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ADA Rotterdam - Area for Debate and Art

Thursday 20 May 2010. Part of Cinema Sunset.

In May’s Cinema Sunset (May the 20th 2010) artist and ADA member Esmé Valk
selected a special program of the Charles and Ray Eames films from 1952-1972. She provided the audience with background information on the Eameses’ films, which made a great impact on her. Valk’s interest in their work lays in the tactile quality with which they portray materials and how their films defy categorization. In her own work Esmé Valk has been researching social choreography as a medium to study movement through a multitude of media.


Part I
Introduction 4:05 min
House, after five years of living (1955) 10:40 min
Parade: or here they come down our street (1952) 5:33 min
S-73 (Sofa Compact) (1954) 10:40 min
Solar Do-Nothing Machine (1957) 2:09 min
Day of the Dead (1957) 14:48 min
Part II
Tops (1969) 7:15 min
Aquarium (1967) 10:33 min
Kaleidoscope Jazz Chair (1960) 6:28 min
SX-70’ (1972) 0:47 min
The expanding Airport (1958) 9:25 min
Runtime total program 92:48 min

Besides their major contributions to modern architecture and furniture, the American designer couple Charles and Ray Eames also worked in the fields of fine art, graphic design and film. From the 1950’s to the 1970’s the Eameses created over eighty-five short films, often featuring their own designs and explanations of advanced mathematical and scientific concepts. The couple approached filmmaking much as they approached their design work by putting the same depth of research, insistence on quality and attention to detail into it. They applied a self-developed and an incredibly time-consuming way of printing to their films, which gave them a unique color quality.

Their most well known film The Powers of Ten used as an educational film in schools gives a dramatic demonstration of orders of magnitude by zooming out of the earth.

House, After Five Years of Living was made as an exercise in looking at and experiencing the architecture of their own ‘Eames house’ through the medium of film. Just like House the short film Day of Dead uses still images in a filmic way to create an intense experience, in this case the day-of-the-dead celebrations in Mexico. In Tops, the Eameses show their skill of turning an observing way of looking into a visual spectacle. Tops and many others of the their films feature Elmer Bernstein’s music that turns the movies into “visual tone poems”.

Untitled from CHRISTINA LAETZ on Vimeo.

film stills
film stills
Charles and Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames
Preparations in the kitchen.
Preparations in the kitchen.
Esmé gives the introduction.
Esmé gives the introduction.