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Lewis Baltz: Rule without Exception

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Lewis Baltz: Rule without Exception
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Bas Princen (1975) and Stefano Graziani (1971) are known for their photographic work but are both deeply involved in architecture. In this discussion with Kersten Geers, they try to shed light on Lewis Baltz's work and link it with architecture and, more specifiaclly, metropolitan architecture. The discussion took place at the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), at the ''Project Room'', on the 15th of December 2015 and is part of the Fall Semester program of FORM, '' Paris-Tokyo: Metropolis''.
Earthworks (engineering) Metropolitan area Architecture
Earthworks (engineering) Architecture Classical order
Earthworks (engineering) Movie theater Building Landscape planning Architecture Metropolitan area
Landscape planning
Building Lantern Architecture Profilblech Speculation
Earthworks (engineering)
Space Land lot House
Apartment City (band)
Landscape planning Park Window City (band)
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks (engineering) Lighting Style (visual arts)
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks (engineering) Movie theater Wassernutzung
Movie theater Lime (material) Cut (earthmoving)
Study (room) Movie theater Room Thermal insulation Anstrichfarbe
Earthworks (engineering) City block Golden ratio Installation art
Movie theater Thermal insulation
Movie theater Chapter house
Infrastructure Air conditioning Land lot
Earthworks (engineering) Room Landscape planning Futurism Classical order Land lot
Earthworks (engineering) Landscape planning Futurism Curator Spirit level Issue (legal) Water well Profilblech Land lot House
Earthworks (engineering) Conflagration Track gauge
Framing (construction)
Earthworks (engineering) Consistency Abwrackung
Urbanism Landscape planning Park Air conditioning Framing (construction) City (band) Land lot
Earthworks (engineering) Power cable Column Framing (construction) Classical order Issue (legal)
Earthworks (engineering) Landscape planning Architecture Metropolitan area Park City (band)
Pedestrian zone Viaduct Temple
Bathroom Nouvel, Jean Rendering (animals)
this is the fifth and obviously last
talk or conversation or presentation which we wanted to connect with this
semester of the studio metropolitan architecture and I know I mean speaking
for us as do our group of students you
all obviously very tired and in a way
here or can just finished it with your own work which is going to present
tomorrow morning and you could say what's the point in having this last
moment of input even when everything is
already finished well I mean to give a more general point that it'd be very much that this
semester is one of trying to define the topic right and that publicly define until the very end
pursue the hope that we can use it in some way in the next semester also in
the term so too can the clear idea of what metropolitan architecture its representation symmetry or is not to
what extent in society in order to start
in the second semester or cavity like exercise now at the same time this being
the fifth of a set of presentations and lectures as I wanted to recall we
started with Christophe for hanaway who try to somehow through the word itself define what metropolitan architecture could be it had a couple of other presentations amongst for example Francois shadownet who will be tomorrow and the jury was literally making showing work which you could or could not connect
we understood as the language of metropolitan architecture if that would
exist the response has always been I
think for us I mean very much in the studio and very much this what I we dare
to call and and I'll use simplistic terms terms a who our both casts in
question or challenge is you could say fundamental shift from his work which
will though and that's probably easy symptomatic for his last one I mean
anyhow sometimes in this picture of this
book you see this typical austere black-and-white pictures of buildings in the American landscape or even the American landscape itself and then the work he did in the late 80s Early 90s of which this book move without exception but also the exhibition around which he
did 92 and Centre Pompidou became somehow a dramatic you could say they
shifted from this kind of black and white picture from let's say the mid 70s
towards this very colorful full-color
gigantic size detail like pictures often of surveillance camera photographs if
not of the same grain now we were very
much interested also in studio to maybe
understand or misunderstand this graphical shift and we invited you at the time to work on one perspective portrait rather than landscape which in one way or another carries in the same sense of place the same sense of
you know negotiation with technology
perhaps because we found that in one way or another it was a good device a good vehicle to represent we tried to define as metropolitan architecture now of course stefano Graziano and mass Princeton boat I would say exceptionally good photographers and both the people
who have been very influential to us ourselves as an office us as the
separates different offices here in Milton form and as form in general I
have both of them very much in one way or another I would have to say a relationship between specs we can work about I think I believe so we thought it would have been a very good occasion to ask them about how we could or could not interpret this say the last worker bounce a ball screw tight by the May
2014 and did not make much else since it's late nineties work may be apart
from the print you could say of this size of technology which was to some extent a reprint of the very same picture and he says how I always understood it he used for his own on the mini series but then as full-option
pictures very much in the logic of his
earlier work now maybe already this is a bad interpretation I would like to give
to work go to us and Stephanie and I promise that I was from time to time ask questions to guide little bit the conversation if necessary to perhaps
maybe to to start a possible
conversation or rewrite with that are there are few bounces safer
thank you imagine so impatient and following the chance of talking about the release day to do with us so I took it one of the books he did in the second
stage of his productions which is very
well known it was supposed to be a commissioned project for a museum in California so assignment and response
this is a second version of the book and
it's about autobiographical so in that
area in that many in that region where he was a living where you grew up
before coming that he was already living in Europe there was a kind of chronicle
event so a martyr and the jury of the
trial his father was so he's responsive to this very precise assignment was said I will do something about his happening
this area several years ago in which I
am kind of a part of because his father
he was part of because his father was part of the tribe and I'm saying that because there is a big autobiographical
and I meant to his ball several times we
were sharing your space lunches smoking
and drinking and lot of talks and there are some the beginning of this text
which he was writing I think it's very much the same representative of how he it was reacting towards things so in
1980 I found myself living in Milan in my wife's house observing and
contributing to the deterioration of my third marriage we had moved to Milan
from Paris earlier that winter giving up an apartment near the class isn't far
than five what we had lived for the previous two years my wife that had
lived embarrassed off and since 1979 and she loved the city I hated it or thought
that I did she turned that hated images turned that aided Milan where she had
grown up in fact that returning there was an accretion of the so I think
resource really like that so it is worth observing the world
he's kind of out of dark irony towards
everything so the first word circle has been striking him like both of
biographical because it was basically the landscape he was having in front of
his window he was something that was
happening around him so this new developing of for example Park City or
for example the areas like a mystic point or areas like SampleTank point were very familiar to him and the aim of these first words were showing at the obscenity how obscene the
world will be transformed which i think is a very strong strong statement and so
the point I think is then at the point
he turned into something else we moved to to America to Europe change the his
way of doing things is I think the way he was looking at things and I was looking at life force per se and didn't do anything more black and white we
changed it because he felt he was a kind of professional work that worker asked
to do things that people knew it would
be so for example in this the response
was completely moving from the initial idea right so it
was kind of escaping from his own his
own character trying to change because
otherwise it and think that being transformed is worth would have been transformed into a style so that was the
big sheet and I think he did many new let's say site-specific work which was example the the light figure work or the things evening in Italy which are pieces
that has to be just seen there so they cannot move they cannot they have just
to be seen there as I try to find the second Second Life for a second option
for the for his work trying to cancel or
to renew the I don't know if it was I
think this is the AI has on this
particular moment other thing very
negative actually saying that everybody has kind of ten years then just time to develop his best part the best part of this work the system had that very beginning so he never really admit that
was stopping but the point is stop
that's funny the last comment you gave
because the last how much he gave is a
bit different from the other companies I think they follow the sense I mean that almost sounds like ignore
you survive if you like that it's so I
mean is it Susie from the breeze in these aspects of autobiography but as a biography alone cannot be enough for an artist to make work for the world of the same so what's your final I think this makes a big difference it also kind of corrects in a strange way if you know someone can correct your view on the work you can somehow eliminate certain problems or or things that you have been a bit worried because it can be explained by something you have a understanding because we do because yes sir character you understand
certain way of working I have known any
relation like that like like any other artist that is from the past I look at
it as a kind of a pure and completely without almost without the personal
without a person behind I don't know how to explain but you do since you don't
know the person behind you understand there is a character right but you don't you cannot read it through the through the character and then I think this Negro last night was I bought this book I think it was the first book by balls I bought but I bought itself it's like you sometimes do by accident who can put it
in your in your library and then it sits there and you accumulate other books of the same author and all of a sudden realized that his book is by the same
water cannot real I almost cannot
imagine that it's by the same person so if you start to look at these earlier books for which I particularly like very very much Park City as
he did that's that's for me the most interesting and then it's very difficult
to understand this regular mouse nama as as a work it almost feels like like a copy but it was an exhibition
yeah videos it was an exhibition but it
also feels like so I think I have the
feeling that this bookmark cut and really literally you know maybe it parked the cup of it going from some of the states to Europe but it also seems
that it's cupped in the sense that maybe
he grew a bit tired of the aesthetics that was anyway there's anyway caught it you know he studies being this yes yes that this also this kind of book making so this another one one image if you perfectly represented quite small need a big book and then just fifty pictures in the room a very beautiful very classical very precise the aesthetic also being two things being this another show also
being a painting exhibition it also being this two series yeah but they this
hand of in this I mean that was what you could say the Honolulu Zoo yes and you also somehow because he never showed in any of this early books insulation shot so you also did not have an idea that if they were solar supposed to be in a grid and I think you know I had this book and also by accident I have seen I think San Quentin point the one we're also the colouring which is already first of all and yeah so it's a very strange block of
legality yeah the kemacite points with it's a kind of a block of images in a grid then sometimes there is no image integrated
sometimes there is a color image in the grid it's very puzzling why my defendant
somehow in the book you don't have that interaction with the work you have a
completely different interview and somehow when I was reading today when I
was going in the Train and I was looking through the book I also had somehow this idea that it might be this this two
different ways so there the impact of the installation and the way how you
read the book that there is a kind of discrepancy between the two men I have the film that is rule without exception
we try to correct somehow we try to correct this because in in this book you have insulation used you have one or two images of the series you know the series is not important in the sense in this catalog of course it's an exhibition catalog but still I think
he was close involved so you can read it as a correction no sorry you know you
were not reading it completely correct
now look at it in this way you mean he introduces the complexity of the waving who's presenting I think so that it does say if this is a typical picture now of course showing the video yeah this is
the way you should have shown this is the way that say this is the way
they will show in an exhibition yes and all these ways he brings together in one
book and then he has another chapter
which is of course crucifix color yes
anyway great tragedy and we go to Cadmus
it's weird because it's almost a small movie that the exception is almost like the over complete because if I don't mean anything sir he's nothing to you yes but that's that's the next problem
company come out there but then these are new pictures yes fragment these these and then he shows
also is this is how it was shown hallelujah it's basically what this plot altogether totally different but it's also true that you can see the difference only when you see both because if you see the pictures so now you would say all that I
went to color the camera photo and it's
about commuting this is not about so there always is there's always a intuition which is also one thing is the picture that hand is 40 States intuition towards CTS you worried introducing or towards how the world works nobody thinks the world is going towards we're absolutely there was anything I was reading over the lunch this obituary right where he was supported having being said he couldn't verify that he was after I would say showing Europe in his last student and they series in the late eighties early nineties at least whether you couldn't verify the quote but as you say commuting or infrastructure I mean if he talked he wrote of the 80s Early 90s that's exactly it is Europe or yep and he's acting as a human condition yes so for example in the committing
thing there's no people appearing but so the yeah the intuition towards the future I think is the most living character of this work that a so like for example the earth working like an art about how so well the world with the developing in the future I think that we arrived at the very interesting point especially before for photographers that is where can you do that where can you sing something about the future which is that spot because he managed very well to do it in his own from Johnny's place ready which he knew very precisely which he knew everything what was obscene and what not anyway I mean he was very it was not a big choice for him to decide to forget one thing on the other he knew what was knew what was going to be and stupid what not absolutely but I find it really interesting what you say in the sense that in an era I'm not big we are only part pass an era but I mean it's ridiculous ten years were very much like that no I mean and even put on a first you vote very much like that I would make or so but other photo averse to have which is further like me then what you want to show about the world to need to go and see the furthest possible you see here an artist to talk about as we said the teacher by talking about his own life talking about his neighborhood and of course today many changes but I mean meaning he moves but as you say he does not need to move for a representation of today in the minds of I know what he finds it in the labs where he lives at that moment as he finds it in Paris why he didn't follow as he finds it in Irvine because he is wrong : how are you I mean especially I mean does as a photographer who doesn't always photograph around the corner you see them I think it's a I I was almost dared to say that he he knew it in America and he had trouble with it in Europe and I think that's why there was there's a lot less working room maybe this is happening to them the rest was unreadable the landscape is not readable or the history is not readable not accustomed to do we don't know what something is in a lot something normally when it's part of these three when it's a breast or not mr. eilerson tell you it's not so simple I think that I I find it all so interesting that let's say in a way these sides of Technology is in a way of again a classic Louis bounce book but anyway he goes back to his old it's not anymore on landscapes it's just technology that could be anywhere now it could be in Europe but could also be in America it's not anymore linked to a certain sports so I wonder I'm in of course you man but I would almost say that if I don't from a distance that that is a classic case of it's a you move because we feel that you're not can't do enough in your own place but then when you arrive to the new place you actually realize that all you're always about would you consider this to me nationally pictures because they're
here in this book about know anything for five and so that say here here here
here here this is the fact that you
consider discipline I mean no I wouldn't consider it a failure but it doesn't think they didn't have a lot of it was
the best he could get there is so little
that it's hard to call it the failure because it's somehow so precisely edited but it's it's hard to handle people about the Union because you don't know that where it sits between the work you don't know it's almost like it's a thought that he had and he had to as well but then you also didn't know anymore how to continue afternoon and but maybe also because in Europe you know that you also have to understand where you filter photography and Annette and the American field of photography the European art of photography was also getting extremely strong so it might also be that he couldn't find a place where to insert things that he had a vision because we still come from consider him in America we never say he's European never happened it would never ever seen while most of his life I mean buses come and say interesting comments I'd like he goes to Europe he needs he needs to move he takes pictures differently touching things you say oh he doesn't dare to call it a failure but he doesn't house a perhaps that's what he could get out of it and he stuck I don't know what I find the level of vintage comparing it to other we mentioned the new graphics or authors contemporary today I wouldn't send offenders so because it's so it's also very remarkable trying to step out of the stylish way is understood and trying doing something completely different which is many and they found themselves in a real so maybe money success but if you compare to this radical team it's also possible to understand this as a much worse trader if according to failure and so so the the level of the intuition is always very much that's all I mean you can argue also something else you can say it's not the problem of us n and Europe you can say is the problem of landscape versus sea I am sorry the ignition or well the future if the beginningless was founded into what we now call length of integrity maybe is triangle the same within the signboard example so in the medical how we are which is the same concept I guess of the surveillance cameras and he was not too far from that so the teacher was reading that so the evolution wasn't possible to find that within the control so medicalization medicalization is how do we control so how far can we go into the control of other people forms so I think that was probably one big issue otherwise it was not the biographical because it was a mystic can be okay now they saw that in front of for example John moss which just went on doing a things you can come here doing the series and pick out the content but but it is somehow true that soon after this series and already with this series it gradually stops taking photographs himself up to a point and of course you could say it wasn't that also ahead of its time I mean see like people like 10 years later or 7 years later and believe in any case starting to body pictures or appropriate pictures I mean in the mid nineties no innocent the photographs of the stomach for example that might all be true but I think it is interesting to understand when that happen what kind of what triggered yeah is it really it's interesting to contemplate that let's say the things that you know that you can do in the place which you know best might not be the things that you can do in the place that you don't know so you have to find a new way and I think the interesting part here in getting in this work is that you see him but trying to find you know and it's really fun it's still unclear I think also to but it maybe doesn't matter but you can also see something as a team and that's not the necessary speak for hit but maybe I'm wrong stop you discreetly but see the work here as in the 60s and 70s is happily inducted to in a realistic conceptual art practices I mean in the way you could say he lands the aesthetic well and he used it in photography I mean the work is so appealing because it looks like minimalist or conceptual art but it's it's a photograph in other words the reason why also so easily canonized today is that it together with that whole look of that time it's kind of nice because it became to some extent conservative today everybody likes this this work I would have to say coincides with artworks of the Interior which are also very similar and you know you see the video art of hearing is here in the way the aesthetic is again facing so you could also see his work only less innovating the current art practices no I mean that knowledge you know I mean it was hoped that he was looking at there
to shape it's not clear at least and
that's also the interesting part I know
so that's very interesting is that very
often when people talk about evolution
if the tendency of course he tries to give us a clue because we have a
tendency to look at say the very early work same roughly tastes so even earlier
track thousand and then we see how there
was that and then there was an ordinary but of course well sure what this book
is at the end and gradually had its and it's only quite different and then you
had this fire sir and then you had
already gradually the focuses is somehow
the color is even the perfect frame gradually one person Oh at least this is at least
abuse and gradually Daniel you get it so
in other words I think if you're looking for an expedition interest to give it to us in descent in the very book I would say or at least he tries to make us believe that there was not such a thing as an INFP but there was slow evolution towards acknowledging all of photography resume walking differently with light what we believe is framing up to the point that you get it whenever you were talking something else it could underline is for example how is that with the titles nothing that a place that is the Nevada so geographical spots you can be man and this is disappearing towards different titles that are supposing ideas so I think it's missing in certain time in towards the his book it's also in the in the presence or less of
geography let's say into title this is for example very geographically set but has a strict connection with a chronicle faculty this is a place where I think some politician were killed so under stylish point of view is a perfect topographic photo murders somebody like to do but there was this caption saying what has happened there so it has a chronicle relation with with geography and the history of that place so I think it's also part of this evolution you were underlined in the pages of the exception so there are many affected so rich there the work and however producing less and less I think it's growing and so I know of course it's a debate and for the sake of the format I like to kind of I would say exaggerate a little bit if I exaggerate a bit let's say I hear two very different voices and I mean it's not a tiny - perhaps but say say bus who's worried about say the lack of consistent production towards the end and ask himself how to place that one and I would say put question marks next to the quality isn't very much good roughly and you who the more you talk about it the more you seem to almost argue that its best work is the last work is it's the best but most ideas you say yeah it more aware they make think there I think there it is interesting because I mean I I do I I don't need to defend a moral do I have no no agenda at all there so I'm just interested in the fact that you can do this work and then you have to you have to cut it somehow as an artist you have to make this break because you know you have to you cannot continue the last book is probably the one that you think huh it was probably the one that I make too much this happens and then you have to find a new way I'm curious what what how he made that decision and it's also interesting to see what how it was taken by the
outside world
because of course you can do these things for yourself but then you they
are embedded in there in people find something about it they think about it they look at it and they have an opinion
but and I'm most interested in this fact often that he in the states in green for the worst landscape which is starting to be organized which is also you can say a kind of a almost virgin urbanization you know it's a organization that is taking place on on nothing and then you photographs is normally at the moment when they are still building it so it's not inherited yet there is no patent and it's know nothing or is destroyed you know what are you it's either destroyed or it's being built up and any goes to Europe and it doesn't exist this condition doesn't exist the condition of the empty landscape where you know things happen and because it happens on earth on because it happens in the States on earth nothing on the table either you can read it very precisely and then you come to Europe and he's in the city and all these things are let's say not any more particular all the things that you learned and that he was looking at are somehow that say the tools are not anymore in his hand so he has to be learnt or he has to seize all right that then I understand that he starts to do these things how to move through the city how to and maybe there's a clue there maybe there's a clue in the technology maybe there's a I think he's just looking for ways to reap the reward the province and I think these two landscapes are needs different ways of looking and I think that is interesting because you find that yourself also when I go to China I don't know powerful think I just don't know now I have to find new ways I want to I think a lot about topics and new ways and how to project I want to second point that's for a bit later still a lot to call later to to the question of next point but before I want to survey to bus a question about in way quality quality of the picture and maybe in relationship and maybe to start a discussion of quality framing and I took this here this picture because the right picture is actually a picture and you know very balloting from Park City which he comes differently in the book I knew karate because me so it also fits in this series which he makes indeed towards the end of the book which is the last series no sudden the picture looks very different I think I mean it's very it's very different because it's next to be yeah but for the two reasons I see a combination persica and it's even so much loops that's in a strange way it's not even so sharp I mean so well which
somehow already is very much to say what people just discussed more more see that so I was wondering
are you especially buzz who I think in your work the framing sharpness in my relatively classical elements of say could the composition of the image of a competition and you've been talking a little bit also about in the second edition very late that he made it to 350 forty times its size of technology where the way some of these pictures he'd use especially the ones of the big computers here II published also effectively framed all of a sudden super sharp how do you relate to that I mean to what extent is this I think it's a difficult discussion in contemporary for anything role how you how important you find that framing quality sharpness and can you relate to that any discussions consistent to series whatever you want I think also I think you come you really can go back to your own work and cut it right the more I think about it the less problems I have witnesses used it at work I used to improvise but less and less because I think the work has to continue and it has to move live and it cannot be kept in vacation you can only do it when it's be fine all right oh and then you have defined when there is a book or when there was an exhibition or after that we use it and quality how do you define quality mean maybe first of all for yourself how do you define what one is I mean because if there's not any more an issue of quality and so I guess it's for you for you as an alternate yourself differently for it's all in the secret with the sequence of the works that we consciousness it has to have I think quality basically means that the work that you make now has some reverberation to the work that you did before and most probably has reverberations to the work that you will do not next to pets there is a bulk possible and instead 21 sometimes you know that you're not sure if it has reverberations to be forcibly not after because not in cable and AV there something came up it seems like a correction yes that's weird I'm your nephew meter and then of some say 10 years later in fact I'm not part of the column I need to make this because he you use this six news all the time so that you mix and book almost says it to say hey guys if you think can produce anything anymore in Europe in Europe I mean not so much is to literally it's a thing again because
there is not a word of this of the red to the landscapes it doesn't have a book but this one which is also I find also strictly in this literal work go in this literal way of working with books as a kind of an output that that work is then kept out makes it intriguing of course it makes it it makes it interesting okay so last last question before metropolitan architecture I mean you mentioned it in the very beginning it is a very simple terms you trade up you know the early work of the American worker bounce is covering the treaty poverty in all this guises the late work of policies misreported architecture I mean you did not see this which is talked about these two very different topics we said the city may be that stuff what about it will be a valuable focuses it's basically where you live lived in the next video well he restrained somehow there it's much more difficult to represent the city than the landscape for him but it's unclear to me if that's because he's born we want to hit the landscape would therefore either customers because that be honest he was of course living in the States but I would argue probably lived in the city in the States I'm not necessarily there when he photographed you know Park City he wasn't living there there I mean maybe as a kid so I moved to the student to the city when I was 18 but before I lived in the countries are at that in a village I I can still more easily understand the landscape then I can understand the syndrome it's not the matter of how long you were in a certain spot or I think it just has to where your parties are these photographs I mean honest photographs
NBC series the last series are these really I mean the most what about it -
yes it's very Tillman's you say that's the photographer you think oh no now I see no Mira you should ensure this yeah
well so this is too much because temple
ground which is works amazing I think he also did some pedestrians for other people it's also Italian somehow photography was yes it was much more like this than a German for photography prince has been working a lot in but it was also correct our emphasis today for a short time and you also died 37 and involved with sports the coming for example will spin in time again was done which is very so we start from the switch works that could look very nice because yeah yeah is even more that we want some venison mogera because he's talking about this very is Marcus trophic beginning that other former point of view look like more about the catastrophe to say back there so it's a kind of this is the isn't it again pictures who have to compete with television initial switch between images via TV and we were talking that you - I mean you need to be make much more powerful images okay following you're following or try so yeah yeah it's portrait in the back okay I mean you wanted yeah you can somehow
understand rising their glamorous boy to
render engine he befriended Jean Nouvel in the early nineties we took pictures of the the the others at the restaurant hotel san James s there's a picture of him in the Reuters and James in the bathroom and I don't know what happened to in these pictures I don't have I have
a picture image the more Clement but
okay I mean so the triple answer architecture guys does it make sense I mean what is it in the picture Oh what else to say