Back to De Stijl: A Return to Modernist Cinema

Web Resident 2016

Find an interview with the artist here.

The House of Shadow-Silence is a real-time audio/visual artwork that takes place within a VR simulation of Frederik Kiesler’s modernist Film Guild Cinema. The cinema, which opened in New York City in 1929, was one of the first designed solely for the experience of viewing films. Kiesler, a member of the De Stijl group, intended to create a space where a spectator could »lose himself in an imaginary, endless space.« It featured a retractable eye (a »Screen-o-Scope«) to project films of different resolutions. His design also specified for projection onto the walls so that heightened moments would be more immersive.

Project Page

In The House of Shadow-Silence, viewers travel in a recursive trip through Kiesler’s cinema: through the retractable eye, into the movies displayed on screen, and then back into the cinema. They experience animations that extend outwards through its walls. These are inspired by the work of abstract filmmaker Hans Richter, whose work was screened on the opening weekend. I will create a VR artwork for Oculus Rift using a custom game engine that generates an endless sequence of unique audio/visual animations – a poetic tribute to Kiesler’s vision: getting lost in an endless space.

This online residency will be an opportunity for to me to create an initial version of the VR experience. The micro-grant will support the creation of animations that extend from the cinema’s walls and allow me to hire a designer to create a 3D model of the theater.