Each frame, each moment, we record the world around us through our senses. We experience the warmth of light through a window, the dashing of elevator doors in our hallway, the texture of a handrail, the aroma of something cooking in the kitchen. In P.L.Deshpande’s words, When we hear the word Thalipeeth, we not only just remember a peculiar maharashtrian dish made by Grandmom but we also remember her bangles clinging while Doughing the flour, freshly made white butter, the kitchen where we sat and ate it and countless other memories. These senses create the full experience of the spaces we inhabit. Rohan Shivkumar has been trying to capture these moments, cacophonies, their contradictions, paradoxes and more through his architectural films.
Today I have Rohan Shivkumar with us on Audiogyan. Rohan is an architect, urban designer and filmmaker practicing in Mumbai. He is the Dean of Research and Academic Development at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies. His work ranges from architecture, urban research and consultancy projects to works in film and visual art. He is interested in issues concerning housing, public space and in exploring the many ways of reading and representing the city. Today, we will try and document, what does it take to create space or a moments in time on a film
You have made 2 films so far, “Nostalgia of the Future” & “Lovely Villa”. I recently watched both of them at Frame Conclave in Goa. Very nice indeed. In both of your films you are trying to show connections and also dissociation between the matter (which is architecture) and soul (which are memories and intangible feelings associated). Can you start by briefly telling us what are these films and what made you do these films?
Something within you (as an architect) is not able to manifest in the form of architecture. Probably that could be the reason you made these films? Is there a common or individual subtext you are trying to communicate through these 2 films? What is that subtext?
Filmmaking is a much younger art form than architecture. We daily walk pass the same building but hardly pay attention to the details or art deco of it. But when a film captures that and presents it, it feels great. Is it failure of the architect to show us those beauty spots or victory of film making as an art form? Is invisible architecture great architecture?
What is the biggest challenge to encapsulate the micro and and macro of architecture on the film? This is in context of Correa’s vision for "a mirror of the nation, in miniature” - If you at all tried to portray that in you film, what was the process like?
Both of your films have long takes with steady shots. Without much camera panning and moving. Is this standard for more or less architecture films? You have intentionally taken this route? What are your thoughts and learning?
Lastly, I would like to conclude by asking, what is Project Cinema City? Can you tell us more about it? What we do as regular citizens?
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