14 December 2021

The American Pictures of
the “Shrimps’ Vanguard”.

Bergische Universität Wuppertal/TACK network

Respondent: Léa-Catherine Szacka
(University of Manchester/gta, ETH Zurich)

The presentation will focus on a draft chapter of the PhD research Architecture by pictures: Visual Vectors of Tacit Knowledge in the Post-war Transatlantic Transfer, currently developed at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal under the supervision of Prof. Christoph Grafe and Gaia Caramellino, within the framework of the EU funded research network TACK Communities of Tacit Knowledge.

The research addresses the idea of the “picturescape” as a form of episteme, which tacitly and structurally influence the overall culture of the time as well as the operative design modalities applied in both architectural theory and practice. The definition of “picturescape” is derived from the term “objectscape”, coined by the Leiden archaeologist Miguel John Versluys. Specularly to this notion, the term refers to the new configuration of visual culture that it is possible to identify in the second half of the last century and that is grounded on the diffusion of new technological means of images reproduction. Final objective of the research is the thorough understanding of such an influence at the multiple levels at which it operated, in particular in relation to the coeval cultural exchange between Europe and United States.

The chapter presented mainly deals with the architectural communities of the 1970s and with their visual imageries. The Biennale of 1980 La presenza del passato is considered as the main case study for the analysis. By applying an iconological method, the documents exhibited at the time are comparatively studied, and a possible genealogy of the visual references applied in the design process is attempted.

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