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You Are a Ceremony.

"Cerimonia" is the third chapter in the "Atti Fondamentali" (Fundamental Acts), a series of five stories each dedicated to a primary act in human life: Life, Education, Ceremony, Love, Death. The five stories, conceived as a sort of philosophical and anthropological reconstruction of architecture, first appeared, as texts, images and storyboard, on the pages of "Casabella" magazine in 1972 and 1973. The inclination to producing short stories in video was, for Superstudio, the means to explore "a propaganda of ideas, beyond the typical channels of the discipline of architecture."

"Life", the first chapter in the series, represented a first attempt at calling the statute of architecture into question: after denying the usual objectives and scopes of architecture and design, the film introduces the "supersurface", a device as abstract and neutral as possible that may return to man his freedom of choice and enable him to get back to an authentic way of life, once that is less conditioned by objects and by architecture itself. After such a radical position, that rejects the positivist and organizational value of architecture, we can go back to talking about ways of being and ways of living. This is exactly what happens in "Cerimonia", where a community of people re-establishes a new concept of "inhabitation". Inhabiting, here, is meant in its etymological sense: it is not just a way of dwelling in space, but a "habitus", a way of being in the world, an attitude, a behavior: architecture in its most conventional form is absent here, only human beings are left.

The extremely powerful collages that illustrated "Supersurface" are here replaced with people who perform actions and who move around, thus defining a space according to ceremonies and collective rituals. It's the members themselves from Superstudio who, together with some friends, enact an architectural performance and tell the story of a community.

"The men who lived underground" abandon an alleged "golden age" and their environments built on order, on peaceful coexistence of old and new objects. By "coming to light", they establish a new way of living and choose "an invisible house" as their dwelling where they can perform new rituals and ceremonies, aiming to a more authentic kind of life.

"Ceremony" was first presented on the pages of "Casabella" n. 374 of 1973, in the form of a storyboard. The subsequent film shooting, that was completed in one day, followed the initial outline of the storyboard, though often the actors followed their instincts in a sort of improvisational performance.


Architect: Superstudio
Mentioned project: Fundamental Acts (1972-73)
Sponsor: Print

Italy 1973
Duration: 13'34''