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Moving Image Design

Lara Pfennigdorff

Lara is a German artist and filmmaker, based between London and Frankfurt.

She has a background in Communication Design and Illustration, studying at the Academy of Visual Arts (Frankfurt) and receiving her BA at UAL’s London College of Communication. 

Largely concerned with visual narration, the human perception and social interconnection, Lara’s projects are presented through films, illustrations and installations. Her work is characterised by the use of methodical and conceptual juxtaposition and she positions herself in the cinematic field as a concept artist, production designer and visual storyteller. 

Lara has industry work experience in China, Germany and England, her involvement spanning across the fields of exhibition design, animation, illustration and 3D content creation. 

Degree Details

School of Communication

Moving Image Design
Lara Pfennigdorff

The appeal of moving image to me lies in its ability to evoke transformative action and to simultaneously express subjective as well as critical thinking. My work explores the intersection between experimental and narrative filmmaking which is largely informed by my background in communication design and illustration. I have developed an interest in ambiguous concepts and approaches, juxtaposing actions, genres and cultures within, further enriching these with themes of the Anthropocene and phenomenology.

I’m primarily concerned with identity, space and selective perceptive disclosure because of its universal relatability and by deconstructing the narrative pathway it reveals a unique cinematic experience.

I speculate on a future in which spatial injustice is implemented into city planning and population distribution. We follow the development of a spatially selective space that takes on the notion of anti-human design in a domestic setting.

The themes of xenophobia and man-made boundaries are explored as they arise from our species' unique position at the intersection between the natural and the constructed world. I base this concept on our ability to create and belief in collective imagination and I’ve chosen a narrative approach to portray these societal conflicts, site specifically in the confinements of a house, as a metaphorical microcosm for the bigger underlying issues. This resulted in a discursive space that operates on a different realm and is neither dystopic nor utopic but situated in-between as a Heterotopia. The urban house is portrayed as a heterotopian space, as an approximation of a parallel space that contains undesirable bodies to make a real utopian space possible.

This is reflected in the theatrical presentation of the space and the design of the house. Taking inspiration from hostile architecture, an urban design trend that restricts behaviour in order to prevent crime and protect property, this new interpretation tackles issues of high population density and overcrowding in big cities and they fictionally respond with the implementation of hostile houses that cater cheaper wages to drive low income tenants out. 

Interview with Matthias Wächter

It is hardly one type of house or one style of architecture that construes something as unpleasant design. Examples like the one of classicist architecture as it was famously used by Nazis is not ideological, but is simply weaponized by people and oriented towards people and proportions based on certain (proportion) specifications. 

Architecture is a tool that is used and sometimes misused by Corporations, as well as political groups. They have a corporate identity and they can be created from various templates to feed their narrative. While a space itself cannot be hostile in its own right, I questioned wether or not the use and contribution of space could be hostile? Can spatial injustice become corporate? 

The work means to address an audience of people affected by housing issues particularly in rental spaces. It aims to bring awareness and criticize the conditions of current city dwelling which is increasingly designed against people. Nowadays places are being primarily rented out and whilst the concept of ownership dwindles and the notion of responsibility and maintenance falls into a grey area, the quality of life in rented spaces falls.

A conversation on a more sustainable model of existence for the human species on the planet should be opened up, one that aims for more inclusivity in design. Architecture should be a tool for chance encounters, social interactions, nurturing community building and social culture. 

I present a speculative prospect of a bleak future to discourage this development. We follow the construction of a spatially selective space from the fictional architect’s point of view and through his documentation understand how he came to create a commercialised hostile space.

Apartment Absurda is a mixed-media archive of moving image projections, fictional diary entries, material and object experiments and design developments. The curatorial voice of the installation is the biased narrative of the architect, as he portrays future living circumstances, perceives the participating test subjects and determines the most effective ineffective design.

The speculative archive explores the curation of future histories, challenging the notion of traditional historical collection exhibitions.

The film aims to create the most unpleasant audio-visual experience for its occupier within the realms of a domestic setting. The story finds its climax in the eventual destruction of the space and marks the project of the hostile house as a failed design plan. Elements of a more macroscopic issue are addressed in this finale, when regarding the space as a heterotopic microcosm for human designed space. Brought down by the very thing they are designing against, not only addresses how we interact with our own species but towards our environment as well.

Medium: HD video installation, stereo soundtrack

Size: 04:01


Sounddesign and Composition by Shangyun Wu

Shangyunwu is a sound and media researcher, designer and programmer based in Taiwan. She focuses on deep time and sonic interaction design with media territory. Her music is an approach to the composition of human-center experience of experimental sound electronics and physical soundscape for specific physical and digital space. Recently she started to cooperate with a new virtual partner called SH△NG to create music together.