[WORKINGS]
A retrospective look at an atelier’s entire studio works

[Re_Map]606 is an Atelier of the Manchester School of Architecture run by Nick Dunn, Richard Brook and Vikram Kaushal.

Process is the necessary bridge between input and output. Within architecture it encapsulates the true manifestation of the built form. Its requirement is paramount, except its acknowledgment is becoming irrelevant in a profession where the “Final Image” stands as the principle output. As every new project is conceived within both schools of architecture and the profession more and more work is generated, but eventually lost, as the route to the final output is navigated.
 
In order to highlight the importance of process and to try and put forward a true catalogue of our individual trajectories, we, [Re_Map]606, have chosen to exhibit a collection of our [WORKINGS] from the past 9 months within the atelier.

Curated alongside our end of year show (which is to be displayed at the same time), [WORKINGS] seeks to document and display the work created from our initial responses to this year’s site in Bradford, UK, up until the final output. The crisp polished contemporary gallery experience has been discarded as we push for the audience to interact and explore our [WORKINGS] and processes to discover the routes we have taken, and to find a true representation of our work.

Blankspace Gallery, 43 Hulme Street, Manchester M15 6AW

15 June 6:00pm-11:00pm
16-18 June 11:00am-5:00pm

FREE entry


https://www.facebook.com/events/602931339724869/

10

Entrance detail 1:200
Model of entrance area made from laser cut paper in various colours spraymounted onto perspex. LED lights held in place by square metal nuts, switch operable through hole in plywood sheet. Plywood sheet held in place by  removable nuts and bolts to allow access to battery pack. Cables and batteries are left visible through the clear perspex. alluding to the technical programme (film studios, data archive, preview theatres etc) in the basement.

[Re_Map]606 Infrastructural Urbanism project proposal
Full submission (with illustrations) available here.

"[Cities] and towns across America are desperate for something – anything – to kickstart their stagnant economies. For local politicians and planners whose communities are faced with such dismal prospects, the first step to recovery is to join forces with a corporate savior in order to build a landmark project which, it is perceived, will constitute an economic miracle.
(Hannigan, 1998:129)


Broadway, a large area of land in the centre of Bradford, was first sold to the Forster Square Redevelopment Partnership in 1998. Fourteen years later, all Bradford has gained is a hole in the ground. The Australian company Westfield recently sold the land to London based real estate investment management firm, Meyer Bergman for a sum in the region of £200 million (Holland, 2012). This was the fourth time Broadway was sold.

Our initial research, Data Derivé, focused on local and global forces in Bradford’s socioeconomic landscape. A particularly interesting observation was the historical relationship between the textile industry and leisure developments. As the number of textile mills increased, so did the number of leisure facilities.  As more workers were required, mill owners constructed housing and social centres in the vicinity of the mills. These social centres included churches, schools and cinemas. They were built to provide interaction and appease the workforce, allowing for an easier and more efficient way to manage the production system. With the decline of the textile industry, the creation of new leisure facilities slowed down.

Traditionally, culture has been driven by the economic developments in Bradford, as in many other industrial towns. Cultural investments declined along the deindustrialisation of the city. This does, however, not mean that there is no culture in Bradford. On the contrary, there is a rich cultural heritage and a multicultural population. The influx of international workers during the industrial era has resulted in approximately one fifth of Bradford’s population having foreign roots, most from South Asia. In Bradford City Ward, more than half of the population are of Indian or Pakistani origin.

With globalisation and widespread deindustrialisation, the Western economy has turned from manufacturing to a service based economy. Manufacturing industries have moved east to find cheaper labour. Alongside the service based economy, there has been a shift of focus from work to leisure. Consumerism has become the prevailing culture, including the consumption of both of goods and services. Sharon Zukin (1991) explains how historical marketplaces worldwide have turned into large scale, generic shopping malls in which mass consumption of global goods shapes the socioeconomic landscape. As resources become increasingly scarce, we are faced with a few different options. We can either stop mass consumption or change the products we consume.

Zukin also writes about creative destruction, how major “social transformations mark both and end and a beginning” (1991:3). The deindustrialisation of Bradford should not be seen as the end of an era, but as an opportunity to begin something new. The Broadway development can be considered an attempt at elevating capitalist culture in Bradford, but all it has achieved to date is an empty patch in the city fabric. Perhaps another kind of culture can be used to kick start the economical climate, a culture already tied into the city and its inhabitants. Mark Fisher suggests that if the “new defines itself in response to what is already established; at the same time, the established has to reconfigure itself in response to the new” (2009:3). Tradition needs to be contested and modified to evolve with time and establish connections with the new.

In 2009, Bradford was named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. It was awarded the tile for reasons including its history of filmmaking, the young and ethnically diverse population, the number of international film festivals and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Saltaire (UNESCO, 2009b). Additional facilities include the now closed Odeon Cinema, which locals are trying to save using the localism act (DeBarker, 2012), and the National Media Museum. Local engagement in the film industry is prevalent. Bradford Movie Makers, an amateur film making society, was established in 1932 and was one of Britain’s first film societies (Bradford Movie Makers, 2011). Bradford houses 34 commercial cinema screens in four venues. Cineworld caters particularly well for the city’s South Asian population and others interested in the Bollywood genre. Bollywood films comprise nearly one third of their programme, making it one of the UK’s top three venues (Bradford City of Film, 2012).

Bradford has had a long standing engagement with Bollywood cinema. The genre was first brought to Britain with the South Asian immigrants who came to work in the textile mills (BBFC, 2004:1). These young entrepreneurs rented or acquired cinemas to screen Bollywood films on Sunday afternoons. The entrepreneurial spirit lives on; the majority of Bradford’s new businesses are started by young Asian males. Today, collaborations between Bradford and Bollywood include projects at Bradford College, Bite the Mango festival and Yorkshire hosting the International Indian Film Festival in 2007.

Using these existing links to create a more intimate relationship to South Asia brings economical opportunities. As explained in Dominic Wilson’s 2003 report ‘Dreaming with BRICs’, there is a current shift in global economic powers. The BRIC countries include Brazil, Russia, India, China and as of 2010 also South Africa, changing the abbreviation to BRICS. Together, they constitute the emerging economic powers of the future. Creating strong cultural links with these countries provide an opportunity to improve the economic prospects of both Bradford and Britain. In this way, the traditional relationship of economy driving culture can be inverted and Bradford’s [multi]culture can be utilised to drive a new economy.

The global film industry is on the rise and it is no longer all about Hollywood. “In terms of production and viewership, ‘Bollywood’ is the world’s largest film industry, which employs more than 2.5 million people and […] every year a billion more people buy tickets for Indian movies than for Hollywood films” (Thussu, 2008:98). Despite these impressive ticket sales, Bollywood only makes a fraction of Hollywood’s revenue. The money and power available in the west make film makers across the globe keen to enter the Western market. “Filmmakers want to use the hegemonic superiority associated with Western media and cultural artefacts to gain Western as well as other non-South Asian audiences” (Thussu, 2008:108). It seems a golden opportunity for [multi]cultural Bradford to create an international platform for cultural co-operation.

“How wonderful that Britain has a designated City of Film and how apt that it is Bradford. Film is society’s chosen medium in the 21st century – in our wonderfully diverse society, it provides an engaging and compelling bridge between ages, cultures and societies.”
Amanda Nevill, Director of the British Film Institute (Wainwright, 2009)

The proposal to build film studios on the Broadway site puts Bradford in the centre of a new, cross-cultural film industry by utilising existing local talents, interest and [multi]culture. The city is already an acknowledged hotbed for film making and Bollywood cinema, offering an opportunity to forge cultural links with Bollywood, India and other members of the BRICS. A clear emphasis must be put on local culture, people and connections since “the entertainment-based redevelopments which work are the ones that are ‘woven into the city’s fabric’, while the failures are those that become stand-alone islands which ‘don’t evoke the locale’s culture, history and identity’” (Hannigan, 1998:198-199). The project will be based on John Hannigan’s six criteria for the ‘Fantasy City’; theme-o-centric, branded, day and night, modular, solipsistic and postmodern. Each criterion must be critically evaluated before it is applied, as some factors are more successful than others.

The Broadway development has increased the land value of the site manifold. As concluded by the Data Derivé project, the only economically viable thing to build on the site is large sheds with high value outputs. Film studios fit this brief and the current British film climate is favourable. There are numerous funding opportunities and tax reliefs of up to 25% have been extended until December 2012 (Gov.uk, 2011). In January 2012, Pinewood Studios were refused an application for a £200million extension of their facilities on a 100 hectare site neighbouring their current facilities (BBC News, 2012). There is a demonstrated need for more British film studios. Only two of the nine biggest British studios are located outside the London area. No major studios exist in the North, despite the recent BBC move to Media City. With appropriate transport networks and a strong local workforce readily available, this gap could easily be filled.

Bradford would not only benefit from the employment created from the film studios. Existing local companies and cultural and educational organisations would be offered on-site facilities and close involvement to improve connections between local talent and the global film industry. There is, however, the question of juxtaposing or integrating new and old architecture in Bradford’s city centre where a large section of its Victorian heritage has been retained. Von Borries describes the requirements and tension between two opposing interest groups in the future city.

"First, the globally operating enterprises, the new urban players who require other framing conditions for the production of space and new guide posts for the staging of brand experiences. And second, the (critical) users of this city who seek a city in accord with the everyday need for experience, a city that facilitates adventure, revelation, and experience, one that is secure and consumable for some, yet free and heterotopic for others."
(Von Borries, 2004:84)

The Broadway development prompted large scale demolition which left a hole in the heart of Bradford. To simply fill this gap with large tin sheds would not be an appropriate solution. Hence, I propose to use strategies borrowed from film production to meet this design challenge. Urban cuts and dissolves (Koeck, 2013:79-83) can be utilised to create a clear identity of the new development and simultaneously improve cultural and social understanding through the local production of a global industry. The Cinema City project offers Bradford the opportunity to utilise its cultural riches to fuel a new, regenerative economy.



Watch on www.lisakinch.co.uk

Installation - Group 6

The purpose of our installation was to explore local and global trends within the city of Bradford. Data was collected from various sources and represented in our model to display relationships normally invisible in the urban fabric.

The global recession, which began in 2007, can clearly be seen within the political economics of the Council’s annual budget and the house prices within each area. The local case study of Leeds Road, however, has no recognisable reaction to the global market. This highlights the separation of the trends when it comes to the social setup of the areas. Leeds Road has a vibrant mixture of different ethnicities from around the world, but their economy works at a more local scale. As a result one can begin to expose the higher level of stability within the more localised area.

Another key characteristic is the separation of trends when global elements are seen within a local context. Global economics do not directly relate to the global society and global politics are torn between the two. Their only real correlation is their simultaneous existence within the local context. Leeds Road has a global society embedded within it and behaves rather stably.  The city centre on the other hand has a global economy embedded, and the current demise of the Westfield site is one example of the aggressive fluctuations it has.

Bradford’s future has to behave at both a local and global scale within the modern day context. Its current approach has occurred out of necessity but without much structure. The instability of the more globally funded city centre offers one possible route, but the local community of Leeds Road portrays an alternative, relatively sustainable model. Neither route can be considered more successful as neither addresses the tension created through the shift to a more global city. Society, politics, and economy must work together within the local context if they are ever to fully function effectively, rather than their current state of independent entities neighbouring one another.

6

Question + Exploration
Bradford is caught between a failing dependence on global capital flows and a local community unable to intervene as local politics bow at the feet of capitalism. What, in Bradford’s past, caused its demise? Are there alternative social/economic/political paths that the city could take in order to regain stability?

Through the context of Bradford’s commercially global City Centre and the neighbouring local Leeds Road we explore the relationship of economic flows through the city, highlighting specific characteristics of its landscape that may provide a source to the present day situation. The data collected provides an
opportunity to physically map the changing environment of Bradford and provide a quantifiable representation of that landscape through a digestible format.

The  Westfield  Shopping  Centre Development within the heart of Bradford’s city centre emphasises the city’s dependency on external monetary flows, of which the city have no control, whilst ignoring a thriving local business market. The council’s decision to allow for the shift of power to move outside of their hands can be seen as a typical occurrence in most mid level towns and cities in Britain. The city is  part of a competitive individualist development market, where cities fight with one another in order to attract the largest amount of growth within their economy. Growth that slowly trickles down to the city and residents.

Leeds Road on the other hand provides a glimpse of an economic and social model where the fixation  on  growth  is  replaced with economic sustainability. A system where flows of money are predominately sourced from within the surrounding  community and the many independent stores work within a complex bottom up system and the economy spreads out from within, rather than from above.

The question is not which model is the most successful; as the factors in which to define a success will always be scrutinised and are too subjective, but which is more relevant and suitable for the present context? Of course dependence on global markets can fail drastically, but it is part of the risk you take in achieving phenomenal growth. Alternatively a local model can behave sustainably, but at a loss of most growth, growth that is needed if to match other neighbouring cities and towns.

The data gathered offers a starting platform for further inquiry into how a city like Bradford caught in the tension between global and local characteristics can progress pass their current unfortunate state into a city able to sustain itself at a global scale.

8

[WORKINGS]

[Re_Map]606 is an Atelier of the Manchester School of Architecture run by Nick Dunn, Richard Brook and Vikram Kaushal.

Process is the necessary bridge between input and output. Within architecture it encapsulates the true manifestation of the built form. Its requirement is paramount, except its acknowledgment is becoming irrelevant in a profession where the “Final Image” stands as the principle output. As every new project is conceived within both schools of architecture and the profession more and more work is generated, but eventually lost, as the route to the final output is navigated.

In order to highlight the importance of process and to try and put forward a true catalogue of our individual trajectories, we,  [Re_Map]606, have chosen to exhibit a collection of our [WORKINGS] from the past 9 months within the atelier.

Curated alongside our end of year show (which is to be displayed at the same time), [WORKINGS] seeks to document and display the work created from our initial responses to this year’s site in Bradford, UK, up until the final output. The crisp polished contemporary gallery experience has been discarded as we push for the audience to interact and explore our [WORKINGS] and processes to discover the routes we have taken, and to find a true representation of our work.

2

The Future of Film

The debate about the future of the film industry is currently focused on digital filming techniques versus the traditional film. Unsurprisingly, there are people such as Christopher Nolan in the industry holding on to film and herald all its advantages, but increasingly “studios are moving to replace film with digital technology” (Howard Stringer as quoted by Frontline, 2001).

There are advantages and disadvantages with both filming techniques. Film is said to be “better looking, it’s the technology that’s been known and understood for 100 years, and it’s extremely reliable” (Christopher Nolan as quoted by Lhooq, 2012). It has a certain texture to it, which both film makers and audiences have got used to and cherish. It is, however, considered more expensive and film can only be used once compared to SD cards and other forms of digital storage.

The question of quality is subjective; there are people in both camps utilising the quality argument to make their point. Some directors have tried digital and 3D filming techniques and wowed never to touch it again. Others have delighted in the possibilities offered by this new medium. Although digital is on the rise, film “will always be a part of the industry” (Eisenberg, 2012).

Similarly to architecture, there is a wave on uncertainty in the film industry. Just as SketchUp, Grand Designs and other mainstream design tools and programs have made architecture more accessible to the public, anyone can now be a film maker. All they need is a cheap digital camera, or even a camera phone or tablet, and some computer software if they want the ability to edit the raw material. The Canon 7D and other DSLR cameras capable of video recording have made it possible to “shoot cinema-quality imagery for less than the price of a computer” (Eisenberg, 2012).

Hence, the digital technology makes film making readily available to the masses. It is no longer restricted to an exclusive club of white men hidden away in Hollywood. But the digital process can also make film watching more accessible, as it is possible to distribute a digital picture directly to a projector via satellite. Cinema will be possible even in remote places which have previously suffered from badly scratched and damaged film transported a long way in undesirable conditions. This has the opportunity to “develop the enthusiasm for movies in faraway places” (Howard Stringer as quoted by Frontline, 2001).

Digital film making has the power to level the playing field between amateur and professional film makers and make the industry more accessible. It also enables audiences in remote locations to enjoy high quality screenings through relatively cheap technology. Peter Bart, editor-in-chief of Variety, sums this change up in a couple of sentences;

“When you consider the fact that the basic process of shooting a movie was exactly the same between 1920 and 1998, you know, nothing changed. Now all of a sudden everything has changed” (Frontline, 2001).

Not only people will be affected by these changes, places and infrastructure will have to adapt as well. A number of industry professionals, including chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation Howard Stringer, question the need for “the infrastructure, the superstructure of yesterday’s Hollywood to sustain a digital vision. It’s not clear that you do” (Frontline, 2001). Digital media does away with the need for large film archives, cutting rooms and dark rooms. All these are replaced by computer suited and server rooms allowing for digital manipulation, editing and storage.

Digital film making allows for increased application of special effects and animation. The use of greenscreens is extensive, simply because of the vast cost associated with building complete sets and the employment of crew and equipment. Using greenscreens and digitally recreating the surroundings gives the director complete control of light, noise and content.

There is, in addition to the film versus digital debate, also an ongoing bluescreen versus greenscreen argument. Although not as simple, the general consensus is that bluescreens are better for film and greenscreens more suitable for digital. The reason is the design of sensors in digital cameras. The green channel is the clearest channel, has the highest luminance and can therefore deliver the clearest picture with the least noise. The Bayer pattern, the pattern of sensors in the camera, mimics the colour sensitivity of the human eye. It has a “filter arrangement on its pixel array that actually records twice as many green pixels as red or blue. So the actual recording resolution of the green channel is double that of the other channels” (Weigert, 2010).

To emphasise the shift from film to digital, parts of the building facade will provide a greenscreen rather than bluescreen backdrop.




The Internet – Distribution, Crowdfunding and Social Networking


Returning to the advantages of digital media, another reason for its success and accessibility is the widespread use of the World Wide Web. Industry people have different opinions on how or why the Internet is useful, ranging from easy distribution to a mass audience on sites like YouTube to file sharing, communication and direct audience feedback. Some of these views are reflected in the quotes below;

“I think broadband would probably allow the public a way to see some movies, for instance, the best of the festival movies that never come to their town and never come to their theatre” (Lucy Fisher as quoted by Frontline, 2001).

“I don’t think broadband is necessarily a direct threat to the business unless they lose the ability to protect their content. […] If anything some of the video stores are more at risk than the studios from broadband because it does allow them to bypass both the video store and also allows them in some cases to bypass the cable operator.” (Larry Gerbrandt as quoted by Frontline, 2001).

“But one thing that I think has the greatest advantage to both change the financial underpinnings of the business and create a wider circle or a wider orbit of audience, and differentiated audience, and a wider orbit of talent that can feed that audience, is World Wide Web broadband” (Peter Guber as quoted by Frontline, 2001).

Howard Stringer made an accurate prediction of film on demand and Internet based film streaming services. He said “I think there will be huge audiences for movies that people want to see when they want to see them” (Frontline, 2001). Today, services such as Lovefilm and Netflix hold a large share of the film rental market. Netflix have even divided their subscription methods in two; the more traditional DVD rental and purely digital, instant access to streamed videos online. The diagram above (Figure 2) shows the success of this new approach.

Despite the addition of new modes of visual consumption, traditional TV consumption is growing. “People are watching more video content not only on TV but across all platforms” (Marshall and Venturini, 2011:7) as indicated by the above diagram (Figure 5).  This offers further opportunities to amateur and professional film makers alike, opportunities to make use of “multiple platforms to tell their stories, engage with millions and build new types of businesses” (Rosenthal, 2009).

A new type of business increasingly common in the film making industry is the use of online crowdfunding. With large production houses preferring to invest their money in accredited professionals, crowdfunding is “a growing necessity for independent filmmakers” (Pozin, 2012). It does not only offer money and continued independence for the filmmakers, but an increased interest and word of mouth advertising, especially in an online community of social networking. Pozin goes as far as asking “Is crowdfunding the next step the industry needs for a higher success rate to underfunded films?” (Pozin, 2012)

Social networking does not only enable word of mouth advertising, but instant feedback and discussion about what is shown on the screen. It has brought along a “new audience which is no longer made up of passive viewers of media -they are active creators, collaborators, distributors and even financiers” (Rosenthal, 2009). Clever filmmakers make use of this platform to find out what films and topics are well received not by critics, but the general public.

The Internet has enabled instant distribution, access and discussion, contributing to make the film industry more readily available to the general public. The importance of community has been highlighted through crowdfunding, discussions and feedback. It is therefore important to ensure excellent community involvement in this project, both with the local people in Bradford and the global online community. A good community hub with computer and Internet access must be provided to allow people to interact not only with their local film studio, but also with the online film community.

Moreover, profit made from larger productions should be fed back into independent community projects supporting local productions economically as well as with knowledge and facilities.



New Technologies


With the change from film to digital, a number of new technologies have become available. They include pocket-sized digital cameras, enabling filming in difficult locations (showcased in films such as 127 Hours), multi platform access on tablets, mobile phones and computers, laser projectors, mini projectors, interactive web based films, improved sound systems and so-called “second screen experience apps”, apps which synchronise with the film shown on screen and provide trivia, extra video clips and more information about the plot and characters (Lhooq, 2012).

This explosion of facilities for broadcasting is exciting, but will not necessarily replace the TV or the cinema. Instead, Marshall and Venturini argue for a broadcasting culture that does away with the linear thinking and adapts to a “connected, interactive, consumer-centric world” (2011:2). The new forms of technologies are complements, not replacements. Care must be taken in how these different media are treated; audiences respond differently to each of them. Eisenberg, however, is positive about the expansion of media and claims that audiences “evolve just as fast as the technology presented to them” (2012). Care must be taken when venturing into this new, exiting territory where the audience and filmmakers are brought closer together than ever before.

 “The task now is how we can reach and build audiences and use that unprecedented potential for exposure to create and extend the value of content. The key to a digital future resides in the relationship with audiences. In a congested marketplace where competition for audiences is fragmented over multiple new platforms, games, online activities, TV and real life, the film industry must find new avenues to make films available easily and to engage with future audiences in more meaningful ways” (Rosenthal, 2009).

Diagrams from:
Marshall, C. and Venturini, F. (2011) ‘The Future of Broadcasting: a new storm is brewing.’ Accenture. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture_The_Future_of_Broadcasting_A_New_Storm_is_Brewing.pdf. p.4 and 8

Bibliography:

Pozin, I. (2012) ‘Crowdfunding: The Future Of The Film Industry?’ Forbes. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2012/12/20/crowdfunding-the-future-of-the-film-industry

Lhooq, M. (2012) ‘9 Mind-Blowing Technologies Changing The Film Industry’s Future.’ The Creators Project. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/blog/9-mind-blowing-technologies-changing-the-film-industry%E2%80%99s-future—2

Kemmerle, K. (2012) ‘Do This Year’s Oscar Nominations Signal the End of Celluloid?’ Tribeca. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.tribecafilm.com/tribecaonline/future-of-film/Oscar-Nominations-Side-By-Side-Debate.html#.UQZQLGdCnIU

Frontline. (2001) ‘Is This the Future of Movies?’ pbs.org. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/hollywood/digital/future.html

Marshall, C. and Venturini, F. (2011) ‘The Future of Broadcasting: a new storm is brewing.’ Accenture. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture_The_Future_of_Broadcasting_A_New_Storm_is_Brewing.pdf

Rosenthal, L. (2009) ‘The future for film has already been written.’ Screen Daily. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.screendaily.com/news/opinion/the-future-for-film-has-already-been-written/5004727.article

Eisenberg, M. (2012) ‘Movie Technology: The Continuing Battle of Film vs. Digital.’ Screen Rant. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://screenrant.com/movie-technology-film-vs-digital-mikee-105167

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