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Title: Towards a (New) Objectivity: Photography in German Architectural Discourse 1900-1914
Authors: Benyamin, Jasmine
Advisors: Boyer, Christine
Contributors: Architecture Department
Keywords: Architecture
Subjects: Architecture
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, the wedding of photography to architectural discourse in Germany was symptomatic of a larger fascination with the aesthetic potential of machine culture that had developed even before the turn of the century. The public deployment and exchange of ideas through polemical texts, propagandist journals and touring exhibitions by some founding architects of the German Werkbund exemplified the rhetorical union of the arts and architecture, which was facilitated in large part by the use of the photographic medium. This dissertation focuses on the period following the birth of architectural photography in the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the First World War. Its disciplinary aspirations are to extend existing histories on architecture’s disciplinary engagements with photography, as well as to critique assessments of the Bauhaus as foundational to modernism’s aestheticization of architectural vision. It is the aim of this study to address but one moment in the rich and widely contested relationship between architecture and photography. However, in doing so, it also speculates more generally on the ways in which the intersection of photography with architecture contributes to the fostering of cultural and discursive exchange. Such an examination of the circumstances and contexts in which photographs intervene in the pre-history of architectural modernism is critical to any re-assessment of post-war architecture culture. As reality itself is an effect of representation, photographs likewise test the truth content of the objects they image. The immersion of photographs in architectural discourse between 1900-1914 revealed the ways in which theories about architecture were often constructed at the moment of their mass visibility. Some of the problems encountered through the photographic mediation of architecture were not only introduced in the Wilhelmine era. They were widely anticipated, if not codified, as precursors to more well known case studies from the 1920’s, and certainly well in advance of our current predisposition to visual culture. Amidst this wider cross-temporal net, it is the intent of this research to challenge both photographs and the objects they depict with their discursive limits and formal contradictions in mind.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Architecture

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