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House of Strange

Domaine de Boisbuchet

A space suggesting surrealism, confusion and paranoia.

Every space has its peculiar character and stirs the emotions. La Datcha is a site-specific artwork produced by the Russian architect and artist Alexander Brodsky during a workshop at the Domain de Boisbuchet and it is placed in the greenery. A "dacha" is a typical Russian seasonal second home, often located in the exurbs. The artist interpreted the object by building a small wooden house made of residual doors and windows. The construction was then the focus of another workshop, entitled "The Emotion of Space" and conducted by Ila Beka and Louise Lemoine. The participants were encouraged to question that particular space and then to understand their personal feelings and translate their emotions into cinematic language. As result, they produced the three short films "House of Strange", "House of Eternity" and "House of Memories".

"House of Strange" was filmed by Marie Moors, Daniela Velasco, June He and Ferdinand Doumic. The creators focused on the unusual appearance of the building, made of wooden fragments and tilting at the angle of the surrounding slanting trees. The simple cuboid space feels simultaneously oppressive due to its barricaded doors, and vulnerable because of its many windows and holes. While appearing to be an abandoned place, the objects inside give the impression that the house is still occupied. The space suggests the fantasy of surreal phenomena, confusion between the interior and exterior, the paranoia of being spied on and intruded upon. In the short film, someone approaches the house and takes a quick look inside. Inanimate items are suspended in the space and gravity seems subverted. While the images portray surreal situations, the voiceover is calm and emphasizes the contradictions. The "House of Strange" is at the same time a nightmare, a hide-and-seek game, a child's compulsion to look for monsters under the bed, and much more besides.

(Story by Paola Ricco, The Architecture Player)


Authors: Ferdinand Doumic, June He, Marie Moors, Daniela Velasco
Architect: Alexander Brodsky
Mentioned project: La Datcha
Project location: Domaine de Boisbuchet, Lessac, France
Production: Domaine de Boisbuchet, CIRECA
Tutor: Ila Bêka, Louise Lemoine (BêkaFilms)

France 2017
Duration: 1'42''