Back Film Lab 1: Baltic Analog Lab

Material Aspects

Paul Kuimet Estonia, 2020, 9', 16 mm

Material Aspects is an essay film that unfolds on the desktop of an unknown collage artist working sometime on the early 21st century. Browsing through various source materials such as archival excerpts, magazines, books and photographs —the history of modernist steel and glass architecture is introduced. The film refers to the paradox Marshall Berman described in the early 1980s: the dystopian glass cities depicted in Soviet science fiction became a reality on the other side of the Iron Curtain under the conditions of the so-called free market economy. The best-known example is the transparent glass city depicted by Yevgeny Zamyatin in his 1921 novel We, in which the inhabitants are constantly monitored. The film’s medium and technique of slow cross dissolves evokes the idea of infinite transparency — of always looking through something to see its relation to something else, whether in architectural form or ideology. All of it depending on the point of view, of looking at things in a certain light. This is emphasised once the voiceover of the film suddenly addresses the viewer and tries to place their body in space and in relation to the film, its materiality and looping structure.

Thu 22/9 Kino Kinoteka 16:00