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This year’s JFF Fringe program, In the Presence of Space features a selection of documentaries that survey the intersection of Japanese contemporary art, music and architecture through film. In celebration of the Sydney Modern Project at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the series spotlights Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, as well as their architectural firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates).
Highlighting the subdued elegance of the minimal architectural structures developed by SANAA, the films empathetically reflect their connection to the human experience, which is at the core of SANAA’s philosophy. The signature style of this architecture is one of fluidity and without barriers, designed to engage with the existing environment.
Moriyama-san and A Room of Her Own: Rei Naito and Light take the perspective of the inhabitants and capture the different ways in which the architecture is encountered, presenting the structure as a vessel for what happens within. And while Tokyo Ride offers an unconventional city portrait through the lens of Nishizawa, Architecture, Time and Kazuyo Sejima closely follows Sejima’s creative process from conception to completion.
In cinema, architecture is often overlooked as part of the background. Instead, the architecture takes centre stage in these films, with each documentary presenting a unique perspective of SANAA’s body of work.