Spaces in the emptiness | Jorge Gorostiza

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La espectacular habitación de las secuencias finales de ´2001: una odisea del espacio´. L. O
The spectacular room of the final sequences of ‘2001: an odyssey of the space’. L. O

A spaceship of the airline Bread Am (Bread American World Airways) crosses the terrestrial orbit, transports only a passenger and is sleeping, in the support of the seat that has ahead there is a flushed screen, similar to those who have the current planes, is the Doctor Heywood Floyd and course goes to the Space Station V.

What can turns of this space station, it indicates that it is a place where the human beings are of step during a little time to go to other sites, in case of the protagonist to the Moon, his functions are so much those of an airport, as those of a hotel of the chain Hilton, with all the characteristics of these establishments, in his lobby there is a counter for the receptionist, machines of sale of coffee and other drinks, as well as a restaurant, the Earthlight Room, of the known American chain of restaurants during the decades of the sixties and seventies Howard Johnson and with a name invented for the movie, bearing in mind that across the windows of the station can a luminous Earth turns; In addition there is two Picturephone de Bell, a few cabins with an armchair and a screen the Dr. Floyd communicates with the Earth, in fact, it enters one of them and speech with his daughter, congratulating it on his birthday.

As for the furniture of the lobby, about a few low and circular tables, there are a few seats of color between rose and magenta, which they confirm with the brilliant white of his walls, soil and ceiling. When the movie had the premiere, these furniture could be acquired in the shops, the tables are the Tulip with his white board and the red leg designed by the architect Eero Saarinen in 1956, and the seats the model Djinn created by Olivier Mourgue in 1965, which name comes from the Islamic mythology and refers to a genius capable of adopting the aspect of a human being or of an animal, in spite of his innovative form, are done in a traditional way, with a structure of pipes of steel, covered with foam and on her a fabric of point; in the movie there can be seen the individual chair and the sofa of two squares, but in addition an ottoman and a divan were sold.

The whole lighting comes from the ceiling, since everything it is a great light, so powerfully that the actors during the tests had to take dark glasses to be able to support it, and the station has another peculiarity, is turning constant to provoke that in his interior there is gravity, avoiding the emptiness of the cosmos.

There have been mentioned a series of companies that existed when the movie was rolled, as Bell and Bread Am, which also it is possible to see in Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) and Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017), but that had eliminated in the year 2001, nevertheless, others as Hilton, Howard Johnson y Aeroflot, still last. In the phase of preproduction there was asked him to several companies to imagine how it might be the future, between them the manufacturers you cook Whirlpool, the chain of hotels Hilton, the pens Parker, the clocks Hamilton and the cameras Nikon and Kodak; in addition they put in touch with chemical companies as the DuPont, aerospace as Honeywell and the at the time one advanced of computers IBM, there be remembered that the initials HAL of the rebellious computer, is composed by the previous letters in the alphabet to those of IBM; likewise one spoke with the department store Macy’s, which helped to create a scene in which the Dr. Floyd, from the space station, across a videoconference, was buying his daughter interpreted by the daughter of Kubrick, an exotic pet, a gálago, sequence that was rolled, but finally it was rejected.

Lunar base and Discovery 1.

The base is placed in the crater Clavius, is formed by a great circular unfinished structure, it seems that his most is buried under the lunar surface and of his interior a room of conferences appears with a pavement and a few blue armchairs, which lighting comes from his four walls that are four big lights, also rolled a few planes of what seems to be a college with a few children placed about a round reservoir, doing in linens placed on trestles, but they were not included in the final assembly.

The whole area where there live both astronauts of the ship Discovery through 1 is inside the same circular space, which also turns in order that beech gravity, there his beds are, three capsules of hibernation where there sleep his companions, the desk faced several screens, the dispenser of the food who might be considered to be the kitchen, and the sofa where they eat with a few cutlery designed by the architect Arne Jacobsen in 1957 and that still today have an innovative aspect. Also it is a place for the leisure, since while they eat they see in a few tablets the news of the BBC, they do jogging. Beams take GRAPE and one of them is played by it the chess with HAL, in addition he had proposed to there be a table of Ping-Pong, a piano and a shower, but they discarded ultimately.

With them he travels there is the supercomputer HAL of the series 9000, who is everywhere thanks to his circular “eyes” and luminous that can observe everything, even read the lips of the astronauts, and whose brain to be in a curious red dependence that is violated by the human being to murder it.

The room.

According to Kubrick, it is in “other one departs from the galaxy” where they install the astronaut Bowman in

“a human zoo, similar to the environment of a terrestrial hospital extracted of his own illusions and fantasy”,

in the movie the room does not look like it of a hospital, though neither there is known exactly what is and, in fact, it has been described of many ways, between different them related to France, since

“Louis XV style”,

“brilliantly illuminated Louis XVI style”,

“suite of Louis XVI hotel”,

“bedroom French period”,

“Room decorated in a style modified Empire”,

also other more vague qualifications have been applied to him:

“room of hotel as of the century eighteen”,

“magnificent palace of marble”,

“there surprises colonial room”

and even the very American one:

“elegant hotel of Miami Beach”…

They can attribute so many epithets to him, because the spectators could have described it of many ways and this it is one of his virtues, it might be any place, or using a term that already has turned topic, a non-place in the sense that Marc Augé gives him.

Sometimes the words are more concrete and define better the things than the images, this one is the case of the novel 2001: A spatial odyssey written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1968, and that with regard to this room writes:

“the spatial capsule was resting on the polished floor of an elegant and anonymous suite of hotel, which well could have been situated in any great city of the Earth”.

This suite is major that the room of the movie, and even it has a kitchen, in her there are books that cannot be extracted of the racks, and neither the booths of the cupboards can be opened and all the tins that are in the icebox contain the same blue material, which Bowman eats with appetite, also there is a television that yes works and where the human being sees a series of programs of three years ago, between them it discovers one with a famous actor who accuses furiously an unfaithful lover in a suite of exactly equal hotel to where he is,

“age like that, so how that zone of receipt had been prepared for him; his guests had based his ideas of the terrestrial life on the programs of the television. His sensation of being situated in the set of a movie was almost literally real”,

there is an identification between fiction and reality and in addition inside a work of fiction, which produces to itself in him royal life, in which the citizens want to live in the areas that they see in the movies or in his televisions. Clarke writes that Bowman goes to bed and sleeps and

“not being any more usefulness, the furniture of the suite returned to dissolve in the mind of the creator. Only the bed was remaining…”.

The architectural space exists to fulfill a function, because it is necessary to train the human being, but when this function has ended, already it is not necessary and disappears.

Returning to the movie, the room might be that of any television series, his dimensions in plant are almost those of a square and Bowman her crosses two times in diagonal for the center, initially still with his spacesuit as if he was studying it, and the second one in dressing-gown with more familiarity up to the table where he eats and that occupies the same place where the spaceship was in the one that has come even there.

The quarter is full of not too notable furniture, chairs, banks, small tables, a bureau, buffets, cupboards and the bed where the protagonist dies and is reborn; the same thing happens with the contiguous bathroom, that it has a few sanitary, incidental devices and current and vulgar towels.

Bowman recognizes everything what him makes a detour and does not amaze him, because this space has been constructed by the intention of confining it in a known place, full of bland elements, as if he was a tourist of a pretentious hotel in any vacation city, nevertheless, as the tourist, is an intruder because everything is artificial and has been created not to worry it.

Everything seems to be correct and normal, except the lighting that comes of below, of a luminous pavement, there be remembered that in the space station the light was coming from the ceiling and in the room of conferences of the walls; also there is another strange peculiarity, the enclosure lacks door of entry or exit, only it is possible to accede to him of an immaterial form, across a few paraments that limit the space of a virtual way.

It is not necessary to to forget that the cosmonaut has come to this room crossing one of the most abstract and original areas that have appeared on a screen, the light and sonorous corridor of the Star Gate, which in spite of his name, is a completely immaterial space placed in the middle of the interstellar emptiness.

Jorge Gorostiza, PhD architect.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, december 2012
Author of the blog Arquitectura+Cine+Ciudad

It´s published last January 13 the newspaper The Province, all his supplement dedicated Culture, 2001: an odyssey of the space, immediately after fifty years of his premiere, monographic this one, coordinated by Claudio Utrera, included articles of Luis MirandaAntonio WeinrichterJesús PalaciosElio QuirogaFrancisco PonceJuan Ezequiel Morales and the own Utrera. 

Filed under: arquitectos, arte, captures, cinema, Jorge Gorostiza

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