Blue Moon - Art - Domus
Blue Moon
 

Blue Moon

Catalina Niculescu, a young Romanian artist based in London, tells domusweb about the first part of a work-in-progress created in Marseilles inside the Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation.

 

Art / Catalina Niculescu

Movement of sun, moon and stars in relationship to the Radiant City and their influence on the architecture of the Unite d'Habitation in Marseilles
For Marseilles Le Corbusier studied the parabolic paths of the sun at solstice and equinox and incorporated the results not only in the principle of the brise-soleil but considered this angle throughout the entire structure of the complex for the most efficient light situation.
The here described video and slide installation will be structured in four episodes exploring the principles of sun glare and shadow play throughout the building, on surfaces, corridors, windows, staircases, etc. on the dates and time of solstices and equinoxes, in anticipation of close results to Le Corbusiers' ideal light situation and a further, visual understanding of his ideas and structures. The next equinoxes and solstices are 21 December 2009/ 20 March 2010/ 21 June 2010, the first episode was shot on the Autumn equinox 2009.
A special occurrence, a blue moon will rise this year on the 31 of December. Most years have twelve full moons, in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles each calendar year contains an excess of ca. eleven days. The accumulation of remaining days builds up to an extra full moon every two or three years. (...) The 1 of January 2010 will be a perigee (closest point of the moon to the earth), enhancing the blue moons' influence on the 31 December to leave remarkable light traces along the building in Marseilles.
My initial intention to structure the film after the solstices and equinoxes into 4 episodes shot each on the respective day, transformed into the idea of depicting both, sun and moon influence, with the discovery of the blue moon. As last occurrence happens close to the winter solstice I am intending to replace the episode of the 21 December (winter solstice) with a night shot on the 31 December and the 2009 perigee blue moon.

Relationship between body and the architectural structure/ elements
Le Corbusier developed the modulor as a harmonic measure to the human scale, universally applicable to architecture and mechanics. A six-foot man was inserted into a square, in turn subdivided by the laws of the golden section. Smaller units were generated by the Fibonacci series and in later series two scales of interweaving dimensions were introduced.
The modulor aspired to introduce harmonious proportion to everything from details, heights and widths of city spaces, to industrial standards. Interestingly Le Corbusier liked to ignore his harmonic measure unit if it didn't serve the purposes or stood in the way of a proportion that his eye told him was right.
The Modulor combines a purist obsession relying on absolutely beautiful and balanced measures with the idea of architecture as a microcosm of natural laws governed by rules and calculations.
Ever present in my films and performances for this particular piece I replace the actual body with a substitute in order to introduce a more abstract element relating to this very geometric, simple though complex building, full of delicate balancings. A wooden meter composed of different measurements of my body, e.g. height, the length from elbow to fingertips, knee to toes, would be placed in the architectural environment to juxtapose my very personal golden section with the elaborate modulor, placed around the building as a symbol for my absent presence to facilitate an accurate study of the relationship between architecture and body.

Catalina Niculescu (Bucharest, 1978) lives and works in London. Her practice exists in the space between performance and documentation, between the live and the mediated. Seemingly impulsive responses to the places she encounters result in a series of interferences with architecture and urban structures, recorded and sparsely edited to create enigmatic, transferable events in film, video and photography.

Corbusier's Cité Radieuse
 

Corbusier's Cité Radieuse

In 1950 Le Corbusier's incredibly influential Unité d'habitation was well underway. Gio Ponti's record of his encounter with it marks a key event in modern architecture.

 

From-the-archive / Gio Ponti