A Building Explains Itself
A Building Explains Itself is a single channel video that visualizes the possible routes to a building's exit from the imagined perspective of the building itself. Using fire exit diagrams as visual reference and Luciano Berio's Linea as both score and structural inspiration, the video follows a figure that diverges and multiplies at each opportune path and trails a red line that marks its various trajectories. Much like the score, the figure begins as a single coherent body that continues to divide and recombine along concurrent paths until it reaches its destination.
The piece is a visual rumination on the limitations and inadequacies of design. The imagined perspective of the building is not anthropomorphic, but rather a fragmented collection of passageways and portals, shown in a series of static, surveillance-like images, that bear the marks of multiple, competing visions: architect, client, engineer, inhabitant. Irregular stairwells, fantastical details, monotonous hallways, obfuscated views, and odd repetitions abound, all of which combine to make the space appear hermetically sealed off from the environment outside. The buildings details – from the exaggerated doors and glass walls to the exit plans and wall text – are clean and efficient, nearly sterile. The figure is an extension and embodiment of this design: it functions like a maquette, its demeanor stolid and its movements programmatic. Ultimately, the limit of the figure’s path conforms to the scope of the building’s design.