ID Neuwerk

Design Education Research


Lecture 2: Film used as a tool
Die Filme von Charles and Ray Eames

erstellt am: 11.06.2017 | von: englich | Kategorie(n): Lectures 1–5

Kommentiertes Screening und Diskurs am 2.5.2012, 8.30 Uhr, Hörsaal


Charles & Ray Eames used film as a “tool,” and asserted that their films were vessels for an idea. For them, the idea was more important than the medium. When one interviewer proposed that their films might be interpreted as experimental, Charles replied, “They’re not experimental films, they’re not really films. They’re just attempts to get across an idea.” Paul Schrader, in the lone academic article about their films, “Poetry of Ideas,” published in Film Quarterly in 1970, said, “The classic movie staple is the chase, and Eames’ films present a new kind of chase, a chase through a set of information in search of an Idea.”

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Introduction Films of Charles and Ray Eames (7:11)


The Films of Charles & Ray Eames

Charles & Ray Eames were artists adept at an astonishing number of disciplines. They produced museum exhibitions, architecture, logotypes, toys, slide-shows, furniture, books, photography, paintings and over 100 films. However, their films are the least discussed of their output. One of the main reasons is the sheer difficulty in acquiring access to them. Only about a quarter of their films have been released on home video. They are one of the few American artists with an entire era named after them, but their films are rarely placed on a level with their furniture or architecture. And yet their films contain some of the most generous, sincere and original ideas of the century.

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Design Questions+Answers (1972) 5:28


A communications primer (1953)

Anna Daly at Senses of Cinema describes it as follows: “Schematic diagrams and simple associations serve to highlight the message: clear communication betters humanity. The film is thus an accomplished work of design as well as being a beautifully composed documentary that brings an artist’s feel for colour and composition to the moving image, ensuring visual delight despite theoretical archaism.”

Rezension in and ray eames

A communications primer Transcript als pdf-Datei



Tops (1969) 7:37

Toys occupy several of the Eames films, including Tops (1969), a purely visual film that documents the short life span of a spinning top. It’s essentially a silent anthropological film and captures tops from different cultures and eras. The Eames Office contained a menagerie of toys, and it was Charles who once asked rhetorically, “Who would say that pleasure is not useful?” Both Toccata for Toy Trains and Tops are shot from the extreme perspectives of close-ups – an expressionistic technique that lets the audience experience toys as if from the eyes of a child.



Solar Do-Nothing Machine (1957) 2:16



Powers of Ten (1977) 9:02

Powers of Ten (1977) is the Eames’ best known work and a culmination of many ideas and themes. It is also something of a skeleton key for understanding the rest of their work. It presents the profound idea of orders of magnitude, with the subtitle of the film being: A Film Dealing With the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero. The film was originally developed in 1968 and was entitled, A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe. The “rough sketch” in the title is testament to the Eames’ penchant for perpetually iterative design. This is the case for many of their projects — Tops was initially made in black and white in 1957, and perfected 12 years later in color; the Eames Lounger was an idea 30 years in the making; Powers of Ten took so long to evolve that in the time it took to produce, science had broken through yet another power in the understanding of quantum physics.

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Kepplers Law (1974) 2:53



The Expanding Airport (1958) 9:26



Fiberglass Chairs (1970) 8:45



Eames Lounge Chair (1956) 2:08



SX 70 Polaroid (1972) 10:51



IBM Fair (1964) 7:33






Eames: The Architect & The Painter (2011)

von Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey

ist der erste Film über Charles & Ray Eames seit ihrem Tod im Jahr 1978 bzw. 1988. Er beschäftigt sich sowohl mit der privaten als auch mit der beruflichen Beziehung der beiden Designer, die gemeinsam zahllose Design-Klassiker entworfen haben.

Selbst diejenigen, die in den letzten Jahren keine der so zahlreich zu den Eames erschienenen Neuerscheinungen verpasst haben, erfahren bei Cohn und Jersey noch Neues, vor allem aus den Interviews mit Lucia Eames, Charles Tochter aus erster Ehe, dem Enkel Eames Demetrios, dem Filmemacher Paul Schrader, dem Ted-Mitbegründer Richard Saul Wurman und ehemaligen Mitarbeitern des legendären Eames Studios am 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, Kalifornien. Mit fabelhaften Aufnahmen wird hinter die Kulissen der wie eine Wunderkammer bis zur letzten Ecke gefüllten Werkstatt geschaut, in der Charles und Ray insgesamt 45 Jahre ihren erfrischend heiteren Zirkus des Alltäglichen betrieben. Hier entstnad ganze Bogen: von den ersten Billigmöbeln im Ikea-Stil für Herman Miller bis hin zum Designer als visuellen Kommunikator des Informationszeitalters.



Filmografie Charles and Ray Eames

1978 Cézanne (Documentary short)
1978 Degas in the Metropolitan (Short)
1978 Kites (Polavision Vignette) (Short)
1978 Llisa Draws a Letter (Polavision Vignette) (Short)
1978 Macbeth (Polavision Vignette) (Short)
1978 Masks (Polavision Vignette) (Short)
1978 Polavision Vignettes
1978 Sonar One-Step (Short)
1978 Vignettes for Polavision: The Chase (Short)
1977 Daumier: Paris and the Spectator
1977 Polavision (Short)
1977 Powers of Ten (Documentary short)
1977 The Look of America
1976 Atlas (Short)
1976 Paris: The Opening of an Exhibition (Documentary short)
1976 Something About Photography (Short)
1975 Metropolitan Overview (Short)
1974 Callot (Short)
1974 Kepler’s Laws (Documentary short)
1973 Copernicus (Documentary short)
1973 Exponents: A Study in Generalization (Short)
1973 Franklin & Jefferson Proposal Film (Documentary short)
1973 Two Laws of Algebra
1972 Alpha (Short)
1972 Banana Leaf (Short)
1972 Cable: The Immediate Future (Short)
1972 Computer Perspective (Documentary short)
1972 Design Q & A (Documentary short)
1972 SX-70 (Documentary)
1971 Clown Face (Short)
1971 Computer Landscape (Documentary short)
1971 Johnny Peer’s Clown Face (Short)
1971 Movie Sets (Documentary)
1970 Cemeteries
1970 Circus
1970 India
1970 Polyorchis Haplus (Documentary short)
1970 Soft Pad (Short)
1970 Tanks
1970 The Black Ships (Short)
1970 The Fiberglass Chairs: Something of How They Get the Way They Are (Documentary short)
1969 Decorator Crab
1969 Diatoms
1969 Image of the City (Short)
1969 Tops (Documentary short)
1968 A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe (Documentary short)
1968 Babbage
1968 IBM Museum (Short)
1968 The Lick Observatory
1968 A Computer Glossary (Documentary short)
1967 G.E.M.
1967 National Fisheries Center and Aquarium (Short)
1967 Picasso
1967 Scheutz
1966 Horizontes (Short)
1965 Computer Day at Midvale (Short)
1965 IBM at the Fair (Documentary short)
1965 IBM Puppet Shows (Short)
1965 Sherlock Holmes in the Singular Case of the Plural Green Mustache (Short)
1965 The Smithsonian Institute (Documentary short)
1965 View from the People Wall (Short)
1965 Westinghouse in Alphabetical Order (Documentary short)
1964 House of Science (Short)
1964 Think (Short)
1963 IBM Fair Presentation #2 (Short)
1962 Before the Fair (Short)
1962 IBM Fair Presentation #1 (Short)
1962 The House of Science (Short)
1962 Meet Me in St. Louis (Short)
1962 Panic on Wall Street (Short)
1962 San Francisco Fire (Short)
1961 ECS (Short)
1961 Eratosthenes (Documentary short)
1961 IBM Mathematics Peep Show (Documentary short)
1961 Something About Functions (Documentary short)
1961 Symmetry (Documentary short)
1961 Topology (Documentary short)
1961 2n: A Story of the Power of Numbers (Short)
1960 ‚Where Did You Go?‘ ‚Out.‘ ‚What Did You Do?‘ ‚Nothing.‘
1960 Comics of the Fifties (Short)
1960 Fifties Dead Sequence (Short)
1960 Fifties Music Sequence (Short)
1960 Gift from the Sea (Short)
1960 Introduction to Feedback (Documentary short)
1960 Kaleidoscope Jazz Chair (Short)
1960 The Fabulous Fifties (Documentary)
1959 Glimpses of the USA (Short)
1959 Kaleidoscope Shop (Short)
1958 De Gaulle Sketch (Short)
1958 Herman Miller at the Brussels Worlds Fair (Short)
1958 The Expanding Airport (Documentary short)
1957 Day of the Dead (Documentary short)
1957 Do-nothing Machine (Short)
1957 The Information Machine (Documentary short)
1957 Tops (Short)
1957 Toccata for Toy Trains (Short)
1956 Eames Lounge Chair (Documentary short)
1955 House: After Five Years of Living (Documentary short)
1955 Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India (Short)
1955 Two Baroque Churches (Short)
1954 S-73 (Short)
1953 A Communications Primer (Documentary short)
1953 Bread (Short)
1953 Calligraphy (Short)
1952 Blacktop: A Story of the Washing of a School Play Yard (Short)
1952 Parade, or Here They Come Down Our Street (Short)
1950 Traveling Boy (Short)