January 26, 2014 UT Film Series Continues Legacy as Design Education Resource

The film series of the UT College of Architecture and Design will showcase several documentaries about artists and designers this month through April.

Free and open to the public, the films begin at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays in McCarty Auditorium of the Art and Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Boulevard.

On January 29, there will be a showing of Rivers and Tides (2002) by Thomas Riedelsheimer. The documentary explores the relationship between art and nature and highlights the elaborate sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy, an artist who uses materials found in nature.

The film series is coordinated by Brian Ambroziak, an associate professor of architecture, who resurrected the program in 2008 as an extension of his research about visual thinking.

The series was first initiated under the direction of Thomas K. Davis, an associate professor of architecture. Between 1995 and 2003, 103 films were shown over 17 semesters. As a result, numerous videos about architecture and urbanism are a part of the college’s library collection, which, said Davis, “must to my mind be one of the most voluminous in the country.”

Explore the full catalog of films by referencing the lists provided by TK Davis, “1995-2003,” and Ambroziak, “2008-2014.”

Each semester features a new theme, and topics have ranged from the trauma of post-war Germany and the Wall to the concept of fragmented realities. This semester’s series explores documentaries about artists and shows “how they engage the creative act and the development of one’s artistic conscience,” Ambroziak said.

“The world of art has much to contribute to architectural discourse,” said Davis, who noted that film can help students “be prepared in their cultural sophistication for a globalizing world.”

“It has the capability to help its viewers understand, portray and create elements of architecture and design that may not otherwise be fully realized,” added Ambroziak. “Traditionally, the use of video in architectural education and practice has been relegated to the end of the design process as a mere tool for presentation. The [present] series considers film as a medium that has direct significance to one’s understanding of space, its multiple connotations, and the practice of architecture.”

The spring 2014 film series lineup:

February 12: Beauty is Embarrassing (2012) by Neil Berkeley. The film explores the life and work of artist Wayne White, the Emmy-winning puppeteer of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, who was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

February 26: Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) by Banksy. It tells the story of a French immigrant in Los Angles who, through his obsession with street art, tries to locate and befriend Bansky, an internationally infamous graffiti artist.

March 26: Manufactured Landscapes (2007) by Jennifer Baichwal explores the work and life of Edward Burtynsky, a photographer who documents changes in the world’s landscapes as a result of industry and manufacturing.

April 9: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012) by Alison Klayman documents the experiences of artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and faces conflicts with the Chinese government.

Learn more about the history of the film series by reading the descriptions provided by Ambroziak and Davis.


Film Series Features Documentaries about Artists, Creativity.” Tennessee Today. 27 Jan 2014.