The future of the past | Sergio de Miguel

Title: Gattaca
Protagonists: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman
Photography: Slawomir Idziak
Music: Michael Nyman
Production: Danny de Vito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher
Direction: Andrew Niccol

The future. The Earth no this destroyed by the hecatombe nuclear, neither neither is infested of exaggerated machines, suffers the consequences of a denaturalised evolution of the genetics. The fight of classes no longer is economic, not even racial, but it is based in the purity of the DNA. The relate human values the spirit of superación and the exaltation of the will. Further of the tyranny of the genes.

The fiction always has profetizado the future like what is not the present. Usually, travel in the time has been question to re-create the sight with images inverosímiles from the perspective of the present. But in Gattaca, still being all very recognizable, what transports to the future is, together with the history, the character of the things. And first of all the architecture.

The public is led to interpreting the complex Gattaca, the building where the plot passes, as an obtained futurist setting; mysterious and foreign opposite to a nature without protagonism. Nevertheless, it is a question of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last buildings, constructed at the end of the fifties. Likewise, good part of the game escenográfico centres on enjoying with the perfection of the diaphanous environments of reinforced concrete and the exquisite stays in where frivolous spiral stairs (DNA?), furniture of the modern teachers, surfaces of stainless dull steel and glasses to bone make us live through a different reality. It is a question of appliances in which, in a natural way, it predominates over the purity of the geometry and the absence of decorative elements. And it, curiously, appears as a veracious representation of what is not the present. It surprises to demonstrate that the spectator recognizes in these forms, in these materials, in these objects, possibilities belonging to the tomorrow.

But it is enough to stop to verify that the movie is deliberately set by images of fifty years ago. The wardrobe, the cars and the buildings answer to an aesthetics belonging to the fifties. Because the time, at least in the cinema, is reversible.

On having lost the reference of the context the sense of the reality is altered. The disorientation appears with the wonder opposite to the daily objects. And to manage to locate the scene in the future (opposite to the past) is a question of incorporating something of sophisticated technology and a history based on the genetics, little more.

The cinema is the great art of the fiction. With him there coincide multiple skills that have as object dominate the image, the music, the narrative, the plastic arts, the technology … and overcoat, the difficult faculty of trastocar the sense of the time.

If we attend to the magician Borges when it reasons:

“Tthe line consists of an infinite number of points; the plane, of an infinite number of lines; the volume, of an infinite number of planes; the hypervolume, of an infinite number of volumes…” ,

and we are capable of recognizing not only an evolved concept of the space, but in addition, a new way of feeling the time, there will remain overcome Heráclito’s thousand-year-old image, in which the time is alike to a river, linearly and invariably. Even more, if we see in the time an own quality of the presences, with all his dimensions and joined his spatial characteristics, we will be before one more precise notion of the reality. We will fall down in the account of which the concept time is inseparably tied to the things.

The cinema is to the fantastic thing what the architecture is to the true thing. If the cinema satisfies the desire of fiction the architecture allows to live through the reality. Why not to admit then that in the architecture, as in the cinema, there exists the possibility of playing with the sensation of location, and that can extend the action beyond the static perception of the merely spatial emotions. Would it be possible to imagine an architecture without aptitude to inoculate the sense of the time? Where the “ilusionismo” is. How “it” is managed “to “affect”.

In any case, the better thing of Gattaca, it is possible that it is Uma Thurman’s melancholy look.

Sergio de Miguel, architect
Madrid, april 2010

Sergio de Miguel García

Ph.D. Arquitectura, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, (ETSAM) 2016.
M.A. Arquitectura, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, (ETSAM) 1990.
Profesor en la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, (ETSAM) desde 1995.

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