Wild Walls London 

Film and Architecture - Felix Film Festival 2003     

WILD WALLS LONDON is the first Felix Film Festival and is this year dedicated to Film and Architecture.

WILD WALLS LONDON will take place over nine days in September in selected buildings and locations across London. The festival presents a curated film program consisting of individual on-site screenings which will illuminate the significance of the selected buildings in the discourse, chronology, and politics of architecture. The festival takes a closer look at some of London's architectural landmarks to illustrate the history of modernism, its aspirations, achievements, failures, rejections and resurgence. Each of the film programs is dedicated to a specific concept, moment or protagonist in that history.

Modernism's early successes in the International Style of architecture, represented in the festival by Berthold Lubetkin's 1934 Penguin Pool, aimed at the planning, rationalisation and aestheticization of all aspects of everyday living, working, leisure and transport. These ideals were most clearly outlined in the 1933 Charter of Athens. The Charter's debates on urban planning, its rejection of historic ornamentation and its experiments with modern building materials have made a lasting impression on architecture and on the shape and style of cities worldwide. Utopian and inspiring in the beginning, but often uninspired and technocratic in its lowest moments, at some point modern architecture came to embody for all that should be avoided when we thought about our homes and cities. Modernism's rejection was an attempt to evoke a seemingly more meaningful past in lieu of a hollow present or an uncertain future. More recently modern architecture has had a resurgence under the banner of regeneration with older buildings transformed for new uses and new buildings placed on brown-field sites. At its best modern architecture has not only radically altered our concept of space and its organization but also created lasting monuments of beauty and stunning feats of construction.

WILD WALLS LONDON has selected six buildings as the representative sites for its inquiry of modernism's multiple legacies. These are the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, Mayfield House in Tower Hamlets, the Royal College of Physicians, St Mary's' Church Hall, the GLA City Hall and the Monsoon Building. At each of these locations we will show film programs comprising documentaries, artists' films, experimental films, archival footage and feature films to highlight different aspects of the building's history, its neighbourhood and its architect. In addition to these six programs, a screening at the Whitechapel Gallery will bring together a selection of artists' films on modern architecture.

The festival programme is curated by Christian Rattemeyer and Marc Gloede. Rattemeyer and Gloede have previously curated similar festivals on film and architecture in Berlin in 1998 and 2000 and in Los Angeles in 2001 and it was their proposal to ceate a similar festival in London. Christian Rattemeyer is a an art historian living in New York and has recently been appointed curator at Artists' Space, one of New York's leading alternative spaces for contemporary art. Marc Gloede is Assistant Professor for Film Studies at the Free University of Berlin. The other festival director is Dominic Palfreyman.

On the closing weekend the festival is holding two events in association with London Open House, at the GLA City Hall and the Monsoon Building. London Open House, now in its 11th year, enables public access to a huge range of buildings across London for one special weekend each year.

Wild Walls London is also a partner of DOCOMOMO UK.


The festival has been developed and supported by The Felix Trust for Art (UK charity 1090195).

Thanks to the all the venues for their co-operation, London Open House, Claire Robinson at the Zoological Society of London, Shelima Chowdhury at Tower Hamlets Housing, Linda Cuthbertson at The Royal College of Physicians, everyone at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Bill Kenwright, Quinlan Terry, Michael Manser, Geoff Snell at the GLA, Peter Simon, Jo Stella-Sawicka at Monsoon, Thomas Dane Ltd, John Woroniecki and Baltic Restaurants, Foster and Partners, Dennis Sharp at DOCOMOMO UK, Jean Symons, Alannah Weston and Beth Derbyshire at Zephyr Projects for the publicity designs.

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Copyright The Felix Trust for Art, 2003