The Emotional Power of Space. 3/4_Nitin Bathla + Klearjos E. Papanicolaou with Bêka & Lemoine. Public lecture


Academy of Architecture

Date: 16 November 2023 / 19:30

Public Lectures 2023/24
The Emotional Power of Space

Nitin Bathla + Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou 
The Sensing Machine: Reframing Ethnographic Film for the Urban Otherwise

followed by a conversation with Bêka & Lemoine


Thursday 16 November 2023 19:30
Teatro dell'architettura Mendrisio


Over 100 years ago, anthropologist-filmmakers harnessed the power of nascent ‘cinema’ practices to narrate stories about the faraway, exotic ‘Other’, resulting in the first ethnographic films. Today, contemporary ethnographic filmmaking has been re-formulated to articulate critical, affective and sensory narratives of entangled subjectivities and contested environments. This talk will explore the legacies and futures of ethnographic filmmaking in urban environments, focusing on how architects and built environment professionals can deploy this genre of filmmaking to narrate the urban otherwise.


Nitin Bathla is a lecturer and postdoc at the DARCH, ETH Zürich, where he coordinates the doctoral program in Landscape and Urban Studies.  His research work focuses on urban studies and political ecology, and namely on commoning, landscape restoration, labor, and infrastructure geography. His ongoing research deploys comparison between Asian and European peripheral landscapes to situate the agrarian question under climate change and the Anthropocene. In his transdisciplinary research approaches, Nitin Bathla actively combines research with artistic practices of filmmaking, and socially engaged art. His 2020 ethnographic feature-length film Not Just Roads focused on India's ongoing highway programme. The film premiered at several important film festivals and won the SAH Film Award 2022.

Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou is a filmmaker and researcher specializing in urban and sensory ethnographic filmmaking. His film works include ‘The Seven Sisters Indoor Market’ (2016, with Marios Kleftakis), 'The Disappearance of Robin Hood' (2018, with Urban-Think Tank) and 'Not Just Roads' (2020, with Nitin Bathla), the latter of which won the Society of Architectural Historians' (SAH) 2022 Film and Video Award. Since 2017 (and with Michael Walczak since 2019), he teaches audiovisual ethnography to architecture students at the ETH in Zurich.


The Emotional Power of Space
Curated by artists-filmmakers Bêka & Lemoine in close line with their own practice, « The Emotional Power of Space » is a series of talks that brings to the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio filmmakers who share a common sensitivity and anthropological approach in the way they bring attention to the relationships between people and their living environment. These talks will present their respective approaches and methodologies and their way of using cinema as a critical tool of observation of the social consequences of rapid urban transformations taking place in different part of the world.

  • 30 November 2023 Giovanna Borasi + Daniel Schwartz ‘I've Been Lonely Lately: Filmmaking as a curatorial practice of coming together’

Lectures take place at Teatro dell'architettura Mendrisio and are streamed live.