A building maintenance unit (BMU) is a device mounted on the roof of a building to allow access to the exterior facade. In this looped animation, two cameras endlessly scan the digital model of a BMU, mimicking the movements of the device over a building to create abstract landscapes and looming architecture.

The narrative voice also repeats herself, cycling through reordered and rephrased fragments. This collage of terms combines material from nature documentaries about the symbiotic life of a shrimp and goby fish with phrases lifted from BMU user manuals, now used to describe the interdependent relationship between a building and its BMU.

While there are some BMUs which are able to duck down into slots or burrows on their roofs, others sit proudly and extended atop their host. This building maintenance unit and its building remain in constant contact; they are never without one another post-construction. 

The symbiosis between architecture and BMUs is one of many relationships that can occur in a city. Buildings often host mechanical devices on their roofs, usually hidden by a parapet or covered by fibreglass. Building Maintenance Units, however, are often just visible on top of their host, and several kinds exist, tailored to suit their building. 

Considering the never-ending construction and reconstruction, the effort to maintain the relationship is an entirely necessary one, for if left to fend for themselves the surrounding shifting sand may consume the pair at any given moment. 

The pair form a life together, they remain together and reside together; they are never without one another post-construction. By teaming up, they have given themselves the best chance of survival.

Photo Christiany Erler.