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Institute Above-Ground is a documentary narrative about visionary architecture in Cuba. The “Instituto technologico de suelos y fertilizantes André Voisin” is a symbol of the early, euphoric building experiments that emerged shortly after the revolution. In addition, it represents an early example of the politics of the “rural schools,” with which Cuba sought to decentralize education during the 1970s. The whole facility was designed by Vittorio Garatti in 1961, one of the three architects at the famous art school in Havana. The Instituto André Voisin, an agricultural school, is much less well-known and is located in the fertile plain near Güines. The architecture, assembled on site from concrete elements, has a futuristic look, not least through its only intermittent contact points with the ground, which is regularly flooded due to rice cultivation in the area. The footbridges floating above the landscape link the various buildings into a modern living and studying space. The institute was originally constructed for the 2000 students who lived, worked, ate, and slept there. Later it was used as a military prison and today it stands in the landscape like a stranded spaceship: a kind of ark for ideas that still have to be realized.
Florian Zeyfang, Lisa Schmidt-Colinet, and Alexander Schmoeger have been collaborating on projects and exhibitions with and about architecture and film in Cuba since 2003. In 2013 Forum Expanded showed their film Microbrigades – Variations of a Story; in 2008 Florian Zeyfang was represented at the Berlinale in the Forum with Introduction to a Short History of Photography and again in 2011 in Forum Expanded with F66 Geisterschiff. Since 2008,they been designing sculptural and architectural installations with slide and video projections in exhibitions. They have published the reader “Pabellón Cuba” in connection with the 8th Biennale in Havana. For this project they worked in the collective RAIN 2001-2006 along with Valdés Figueroa, Susi Jirkuff, and Siggi Hofer.
Contact: http://www.florian-zeyfang.de, http://www.schcsch.com
Format: QuickTime ProRes, Colour
Running time: 22 min
Languages: Spanish, German, English