TELOS: THE FANTASTIC WORLD OF EUGENE TSSUI
Directed by Kyung Lee
Official Selection, 2014 Newport Beach International Film Festival
You. In the box-shaped room. Bow down in awe to Dr. Eugene Tssui. Let the gaping begin to Tssui’s sequined bodysuit. His solar-paneled shoulder pads. His excellence in gymnastics. His Adonis-like body. Tssui, who flies somewhere between lunatic fringe and visionary genius, is the world’s most disagreeable architect. He may also be an ambassador sent from the future.
TELOS: THE FANTASTIC WORLD OF EUGENE TSSUI is a fascinating portrait of Tssui, the indubitable love child of Buckminster Fuller and Captain Kirk. Tssui’s highly thoughtful but utterly radical Evolutionary Architecture comes alive in elegiac proposals for structures informed by nature. This is no “bringing-the-outside-in” pithiness of Dwell magazine. Tssui literally translates the structural benefits of a tardigrade into a home in Berkeley. Which might explain why hellbent neighbors try to block a house resembling a segmented microscopic water dweller with eight legs. (They lose. Fish house wins.) Public outcry and cube-loving conventions block Tssui time and again, despite four professional degrees, illustrious architectural supporters, and concepts that foreshadow the wearable technology and sustainable strategies emerging today.
You may not want him to design your house or clothes, but as Tssui pursues a new project with sympathetic public officials in Mount Shasta, TELOS will have you cheering for him the whole way. Filmmaker Kyung Lee takes you into Tssui’s world without romance or irony. When Tssui talks about architecture, he is riveting, illuminating, masterful. The way Tssui’s brain works, gets our brains working. The result is a film that delivers the delicious feeling of realizing how boring we have become. –Christina Ree