Motion Path by Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone
'Motion Path' is a small-scale, twelve-screen video work shot in four of Erich Mendelsohn's major public buildings; the Schocken Department store building in Chemnitz, The Metal Workers' Union (IGM) Building in Berlin, the B'nai Amoona Synagogue in St. Louis, USA, (now the Centre of Creative Arts) and the De La Warr Pavilion.
Each location has been filmed using a repertoire of specific camera moves that register the effects of parallax and trace the extraordinary sinuousness of Mendelsohn's modernist architecture.
In effect the buildings provide a kind of shooting script as the camera's motion is guided by the serpentine fluidity of handrails, the spiralling movement of glass encased stairwells, and multiple and shifting sightlines provided by canopies and walkways.
Starting from the position of seeing Mendelsohn's emblematic and spectacular glass staircases as enormous light modulators, Ellard and Johnstone use both specially designed and other more ad hoc camera devices to emphasises the prismatic effects produced by the always mobile spectator of Mendelsohn's architecture.
Referring back to the architectural films made by Lazlo Moholy Nagy and Pierre Chenal, for whom the roving camera was imagined as the ideal medium for rendering the dynamism of modern architecture, Motion Path emphasises transparency, parallax, simultaneity, multiple and constantly changing views and restlessness in order to produce an experience of the buildings as a set of changing relationships between vistas, voids, solids, reflections and apertures.
The resulting video footage has been edited across twelve screens synchronised to produce a fluid filmic space in which the architecture of the building is re-drawn through the gliding, continuous movement of the camera.
'Motion Path' has been funded by Arts Council England with the support of Film London. Additional support from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Department of Visual Arts, Goldsmiths College.
More about the artists Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone can be found at www.ellardjohnstone.com.
Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone discuss their work in the Artists' Talk
on Thursday 11 May at 6pm.