EVENT: Brasilia: Life After Design (Film), May 8th

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Join the Museum of Vancouver for the Canadian premiere of Bart Simpson’s sublime urban documentary film, BRASILIA: Life After Design (Canada/UK, 2016; 78 min.), followed by discussion with critic of architecture and urbanism Trevor Boddy and documentary filmmaker Bart Simpson.


Date: Monday, May 8, 2017
Time: 7:00pm – 9:15pm
Admission: $15 Adults, $13 Students, Seniors and MOV members. Prices include GST.
Open to youth under 18.

Part ode, part critique, Bart Simpson’s film, comparable to Jonathan Richman’s tribute to corporate architecture in Lonely Financial Zone, takes the viewer on a surreal and melancholic tour of a strange and monumental cityscape. The camera pans across urban vistas and peers through archways, connecting with city dwellers perched like birds around the vast spaces.

Designers conceived the federal capital, Brasilia, as a utopian project. It was constructed between 1956 and 1960 on an uninhabited site at the geographic center of the country. Brasilia was to be nothing less than the foundation for a new civilization, without the colonial baggage of the previous capital, Rio de Janeiro. Architect Oscar Niemeyer and urban planner Lucio Costa crafted their vision on modernist principles; they organized Brasilia to function as a “rational city.” Decades later, it’s fascinating to see the city’s population navigating the constraints the designers imposed in their obsessive quest for order. Outside the city center, residents make do—eating, shopping, erecting temporary structures, stopping to talk to each other, and generally carrying on with the messy business of being human. As Niemeyer himself states in the film, “life is more important than architecture.” – Adapted from Avril Woodend