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Artist, architect re-animate history with Open Cinema

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You might have gone to an outdoor cinema, but what about ‘getting immersed’ inside a structure from waist up and having your feet grounded in open space while watching movies?

That was the temporary structure (pictured) that artist Marysia Lewandowska and architect Colin Fournier created for the Portuguese town of Guimaraes—the European Cultural Capital 2012.

Offering a new approach to film viewing and engaging audiences with a playful experience, Open Cinema was created as a tribute to the politically radical cinema culture championed by the local CineClub as well as to the town’s manufacturing past. The structure could hold up to 48 spectators.

“It was the pre-Internet era when watching films had a different meaning,” said Lewandowska. “Frequent screenings provided club members with a space of longing as well as discussion. The screenings as social events were driven as much by the love of film as by resistance to the political regime.”

The Open Cinema in the public square of Largo Condessa do Juncal re-animated that history, promoting openness, generosity, and at the same time emphasising free access for all citizens and visitors, Lewandowska and Fournier noted.

The cinema screened a loop of 23 film trailers from the club’s archive. The trailers were picked by the employees of two local factories, who voted for their favourites at screening sessions held during lunch breaks.

The Open Cinema was also adapted as an associated project of 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

Both Lewandowska and Colin Fournier will share more about their Open Cinema project on 28 Nov, 2014 at the XD Conference.

Colin Fournier is Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), where he was, for 15 years, Director of the Master of Architecture course in Urban Design, as well as Director of Diploma Unit 18. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Marysia Lewandowska is a Polish born artist based in London and Hong Kong. Through her collaborative projects, she has explored the public function of archives, collections and exhibitions. She is Artist in Residence at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong during 2015-2015, and at the same time a professor at the Faculty of Arts of Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’ is a 3-day international conference on experience design (27-29 Nov 2014). Make your booking here.