Yale School of Architecture
critics: Joe DAY with Michelle PAUL
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Amir MIKHAEIL: This is what happens when the image becomes time-image…the screen itself is the cerebral membrane where immediate and direct confrontations take place between the past and the future, the inside and the outside, at a distance impossible to determine, independent of any fixed point. The image no longer has space and movement as its primary characteristics but topology and time. — Gilles Deleuze
Situated near the periphery of Downtown LA along Wilshire Boulevard the proposed Center for Contemporary Cinema implants a new manifold for projection of film and new media within the city. Collapsing multiple planes of image – film and the real, the project seeks to bridge the turn along Wilshire from its true East-West extrusion towards the downtown grid. Taking cues from Tarkovsky’s representation of time in cinema and the Deleuzian conception of the time-image which is not reliant on the linear progression of movement through film, the project seeks to ‘jump’ the turn dislocating the continuous urban narrative structure of Wilshire Boulevard.
Situated on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Virgil Avenue, the massing of the building turns as it rises to realign itself towards downtown creating an internal cascading atrium straddled by two primary hyperbolic surfaces. Two primary theater blocks attach themselves to either side. The smaller block containing a single theater faces inwards towards the lobby level, while the larger block contains 4 theaters culminating with the largest theater at the top facing the city through a proscenium. Audience and film projected through this proscenium is visible to gallery attendees and viewers within the atrium. From the street the multiple figures, lights, shadows, and images collapsed onto one another are visible as a flickering image that announces the Cinema Center’s presence and activities.
The proliferation of simultaneous activities as well as the superposition of image and figure within the Cinema Center reflects in building form Cinema’s transition from the movement-image of classical cinema to the time-image. Gilles Deleuze describes this transition in his Cinema 2: The Time Image as a reversal of the subordination of time to movement, where “time ceases to be the measurement of normal movement [and] it increasingly appears for itself and creates paradoxical movements. Time is out of joint.”
sP: What or who influenced this project?
AM: Gilles Deleuze, Andre Tarkovsky, Konstantin Melnikov, Los Angeles, and popcorn with lots of butter.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
AM: Watching Andre Tarkovsky’s films The Mirror and Nostalghia. Reading his book Sculpting in Time, Deleuze’s Cinema 1 and Cinema 2. Watching Mike Figgis’s Timecode.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
AM: Doug Aitken, Werner Herzog, Snohetta, OMA, Diller Scofidio + Renfro.