Architektur der Unendlichkeit
Transcendence is the aspect of architecture that Christoph Schaub explores in his Architektur der Unendlichkeit. Infinity becomes a secular, non-religious notion through which he considers the longing of contemporary architecture for the sacred. Through the works and voices of three architects, Peter Zumthor, Peter Märkli and Alvaro Siza Vieira (a quite intelligent selection), the transcendent object is not only divine but also nature, or art. Both church and museum find a common inspiration. Schaub approaches these themes with an unhidden naiveté, which probably underrates the philosophical issues only hinted at by the interviewees; but in so doing, he is able to accompany even the less informed viewers of the film into a suggestive experiential reconsideration of architecture. Thanks to his candid touch, Schaub can expand architectural reflections into artistic and musical elaborations, and perfectly pulls the three architects together with the artists Cristina Iglesias and James Turrell, and the musician Jojo Mayer.
Filmically, Architektur der Unendlichkeit is a peculiar piece of didactic documentary and an intimate essay at the same time. The discourse is often flat but the images (Ramon Giger) are very impressive; the editing sometimes simply illustrative, sometimes refined and original. The interviewees keep a frontal posture but Schaub’s personal signature openly emerges – through the voice over and even the self-filming. Jojo Mayer’s precisely edited musical commentaries carry us on to a highly inspiring reception of the images, but, at the same time, the kitschy atmosphere sounds often interpose. I would say that there is a stylistic hesitation between a self-imposed need to communicate to a larger public and a (probably more) genuine need to deliver the filmic language into the pleasures of essayism. Independently of this formal hesitation, however, Christoph Schaub’s proposal appears to be authentically motivated, and is the occasion to reflect on the transcendence that inspires our relationship with our spatial habitat.
Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore
First published: January 25, 2019