|Celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany.
The famous art school influenced a broad range of disciplines including art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography. Events will explore the idea of Bauhaus as an institutional form as it traveled from Germany to institutions in the United States and around the globe, focusing on what today’s university can learn from the Bauhaus’ legacy of interdisciplinary education, embodied learning, and institutional collaboration. All events are free and open to the public.
Elaine Castillo graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Comparative Literature. Her debut novel, America is Not the Heart was named one of the best books in 2018 by NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Public Library, and many more.
In 1926, Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy proclaimed, “give me or the Bauhaus an experimental film laboratory, then we can begin our work.” He sought to put into practice in Dessau the visionary ideals of his own groundbreaking multi-media treatise, Painting, Photography, Film, published the previous year in the school’s Bauhausbücher (Bauhaus books) series. While Moholy’s plan for a film school at the Bauhaus failed to materialize in Germany, the school’s faculty and students experimented widely in film and moving images, ranging from abstract student films and “coloured light plays” to various workshop-based encounters with the materiality of film, evident in “celluloid collages” and the widespread use of the form of the filmstrip in posters, “typophoto” scripts, exhibition design, and architectural publications. The Bauhaus also hosted a range of film screenings and lectures in the 1920s featuring the European avant-garde, as well as scientific, instructional, and animated films. If there was no formal “laboratory” for filmmaking at the Bauhaus, film, and an expansive idea of the cinematic, were omnipresent at the school.
This program gestures to this range of Bauhaus enthusiasm about film by recreating a program of “Absolute Film” first screened at the sold-out, 900-seat Ufa Palast in Berlin in 1925 and later repeated at the Bauhaus the following year. Featuring major works of the European avant-garde that intersected with Bauhaus aesthetic strategies and utopian aspirations, our selections expand on the Absolute Film program to also include a few examples of Moholy’s own filmmaking and film theory, from his early experiments in Germany to a few of the films produced during his rebooting of the Bauhaus in Chicago, beginning in 1937. There and through World War II, Moholy finally realized his ambitions for an “institute of light.”
Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, Germany, 1921, 3m)
Symphonie Diagonale (Viking Eggeling, France, 1924, 9m)
Ballet mécanique (Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy, France, 1923–24, 14m)
Lichtspiel Opus 2, 3, & 4 (Walter Ruttmann, Germany, 1921, 1924, 1925, 10m)
Der Sieger (Walter Ruttman, Germany, 1922, 3 min)
Entr’Acte (René Clair and Francis Picabia, France, 22m)
Lightplay: Black, White, Grey (Moholy-Nagy, Germany, 1926–1930, 6m)
Design Workshops, (selections) (Moholy-Nagy, USA, 1940-1944, 10m)
In collaboration with 100 Years of Bauhaus: http://linglang.msu.edu/degree-programs/german/bauhaus