Shattered landscape scenes in photo-books and cinema*

03.02.2017 – 04.02.2017

Following our last research on the idea of intensity a modern obsession to our experience of life and imagery developed by the philosopher and writer Tristan Garcia, PUNTO DE FUGA has invested two important places for a two days program at the very heart of Paris. In early February 2017, The Librairie Volume and Le Carreau du temple have both accepted to host an intense program of discussions, book-signings and film projections about: falling architectures, a special review on the life and death of architectural landscape seen through a selection of books and films that will be introduced by some of the authors.

During two days, this program of falling architectures is the outcome of a first meeting on ruins and vandalism in the photo-book film and in cinema that was conceived for both Libriaire Volume and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in February 2015.

Part I : Life and death of the architecture in the photo-book field

PUNTO DE FUGA selection
Friday 03.02.2017

Breaking-up with the antique vision of mimesis (in the sense of imitatio) as a way of evoking reality in landscape painting and photography, this book selection follows the most recent avant-garde approaches on what we call the landscape in motion, a banal and yet very tragic vision of landscape being forced to it’s own inevitable transformation. Architectures play in this program a very important role, as their presence is always seen as the last element remaining from the shattered and disrupted landscape that has suffered from war, natural disasters or exhaustion. Some artists and photographers will be signing their books and sharing their approach on this idea of the irreversible fall of architecture in landscape photography.

For most of this books, the banality of the falling gesture, this moment of inevitable path to the ruin and to its former disappearance is what makes this tragic events extremely absurd. Andrea Botto and Cyrille Weiner have constantly been working on this very thin surface of the image, where an accident, an explosion or any other destructive force expresses itself in the most picturesque way. The dialectic movement of the fall and the destruction of a constructed landscape is what gives an insignificant moment its power and depth. All the fury, the rage and the sound of this land cracking down by the effect of a destructive force is contained in these open and otherwise quiet composition of the landscape. The noise of a cracking fire in Nicolas Giraud’s Empyre series, the distant sound of a programmed explosion in Naoya Hatakeyama’s Blast Series and in Andrea Botto’s KA-BOOM series or even the lattent presence of war in the short recorded images and videos published in a few press magazines and journals reporting the destruction of Sana’a in Yemen or that of the Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra open photography to its latent power of recording a shifting reality to make it become distant and tragic by the only fact of becoming “acceptable” or banal and beautifully to our eyes.

When reading at the books of this falling structures, the eye becomes aware of this permanent contradictions in time and discourse.The memory of a moment of no-return is here looking for what the image evokes and leaves behind, the noise of this land cracking down. This is a book selection for the spirit to wake up to a certain form of finitude and transformation of the land.

What is photography having to say about this process of destruction? Where are the limits of our vision? And where lies the essence of this permanent contradiction of a common and yet so disturbing instant recorded?

Book selection by PUNTO DE FUGA:

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Andrea Botto, Ka-Boom, Editions Bessard, 2016

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Naoya Hatakeyama, Blast, Shogakukan, 2013

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Marie Sommer, Circular Ruins : Kumrovec, 2015

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Jeroen Hofman, Playground, Hazazah, 2011

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Paul Virilio, Bunker Archaeology, Princeton Architectural Press, 1994

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Julie C. Fortier, House Wood, Coproduction Les Ateliers de Rennes / Frac Bretagne, Biennale d’art contemporain, édition 2008

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Nicolas Descottes, Collisions, Auto-édité, 2012

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André Cepeda, Depois, Pierre von Kleist, 2016

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Giovanna Silva, Syria, A Travel Guide to Disappearance, Mousse Publishing, 2016

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Ari Marcopoulos, Rome-Malibu, Roma Publication 285, 2016

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Walid Raad, Let’s Be Honest, the Weather Helped, the Atlas Group, 1998

Part II: Incursions into experimental cinema cinema

Film selection by PUNTO DE FUGA
Carreau du Temple

Saturday 04.02.2017

Cinema has had a similar approach to the inevitable fall of architectures due to tragic events explaining their first abandonment, then their inevitable disappearance. The attraction of the abyss, this well known romantic vision of destructed landscape has now been replaced by a more discreet imagery of the ruin experiencing its own fall. The films selected are usually playing with the limits of fiction and reality to provoke a strange feeling of vertige when nothing extremely dangerous is happening. The tragic moment is gone or it is still latent, as a former possibility, waiting for us to experience it.

In this film selection, war, catastrophe and destruction draw a different Ground Zero environment, as if cinema had shaped another abandoned landscape feature: it’s the case of this video and photographic project entitled The day nobody died done by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, or through the use of simulations of nuclear essays done bu Critical Art Ensemble, the off screen voice and the moment of silence in the film add a tragic narrative and gesture into insignificant moments and irrelevant landscapes where nothing seems to be happening in fact. In other cases, it is the approach on war that is shifting by the use of a very laconic and disturbing interrogative discourse or phrase where the field noises of a documented and more realistic vision should be the only elements timing and recording the war scene: Where is Your Helicopter?  and Real Remnants of Fictive Wars, Parts I-V  are both defying our vision of conflict, introducing an open question or an fictional interpretation of how a war transforms landscape into a theater of a tragic and dreadful ground. What all this movies seem to have in common is that it is not the fall of the architecture in itself that counts but the dissolution and the annihilation of the idea we had of that landscape we look at. What this films provoke is the fall of our certainties of our vision at that very moment where destruction is announced or expected. This are different histories of deception, new fictional myths of what destruction and failure in architecture mean when seen through the lens of the camera that is recording.

History minus zero : no limit is also that, a trompe-l’oeil and a story of the re-appropriation of meaning through the cinema. It is as if the movie had become a good way of dis-recording or miss-recording reality to make if become more absurd and more scandalous that it is to our eyes.

What do all this films say about the ruin? How to interpret the images in the dissolution of common situations ?  Isn’t this our common ruin, our zero ground territory? Who knows…


Film proposal:

Adam BROOMBERG & Oliver CHANARIN, The Day Nobody Died, 23’06, 2009
Coll., Radiation Burn, Critical Art Ensemble: A Temporary Monument to Public Safety, 12’30, 2010
Cyprien GAILLARD, Pruitt Igoe Falls, 7′, 2009
Johan GRIMONPREZ, Kobarweng or Where is Your Helicopter? 25’, 1992
REUTERS, Destruction of Palmyra, Reuters/Social Media, 5’, 2015
Jordi VIDAL, History Minus Zero_ No Limit , 2013, Apres-production, 86’

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Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, The Day Nobody Died, 23’06, 2009

Visions of the ruin:
Articles we recommend reading.

– Paul Virilio ,Bunker Archaeology, Princeton Architectural Press, 1994
– Rafael Argullol, The Attraction of the abyss : an Itinerary for the Romantic Landscape, Acantilado, 2006
– Coll. Archive for: Theme Cat 1 dans A Verification of Building-Destruction Resulting from Attacks by the Israeli Occupation, Forensic architecture, Consulté en 2016
– Johan Grimonprez, Against documentary in The Electronic Disturbance, Critical Art Ensemble, 1994
– Julia Hell & Andreas Schönle, Ruins of Modernity, Duke University Press, 2010
– Jean Yves Jouannais,L’usage des ruines, Verticales 2015.
– Rose Macaulay, La voix des ruines, Cercle du Bibliophile, 1965
– Paul Virilio,Bunker Archaeology, Princeton Architectural Press, 1994
– Nota Tsekoura, War architecture, Space Under, 2013



Laura Carbonell


Librairie Volume 
47, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth
75003 Paris
Métro: République
T.:01 85 08 02 86

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Le Carreau du Temple

2, rue Perrée 75003 Paris
Métro: Temple ou Filles du Calvaire
T.: 01 83 81 93 30

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