Monday Night — 12.11.2000 — Beatriz Colomina Reading / Discussion

Comments Off on Monday Night — 12.11.2000 — Beatriz Colomina Reading / Discussion

Some remnants:
In an effort to add some fragments from previous
meetings. We are adding short descriptions that
were sent out as emails. Before March 2001, the meetings
were shared mainly through a mailing list we maintained.
Eventhough the remnants of correspondences
from 1999-2001 are fragmentary and incomplete,
they give an idea of the kinds of meetings which
were taking place and some of the different questions
and modes involved.

Monday Night — 12.11.2000 — Beatriz Colomina Reading / Discussion

1. About this Monday

Where: 16Beaver Street, 5th Floor
When: 8pm
Who: Open to all

(16 Beaver) READING GROUP TEXT // Monday Dec. 11, 2000

This coming Monday, we will be continuing some of our discussions around public and private space in relation to art, architecture, culture, . . .. A few weeks ago when we were reading the Evictions text, this Beatriz Colomina text was mentioned.

The reading was suggested by several members of the group, but Tamara took it upon herself to copy the pages and send them to us via efax. The text – Beatriz Colomina : Privacy and Publicity … enters some of our discussions of privacy and publicity from some unique directions.

This Monday’s reading will be sent in a series of efaxes and word file.
Enclosed in this e-mail is a seminal essay by Adolf Loos (Ornament and Crime), which is referenced in the text we are reading together. This text is a word document so all should be able to read it.

The next e-mail will contain the first 10 pages of a longer efax document (the Colomina text).
The next set of pages were faxed to me separately, so they are a bit unwieldy.
So if you are interested in reading beyond the essay by Loos and the first 20 pages of the book (contained in the efax doc that will follow this one), please e-mail me as I will assemble a packet for the more ambitious folks in the group tomorrow (Saturday).
a little about the text

Beatriz Colomina : Privacy and Publicity
“An absorbing and quiet book. Absorbing in that it does not follow a single line of thought to its logical conclusion, but instead presents a series of meditations on diverse yet richly interconnected materials. And quiet in that the position of neither Le Corbusier nor Loos is ever actively argued against. They are, rather, studies in their respective habitats, and what we in turn observe is the construction of the look that sees them.” — Michael Archer, Art Monthly
Through a series of close readings of two major figures of the modern movement, Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, Beatriz Colomina argues that architecture only becomes modern in its engagement with the mass media, and that in so doing it radically displaces the traditional sense of space and subjectivity. Privacy and Publicity boldly questions certain ideological assumptions underlying the received view of modern architecture and reconsiders the methodology of architectural criticism itself. Where conventional criticism portrays modern architecture as a high artistic practice in opposition to mass culture, Colomina sees the emerging systems of communication that have come to define twentieth-century culture — the mass media — as the true site within which modern architecture was produced. She considers architectural discourse as the intersection of a number of systems of representation such as drawings, models, photographs, books, films, and advertisements. This does not mean abandoning the architectural object, the building, but rather looking at it in a different way. The building is understood here in the same way as all the media that frame it, as a mechanism of representation in its own right. With modernity, the site of architectural production literally moved from the street into photographs, films, publications, and exhibitions — a displacement that presupposes a new sense of space, one defined by images rather than walls. This age of publicity corresponds to a transformation in the status of the private, Colomina argues; modernity is actually the publicity of the private. Modern architecture renegotiates the traditional relationship between public and private in a way that profoundly alters the experience of space. In a fascinating intellectual journey, Colomina tracks this shift through the modern incarnations of the archive, the city, fashion, war, sexuality, advertising, the window, and the museum, finally concentrating on the domestic interior that constructs the modern subject it appears merely to house.