Erica Beckman b. 1961
Switch Center (2003)
12 minutes
Shot, Edited and sound design by Ericka Beckman

Produced in collaboration with BALAZS BELA STUDIO, Budapest, Hungary, Artslink, USA, Hungarian Moving Pictures Foundation, Fóvárosi Vizmúvek Rt., Budapest, and Televizija Slovenska, Bratislava, Slovakia

“When I began preparing the film in Budapest in 2000, I found myself surrounded by the remnants of the Soviet’s Modernist Architecture. I was immediately captivated by these buildings – not because they were esthetically appealing – but because they embodied perfectly, not only their purpose, but also the ideology upon which they were built. They were not constructed to last but a few years, but rather to endure through millennia, corresponding to the expected lifespan of the regime. The fact that they still stood – solid, defiant even – while the empire had crumbled into dust, made them all the more appealing to me. I chose an abandoned water purification plant on the outskirts of Budapest as the setting for Switch Center. In conceiving of this film, I was inspired by Leger’s early avant-garde picture, ‘Ballet Mechanic’. In my film, the structure itself comes to life through the manipulations of the employees who work inside it. I wanted to make a tribute to the kind of futuristic pragmatism expressed by these buildings that are now being razed to allow space for shopping malls and corporate offices.” — E.B. 2002