Invisible Cinema, A Movie Viewing Machine



Known for his ground-breaking structural films such as Schwechater (1958), Arnulf Rainer (1958), and Afrikareise (1966), Peter Kubelka is an Austrian experimental filmmaker, musician, curator, educator, and architect. In 1970, as one of the founders, he designed the movie theatre of Anthology Film Archives in New York-based entirely on the aesthetics of the Avant-garde Film Movement at that time: Invisible Cinema. This avant-garde hall with a capacity of 90 people was used until the Anthology Film Archives changed the venue in 1974. Although it is a small hall that has been used for a short period like 4 years, the hall, which was reconstructed in different places by three different institutions, is planned to be reconstructed in its original form, in consultation with Jonas Mekas and Kubelka in New York’s Whitney Museum.

Kubelka says that the hall he designed is invisible because the architecture and interior design of the auditorium should not distract the audience, the only focus should be the curtain: “The ideal movie theatre shouldn’t be felt in any way, it should not live, it should not be there.” In order not to be associated with anything other than cinema, there are no curtains around the white screen like in the theatre. With the white screen illuminated from the beginning of the movie, the audience can direct their attention to the point where the movie will play from the moment they enter the hall. All audio and visual elements other than the film disappears, and the only thing that determines the audience’s whole world and feelings in the space is the movie. Kubelka explains why he calls the space he designed a “movie-viewing machine”: This revolutionary and controversial design is based on the idea of ​​cameras, movie processing machines, film editing machines and projectors to which the film is attached. The room where the movie is watched must be a machine designed for watching movies.

Invisible Cinema, A Movie Viewing Machine

The walls and ceiling of the living room are covered in black velvet as well as all the seats, the floor is completely covered with black carpet and the doors are also painted black. There are no lights other than the cinema screen and the light directions showing the exit. The audience sitting in the topped armchairs, with a barrier between them and a design like a shell, cannot see the people next to them, nor the people sitting in front of them. The shape of the seats not only gives the audience the feeling of being alone but also has an acoustic function by blocking other sounds outside of the movie. Because in Invisible Cinema, image and sound come from the same place and a single source, from the movie. The most important rule of the hall is that no one is allowed in after the movie starts. Silence is also a rule, talking is prohibited throughout the movie.

Invisible Cinema, A Movie Viewing Machine

In Invisible Cinema, three different feelings that movie viewers use to describe their experiences stand out. The first is the “floating feeling” when the audience felt that after watching a movie, they came out of the concrete reality of the theatre and soared in the dark. Film critic Vincent Canby likens this feeling to looking at a rectangular hallucination by likening it to floating on a ship or through space. Another feeling mentioned is “sleepiness”, while the viewers feel the room temperature higher than they are while sitting, it starts to feel cold when they stand up due to the closed design of the seats, and the effect of sleeping pills is felt while sitting. Again, Canby says “it’s like being on drugs” for the Invisible Cinema experience combined with the hallucinatory avant-garde films of the time. The final effect of the hall is that it creates a personal experience that envelops and surrounds the audience, which is exactly what Kubelka wants to do, and the audience feels drawn into this experience.

We can say that Kubelka’s comments after the hall closed in 1974 were slightly different from the experience of the audience. He says that the seats are very close to each other, that the brackets are not so high next to the obstacles at eye level, and even deliberately left open enough for the audience to touch each other. Saying that he aims to give the feeling of being together as a community while watching the movie individually in the hall, Kubelka states that he wants to maintain the existence of the collective feeling while removing distractions. We can say that Invisible Cinema, which we can call the spatial version of the avant-garde cinema of the period, was far from being invisible due to the sensation it created during its opening period and its impact until today.

Bridgett, Rob, ve Şenol Erdoğan. Avangart Sinema ve Beat Film. İstanbul: SUB Yayımları, 2017.
Hanich, Julian. “The Invisible Cinema.” Exposing the Film Apparatus, The Film Archive as a Research Laboratory. ed. Giovanna Fossati ve Annie van den Oeve. Amsterdam University Press, 2016.


 Norveç’te Bir Yazlık Ev, Lundhagem Sandefjord, Norveç. Fotoğraf: Kim Müller
Imagery via Kim Müller



As you spend more time indoors, every interaction with nature becomes more meaningful.

It’s necessary to get away from home as much as possible to get closer to nature, especially in city life. Let’s take a look at some of the housing projects that have interpreted the feeling of the natural environment very well and reflected this to the interior.


A Summer House in Norway – Lund Hagem (Sandefjord, Norway)

In this house, which transforms the height difference of the surrounding rocks into the roof and stairs, the movements of the landscape continue inside the space. In the 30 m2 space, besides a small garden surrounded by rocks, there is a living area at different heights, a bedroom, and a bathroom with a view.

Truffle House – Ensamble Studio (Laxe, Spain)

Ensamble Studio left an earthen area in the middle of the project by digging a hole for the project, which consists of a small space that looks like a rock that has been turned into a house. The volume emerged with the filling of the space left with straw bales and the mass concrete used. According to the creative team, the project, in which the soil and air change characters to create each other, is not architecture, but an artificial rock.

The New House on the Mountain Village – Studio Deschenaux Follonier  (Lù Chatarme, Switzerland)

The most important point in the project, which aims to be in contact with the nature of the area, is to create a new space that carries the character, potential, and comfort of a mountain hut with the village itself and the farmers living there. In the project where concrete and wood are used while preserving the language around it, we see a house that uses the possibilities of being new extremely well in its volume and spaces while respecting the natural area and neighbouring village houses.

Writer’s Study Room – Matt Gibson Architecture + Design (Elsternwick, Australia)

The room, which became a living part of the garden instead of being in it, is so well camouflaged that it is difficult to understand that there is an architectural mass in the garden. This tiny space of 10 m2, completely covered with wood, can be entered both from the street and from the garden.

TreeHouse – Pablo Luna Studio (Ubud, Indonesia)

The project, which is part of a boutique hotel in Bali, is positioned on 14cm thick 8-meter bamboo columns and all surfaces are complete bamboo. With the circular shape and roof structure used, a single piece is perceived without the need for volume divider walls, while the bamboo bed specially designed for the project is the most important element of the interior.

Sand House – studio MK27 (Bahia, Brasilia)

The project consists of five volumes in the trees and it seems to be hidden on the beach. It is so open to the point that we do not want to call it a room. In the house where a pergola covering the entire floor functions as a ceiling, this upper surface also has spaces to allow a few trees to grow. The fact that the curvilinear pool included in the project is located close to the shore, not to the house, is another feature that strengthens the communication it establishes with the environment of the house.

Jalousie House – Limdim House Studio (Hue, Vietnam)

The last project we’ll take a look at is not actually in a natural landscape that it can adapt to. The aim is to create green spaces in different sizes and shapes by taking advantage of this situation, which can be seen as a disadvantage in the residence located in the rainiest region of Vietnam. For this, there is a vertical garden at the back aside from the green terraces on the front facade. Also, the hollow bricks used on the back facade allow the space to breathe from every point and create a shady and open surface against the increasing temperatures of summer.

Cover imagery via Quang Dam