Spatial Perception and Imagination through Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia

Open Access
Guzman, Maria Jimena
Graduate Program:
Master of Architecture
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
October 22, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Jawaid Haider, Thesis Advisor
  • Space
  • Film
  • Architecture
  • Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Nostalghia
  • phenomenology
  • kino-eye
Taking the uncanny tone of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s concept of the “flesh of the world” as its point of departure, this thesis bridges film and architecture through a spatial exploration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia. Based on a poetic depiction of five scenes from Nostalghia, this work considers how incorporating time into the production of space reveals that architecture is not an expression of the debates regarding spatial experience, but an agent of a spatial phenomenon capable of shaping and enhancing the lived experience. In order to consider the relationship between filmic and architectonic space, the scenes are considered within the framework of three categories: (1) space subordinating time, (2) time subordinating space, and (3) space and time as equal factors. The first category depicts how collective and private spatial manifestations affect time through an analysis of the La Madonna del Parto and Domenico house scenes. The second category explains how time affects space through a comparison of the camera eye (kino-eye) to the dissection of space (poché) through an analysis of the Hotel and Pool scenes. In addition, the last category considers how time and space are taken as having equal weight in the poetics of Nostalghia through a series of requiems that appear throughout the film. Finally, this thesis addresses space within film as a portal for the expression of the imaginative constructs that underlie Merleau-Ponty’s work: a portal that touches upon the limits of the visible, the invisible, and the spaces in between. Recognizing the dichotomies present in contemporary phenomenological discourse, this thesis contributes to a deeper exploration of the imaginative constructs that precede and accompany architectural design without the constrictions of form but with time as an agent articulating the possibilities of space.