 1/2-- The construction of VISIBILITY: the VISION LANDSCAPE
_ assigned viewing: Irma Vep [Assayas], Draughtsman's Contract [Greenaway]
_suggested viewing: Drowning by Numbers [Greenaway]
• Fredric Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic
• Virilio, The Vision Machine
• Sanford Kwinter, 'Landscapes of Change', Assemblage 19

-- CTHONIC landscapes: Non-Human life, Deep Time, Slow Time
_ assigned viewing: Beau Travail [Denis] Mirror [Tarkovsky], Koyanisquatsi [Reggio]
_suggested viewing: Exorcist [Friedkin], Nosferatu [Herzog], Stalker [Tarkovsky], Taste of Cherry [Kiarostami]
• Michel Serres: Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy and The Parasite
• Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
• online essays on Serres and Tarkovsky

WEEK 3-4-- Landscapes of WAR; Machinic, Genetic and Cosmic Landscapes
_ assigned viewing week 3: Thin Red Line [Malick], Lessons of Darkness [Herzog], Apocalypse Now [Coppola]
_assigned viewing week 4: 2001 [Kubrick], Solaris [Soderbergh, Tarkovsky],Crash [Cronenberg], Deserto Rosso [Antonioni]
_suggested viewing: Weekend [Godard], The Third Man [Reed], Full Metal Jacket [Kubrick], Andromeda Strain [Wise]
• M. Serres, continue reading Parasite and 'Origin of Language'
• Bernard Cache, Earth Moves
• Manuel DeLanda, Zone 6 [Non Organic Life]
• Lem, Solaris

WEEK 5/6-- The Western horizon: Landscapes of MYTH
_ assigned viewing: Once Upon a Time in the West [Leone], Paris Texas [Wenders], Easy Rider [Hopper]
• Wim Wenders, from Emotion Pictures [Once upon a Time in the West, Easy Rider]
• The Act of Seeing [Urban Landscape..]

The Voyage transformed
_ assigned viewing: Thelma and Louise [Scott], North by Northwest [Hitchcock]
_ suggested viewing: Dead Man [Jarmusch]
• Lukacs, Theory of the Novel
• Jim Corner, Taking Measures Across the American Landscape

_ assigned viewing: Alphaville [Godard], Playtime [Tati], Blade Runner [Scott]
_suggested viewing: Heat [Mann]
• Manuel DeLanda, A Thousand Years of NonLinear History
• Tschumi, SIX CONCEPTS; Questions of Space, Manhattan Transcripts

assigned viewing: Conversation [Coppola], Blowup [Antonioni], VideoDrome [Cronenberg]
_suggested viewing: BlowOut [DePalma], Enemy of the State [Tony Scott], Ghost in the Shell [Oshii]
• Enzensberger, 'Constituents of a Theory of the Media'
• Fredric Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic [revisit text from first week]
• Neal Stephenson, Diamond Age

_ assigned viewing: Farewell my Concubine [Kaige], Fight Club [Fincher], Traffic [Soderbergh], Catch-22 [Nichols]
_ suggested viewing: Clockwork Orange [Kubrick], Chinatown [Polanski]
• Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, Expressionism in Philosophy
• Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces
• suggested: Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

CITYMAPS: COGNITIVE Landscapes: [RE]constructing new [IN]visibility
_ assigned viewing: Man with a Movie Camera [Vertov], CARO DIARIO [Moretti], MAMMA ROMA [Pasolini]
_ suggested viewing: ROMA, AMARCORD [Fellini]
• Michel deCerteau, The Practice of Everyday Life
• Situationist Texts , online at

Week 11/12-- City Maps 2: Cognitive Landscapes
_ assigned viewing: Vertigo [Hitchcock], Wings of Desire [Wenders], Chungking Express [Wong Kar Wai]
_ suggested viewing: Lisbon Story [Wenders], My Own Private Idaho [Van Sant]
• Wim Wenders, 'Find Myself a City...'
• Raskin, Camera movement in Wings of Desire
• Ed Keller, 'Complex Time' lecture

GEOPOLITICAL SCAPES: Politics, responsibility, and the construction of new identity
_assigned viewing: Passenger [Antonioni], Underground [Kusturica]
_ suggested viewing: Hiroshima mon Amour [Resnais/Duras], Element of Crime [Von Trier]
• Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination
• Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large

WEEK 13-14
TOPOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES: Collective time, and building a new self: the machine and memory
_ assigned viewing: 8 1/2 [Fellini], Polygraph, Confessional [LePage], Afterlife [Koreeda]
_ suggested viewing: NIN concert footage, La Jetee [Marker]
• Samuel Weber, 'Displacing the Body: the Question of Digital Democracy'
• Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution
• Paul Ryan, essay on the relational circuit
• Philip K Dick, from VALIS
• Ben Goertzel, online essays on structure of time and AI

ACTIVE TIME in the body politic:
_ assigned viewing: All About My Mother [Almodovar], Fallen Angels [Wong Kar Wai], Sans Soleil [Marker]
• Grant Morrison, The Invisibles
• Antonio Negri, Time for Revolution
• Chris Marker, Sans Soleil text
• Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs