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Historiographies of image-technologies in architecture at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
conference contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Akari Nakai KiddAkari Nakai Kidd, Sanja RodesSanja Rodes
This paper aims to trace the historiographies of image-technologies as a means of evaluating how major technological developments in the sphere of media are bound to the development of architecture of the same period. It focuses on the essays of Walter Benjamin (1931, 1936, 1955) and Hal Foster (2002, 2011) that reflect on the image-technologies emerging at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, respectively, aiming to open a dialogue between their essays and the two historical periods. It is perceived that examination of Benjamin’s and Foster’s historiographies of image-technologies can provide further insight into the changing relationships of architecture, image and media technologies, specifically through two historical processes; first, the intersection between image-technologies and the subjugation of architecture and; second, the intersection between image-technologies and the commodification of architecture. The relevance of this is to provide a critical perspective on the increasing penetration of technology in architecture around the turn of the centuries, and by extension, the paper effectively expands the understanding of the changing manifestations between architecture and technology. This paper is meant as a contribution to an already rich field of scholarship attending to the interaction between contemporary architecture and image-technologies. Through the explicit development of a historical dialogue between Benjamin and Foster, the paper argues that much of contemporary writing on the interaction between image-technology and architecture remains deeply bound up in questions raised at the turn of the twentieth century. Furthermore, despite the overwhelming conflation of image and media technologies with contemporary architecture, the overview of this conflation is still often negative, and as this paper argues, reductive, particularly witnessed in Foster’s essays. We argue for expanding beyond the predominately negative critiques of image technologies to create broader understanding of the increasingly complex intertwined relationships between architecture and image-technologies.