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Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien

DESIGN DYSTOPIAS: Fountainhead (USA 1949, Dir.: King Vidor)

Sa 4.10.2008, 8pm

Design and film in the 20th century are inextricably bound in their depictions of the imagined futures of modernity. From director King Vidor’s iconic treatment of the free-thinking Modernist architect in The Fountainhead (1949) to Stanley Kubrick’s violent depiction of a post-war sub-cultural dystopia in Clockwork Orange (1971) – design and film have evolved as perfect partners in conveying the hopes and failures of utopian dreams.


This film retrospective explores how style, design and architecture, as conveyed in filmic visions, generated a stunning critique of Modernism and its utopias in the 20th century. While Kubrick prominently featured the work of cutting-edge contemporary designers (most famously the psychedelic stylist Verner Panton), other such as Tati in Playtime (1967), chose to create gargantuan glass and steel film-sets as mock-ups of Modernism’s pretensions to transform everyday life. Where Tati’s sophisticated slapstick mocked the bogus innovation of homogenised modern living, Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973) turned a comedic eye to Space Age high-design in his blatant parody of Kubrick’s Space Odyssey (1968). The retrospective culminates in the showing of Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner (1982), perhaps the ultimate design-dystopic vision of a Post-Modern world.

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