Film Series: Building a Home in the 1970s

Tuesday, October 11,   6:00 pm

Post image for Film Series: Building a Home in the 1970s

Curated by the Cinema Project. [Check out the Portland non-profit's Kickstarter campaign here! Earn great rewards while supporting a good cause.]

The 1970s saw a number of counter-cultural movements, many of which challenged notions of community and home and promoted alternatives to the very physical structures in which communal activity could take place. Early black-and-white video from multi-media collectives Videofreex and Ant Farm serve both as do-it-yourself guides to alternative structures (like geodesic domes and “inflatables”) and documents of the artists, their friends, and families who participate both as builders and inhabitants. In contrast is a pair of 16mm work that presents two very different types of house construction: from a time-lapse documentary that compresses five months into 11 minutes to efficiently show the constructions of a northern Vermont house, to a lovingly hand-built home whose residents come from the realm of imagination.

Building Dome in Riverbi Earth People’s Park by Videofreex [1970, video, color, sound, 33 min.]

The House Construction Home Movie by Richard Brick [1972, 16mm, color, sound, 11 min.]

Dwellings by Rudolph Burckhardt [1975, 16mm, color, sound, 12 min.]

Inflatables Illustrated by Ant Farm [1971, video, color and b&w, sound, 21 min.]

Building Dome in Riverbi Earth People’s Park by Videofreex
A great example of early 1970s counter-cultural activity and the influence of Buckminster Fuller. The video, shot in Woodstock, NY in November 1971, includes footage of a communal meal being eaten in the woods, and of children playing in the mud. The video goes on to document the building of a geodesic dome. As the group works, many of them naked, they are interviewed to camera, and explain how to build a dome.

The House Construction Home Movie by Richard Brick
Time-lapse documentary which compressed five months of house construction in northern Vermont, from foundation concrete to metal roofing, into a fast moving short, featuring virtuoso banjo soundtrack by Eric Weissberg. Diplome d’Excellence, Festival International du Cineka en 16mm de Montral, 1972; Screened at S. F. Art Institute, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Built Environment Film Festival of Columbia U. Grad. Schl. of Architecture, 1973; Televised by Vermont ETV (San Francisco), and by B. R. T., Flemish Network in Brussels.

Dwellings by Rudolph Burckhardt
Where Charles Simonds is building strange structures of tiny bricks in the crumbling walls of New York’s Lower Eastside, for his ‘Little People’, as the astonished neighborhood kids look on.

Inflatables Illustrated by Ant Farm
In the late 1960s and early ’70s, the Ant Farm collective pioneered the idea of “inflatable” structures as alternative architecture. Inflatables Illustrated offers a visual primer on how Ant Farm prepared and constructed their utopian, experimental inflatable-plastic architecture. Objects such as “The 50×50 Foot Pillow,” “Spare Tire Inflatable” and “Clean Air Pod” are examples of the group’s notion of an architectural practice that was less about pneumatic structure than it was about interactivity and ephemerality. This tape is a corollary to Ant Farm’s seminal 1969 publication The Inflatocookbook (now out of print), a “do-it-yourself” guide to inflatable architecture. Both the book and the tape can be seen as early examples of what is now termed “open source”; through collective practice, Ant Farm was interested in providing widespread access to their artistic concepts.

AIA Portland, NW 11th and Flanders
Donations accepted at the door.