Designed to be Seen: Art and Function in Chicago Mid-Century Film

Public Programs

  • Chicago Film Archives

September–December 2018

Still image from Robert Stiegler’s "Licht Spiel Nur I" (circa 1967). Courtesy of the Chicago Film Archives.

“Designed to be Seen” includes a series of film screenings exploring Chicago's history of cinema through various lenses and modes of production. The four program series illuminates the diverse factors that have shaped the filmic landscape of the region from the mid-century through the 1970s.

The first program in the series, “Form and Function: The Legacy of the Institute of Design,” provides historical context and a new perspective on the lasting impact of Lászlo Moholy-Nagy’s teachings at the New Bauhaus. The second and third programsfocused on industrial, commercial, sponsored, and advertising filmsexamine the innovative design work being done in film in the mid-century. The final program in the series, “Personal Legacies: Materiality and Abstraction,” presents personal and experimental films made by the artists who worked for the design studios and corporations highlighted in the second and third programs of the series. As a whole, the series shares a largely untold chapter of Chicago’s history of film.