WIM WENDERS DIDN’T QUITE

IfBuildingsCouldTalk_1-711x497

Dear Mr Wenders,

I’m going to start with the much cliched “don’t get me wrong…,” which I think is flippant and redundant, but somehow suits this purpose.
Don’t get me wrong Mr Wenders, I do like your films very much, but while I enjoyed your little film about SANAA’s Rolex Center in all its 3D splendour, and despite the annoying voice-over of the ‘building’ that unnecessarily narrates to us in no uncertain terms what it does and how it works and where its poetry lies, I somehow feel somewhat uneasy. You see the building as form, as “landscape,” which it certainly looks like visually. As a film maker, you see it (the “protagonist,” you call it) as a place where things “flow” in a seamless interplay of ‘space’ and ‘time,’ like scenes unfolding in your moving camera’s eye. You even made Sejima-san and Nishizawa-san ride around in segways, she beaming with joy, and he deadpan outside (but we are sure, exhilarated inside as the never-smiling young Masatoshi Nagase’s character in Jim Jamusch’s Mystery Train says, “I’m already happy inside.”) In your film, the sense of this building is lovingly presented as ‘flow,’ and this ‘flow’ is derived from you, the framer of things. That is, defined from a god’s-eye view of things (or an angel’s view of things as it is likely in your case.) Then you made the characters act out these scenes of ‘flow.’ This is a little different from what SANAA intended, which is making a simple one-space environment where different things happen, the difference between ‘before’ and ‘after,’ and what Mr James Leng in the previous blog observed while walking around, then tentatively began to discern how different the building is from conventional ways of framing architecture in terms of function, efficiency and detailing or even space and time.

Yours, etc.

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