Week 1: 12 – 19 June

Arquiteturas team believes this break is a great opportunity to look back at the festival’s last seven editions and provide viewers staying indoors worldwide with a selected retrospective of free streaming films. Each film will be released every Friday, running until next year’s edition, and can be viewed for one week. This initiative aims to provide visibility to the films and the makers and their contribution to initiating great discussions through their build environment stories. A live Q&A with the filmmakers, producers or authors will be announced whenever this is made possible, via the festival’s Instagram and FB pages.


Misleading Innocence (tracing what a bridge can do)

Francesco Garutti and Shahab Mihandoust, 2014, Canada, 50’

This film, conceived by Francesco Garutti, directed by Shahab Mihandoust, and produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), explores the story of the planning and politics of a series of overpasses on Long Island, commissioned in the 1920s and 1930s by Robert Moses.

The documentary investigates the controversial debate around the commission of this specific series of Long Island’s bridges supposed to be built especially low to prevent the passage of buses, thereby only allowing to private automobiles of the New York upper-middle class to reach the island’s newly designed leisure spaces. The film re-enacts the academic debate that the story generated between the ‘80s and ‘90s, becoming a pioneer case-study to analyze relations between design and politics, strategies of control and the effects of technology.

About Francesco Garutti

Francesco Garutti is a curator, editor, and writer. He currently works as Curator, Contemporary Architecture at the Centre for Canadian Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, where he recently curated the exhibition and research project Our Happy Life: Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism (2019) and is now directing the “Out of the Box” program on the Gordon Matta-Clark collection (2019-2020). His upcoming exhibition The Things Around Us: 51N4E and Rural Urban Framework, reflects on the practice as an expanded ecology and questioning the role of the architect today. Opening in Fall 2020 at the CCA.

About Shahab Mihandoust

Shahab Mihandoust is an Iranian-Canadian filmmaker, based in Montreal, where he obtained his BFA from Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. His recent documentary, Zagros (2018) won the prize of the best Canadian short or medium length film at RIDM film festival. Inspired by visual ethnographic approaches he is interested in studying what makes the meaning of a place, and how lifeways are shaped in different environments and landscapes.  Since 2014 Shahab has collaborated with the curatorial team at the CCA in various projects. This includes directing and editing a documentary, Misleading Innocence (2015), as well as the oral histories of The University is Now on Air (2017).

About the CCA

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) is an international research institution operating from the fundamental premise that architecture is a public concern. It was founded in 1979 by Phyllis Lambert as a new type of cultural institution, with the aim of increasing public awareness of the role of architecture in contemporary society and promoting research in the field. cca.qc.ca

Documentary film as a curatorial tool for the CCA

To engage new media formats and reach additional audiences to shift conversations around fundamental social issues in our contemporary world, the CCA continuously invests in its digital storytelling efforts. Documentary film in particular has begun to play a key role as a curatorial tool for the institution, figuring in initiatives such as Misleading Innocence: Tracing What a Bridge Can Do (2015), The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture (2017), an exhibition, publication, and multimedia project focused on an architecture course offered by the Open University in the 1970s; Our Happy Life: Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism (2019), a project that explored the pervasive effects of a global “Happiness Agenda” pursued since the 2008 crash through formats including Now, Please Think About Yesterday, a documentary about Gallup’s World Poll, and most recently, What It Takes to Make a Home (2019), a short documentary film conceived by Giovanna Borasi and directed by Daniel Schwartz, that weighs architectural responses to homelessness. The film is the first in a new CCA series of short documentary films that explores how architects address conditions redefining twenty-first-century society.

Digital Publication: Can Design Be Devious?  

The publication accompanies the film Misleading Innocence (tracing what a bridge can do). It points to the complexity of the topic and the elusiveness of clear answers by presenting objects and documents that Francesco Garutti encountered during research. Essays and a conversation deepen the analysis and widen the scope beyond the case of the bridges.

Edited by Francesco Garutti
Essays by Matthew Gandy and Antony Hudek
Conversation between Stephan Graham, Albena Yaneva, and Francesco Garutti
Graphic design and development by Linked by Air
Digital publication
Published by the CCA, 2016

Download for free from the CCA online bookstore:  LINK

Statements and Quotes by Francesco Garutti related to Misleading Innocence:

  • The film somehow investigates and re-enacts a debate that marks the early times of a relatively new discipline – codified in the late 60s – as the Science and Technology Studies. It was a perfect case-study to start questioning the relation between the design of technology and its effects on society.
  • The only way to produce a content able to convey the fascinating nature of a narrative that is inhabiting the gray zone between history and urban myth, journalism and urban studies, academic debate and rumors and gossip, was making a film. That is why I proposed to the CCA to use the Emerging Curator program to produce a cinematographic product. And it seems weird to say it now but – when I started the project in 2012 – we were still in times when institutions were absolutely less used to make film than today. The CCA took the challenge right away.
  • The whole project starts from a fascinating investigation of our apparent normality. Behind the design of a object as a bridge – supposed to be constructed following only technical rules and static calculations – could be hidden a disturbing strategy of discrimination. That is what the urban legend of the Long Island bridges says, that was the starting point of our research.
  • How and to what degree can a project’s intentions be deliberately concealed? What are the deviously designed effects and the unplanned political consequences of the agency of the artifacts that surround us? 
  • The approximately two hundred bridges on the parkways of Long Island commissioned by Robert Moses from the late 1920s to the early 1930s have been transformed, over the last century, into quasi-objects. They are nodes of a discussion; simultaneously material and immaterial cores around which speculations and disputes occur. The bridges have become symbolic pieces of architecture, causes for scandal and links between narratives, disciplines and academic fields.”
  • To what degree is a designed artifact able to encourage, discourage, prevent, or induce a behavior? How and to what degree can a project’s intentions be deliberately concealed? And under what specific conditions can a deviously designed object with a hidden mission reveal its true nature?
  • “The Moses bridges, occupying a space between reality, rumor and urban legend, offer a clouded view onto the relationship between architecture and social form, secrecy and control and the morality of power and technology.”

Social Media

Canadian Centre for Architecture
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youtube @CCAchannel
instagram @canadiancentreforarchitecture

Francesco Garutti 

twitter @fgarutti 
Instagram @fgarutti
facebook @francesco.garutti

For further information and interview requests, please contact:

Julia Albani, International Press and Public Relations
Canadian Centre for Architecture
+351 911 191 898