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François Penz

FRANCOIS PENZ is Reader in Architecture and the Moving Image in the Department of Architecture. He studies the relationship between cinema and architecture. Defined as an academic discipline as recently as the 1990s, this is an area of interest as old as cinema itself. It dates from the moment when the Lumière brothers captured on camera the first images of the city in 1895. In the 1920s architects started to experiment with the new medium. It was Le Corbusier’s film Architectures d’Aujourd’hui (directed by Pierre Chenal, 1930) which prompted architectural theorist Sigfried Giedion’s statement ‘Only film can make the new architecture intelligible’ (1930). Three quarters of a century on, Giedion’s statement remains true only if we replace the word ‘film’ by ‘digitality’. Francois has consistently attempted to bring the history of the relationship between cinema and architecture (specifically, narrative and space) to bear on contemporary digital moving practice in architecture and planning. His current research investigates both the use of narrative devices to express a space (as in architecture) and the use of space to express narrative (as in fiction). Relevant publications: Architecture and the Screen from Photography to Synthetic Imaging Capturing and Building Space, Time and Motion, in Francois Penz and Maureen Thomas, eds., Architectures of Illusions:From Motion Pictures to Navigable Iinteractive Environments (Bristol: Intellect Books, 2003); (with Richard Koeck) Screen City Legibility’ City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 7, 2003, 664-75.

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