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Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media

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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 u 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.


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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 u 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.

30 review for Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media

  1. 5 out of 5

    Moisés Hidalgo

    There are new ways here that helped me change my approach to architecture. Through photography and its history, especially the past century, Colomina treats a lot of topics here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brian Kubarycz

    A brilliant study so full of imaginative insights it dizzies the reader. Stands of to numerous readings. Gender Studies and Architectural History never looked so good together.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annamaria

    Helps seeing modern architecture in a totally different point of vew than te we're usedto be tought Helps seeing modern architecture in a totally different point of vew than te we're usedto be tought

  4. 4 out of 5

    mahatmanto

    kereen, cara dia menempatkan arsitektur sebagai sesama saudara dengan foto, lukisan, patung, pameran... bagus secara teoretik. cara melihat arsitektur sebagai hal-hal itu tadi [baca: media representasi] ini sangat modern. maksud saya, begitulah modernitas memperlakukan arsitektur dan media itu semua. arsitektur modern ADALAH media massa. dan lebih bagus lagi, dia membangun tesisnya ini dengan membandingkan perlakuan 2 arsitek terhadap dokumen: adolf loos yang membasmi semua catatan mengenai karyanya kereen, cara dia menempatkan arsitektur sebagai sesama saudara dengan foto, lukisan, patung, pameran... bagus secara teoretik. cara melihat arsitektur sebagai hal-hal itu tadi [baca: media representasi] ini sangat modern. maksud saya, begitulah modernitas memperlakukan arsitektur dan media itu semua. arsitektur modern ADALAH media massa. dan lebih bagus lagi, dia membangun tesisnya ini dengan membandingkan perlakuan 2 arsitek terhadap dokumen: adolf loos yang membasmi semua catatan mengenai karyanya, dan le corbusier yang sebaliknya, menyimpan segala-gala pernik milik dia. yang pertama, memungkinkan terjadinya 'celah' atau ruang yang harus diisi oleh sejarawan. sedangkan yang kedua, justru menutup. yang pertama melahirkan ruang publik, yakni ruang yang dikeroyok banyak pihak untuk mengisinya kembali. sedangkan yang kedua kemungkinan itu justru kecil. fokus hanya pada dua orang arsitek saja, tapi melahirkan elaborasi teoretikal yang bagus.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Iben

    Not only is the premise of this book (that architecture only became truly modern through its encounters with the media) brilliant, but Colomina can actually write!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    one of the best things I read between the years of 2001-2003

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hülya Yavaş

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Francisco Ornelas

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yağmur Kaya

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tg.Mzh

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mine

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nurg

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aykutozen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pedro

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sonaar

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hampus Thysell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hamit Sarıdemir

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Cowie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hiba

  22. 4 out of 5

    Apeksha

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Omid Kheirabadi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elif Akdin-Önder

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rüya İğit

  27. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Wang

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tugba

  30. 5 out of 5

    Helle Hansumäe

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