• Le 03 décembre 2021 de 16:00 à 18:00
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  • de 16h à 18h.
Gratuit sur inscription

Intervenants : Christoph Breser & Sophie Elaine Wolf

"Agents and Mechanisms in Architectural Institutions and Media : For a new Italian Identity in Trentino and South Tyrol since 1922"

After 1922, the regions of South Tyrol and Trentino were the subject of extensive efforts by the fascist government to make them "Italian": Administration, school and everyday life were only possible in Italian language, and the traditionally German-speaking population - the majority in South Tyrol - was systematically discriminated against. In addition, the built environment, especially in the cities, became an important agent  for the ideological appropriation of the Fascist regime. This contribution is dedicated to architectural and urban planning measures of "Italianisation" that was manly driven by the modernization of construction and society.
    The first part of the lecture will explore the question of how architectural and urban interventions became symbolic vehicles of the new Italian and especially Fascist government: The message of the various interventions, it is assumed, was conveyed primarily through their mediation by the media and through their use in collectively performed practices. This model is based on the assumption that collectively used objects acquire collective meaning through a process involving multiple actors. The primary attributing "agents" were national and regional representatives of the fascist government; recipients of "symbolisation" were primarily the population traditionally resident in the regions, furthermore Italian immigrants recruited by the government and last but not least the general Italian population (in the role of potential tourist visitors to the region). The mechanisms involved in the "symbolisation" were again twofold: the first is the construction of the symbolic use of architectural objects through the media in the popular sense, i.e. through the print media as well as radio and film, which were still relatively new, at least regionally. The second mechanism, on the other hand, is "architecture as a medium", i.e. the targeted use of architecture in practices of collective experience, such as ceremonies or marches. In the context of these experiences, the recipients of the "symbolisation" then also become "actors" themselves in the process of attributing meaning, which brings us back to the previously mentioned collective and processual attribution of meaning to public objects. The model proposed here is illustrated by selected architectural and urban interventions. The focus is on the interventions planned and partially carried out by the fascists between 1922 and 1943 in Bolzano, South Tyrol.
    The second part of the lecture takes a look at the perspective of planning-ethics of Fascist interventions. From a descriptive approach, the Fascist ideological influence on a new Italian identity was driven forward through the modernisation of the construction sector, which has been observed here on a collective-normative level so far: New institutions, such as the "Circoli di Cultura", were founded as intermediary agents between politics and professionals as well as structure-changing mechanisms were established. Both, agent and mechanisms led to a reshaping of normative conditions in the modern construction processes and their institutions. Regulatory "mechanisms", such as the "structural monumentalisation" served to expand ruling organizations through which the Fascist regime could institutionalise its power in the professional networks. Other interventions, such as the establishment of separate professional codes for architects and engineers, were used to appropriate Italy’s constructing sector too, which continued to influence the architectural production even after the ideological change of power in 1943 - even if their Fascist ideological part was largely ignored.

  • Sophie Elaine Wolf
Dott.ssa Sophie Elaine Wolf studied art and architectural history in Dresden, Milan and Pisa. From 2013 to 2018, she was a research assistant at the Institute for Architectural History and Conservation at the LFU Innsbruck/Austria, where she taught several courses and seminars. Her dissertation on the beginnings of architectural treatises in the Italian Quattrocento, written under Prof. Bruno Klein (TU Dresden/Germany), focuses on the importance of the reception of antiquity and the pictorial competence of early architectural theorists, in particular using the figure of Francesco di Giorgio. Since 2018, she has been working on a research project on appropriation strategies in South Tyrol and Trentino after the First World War, together with Prof. Klaus Tragbar, Dr. Elmar Kossel and Mag.-Phil. Christoph Breser. In the aforementioned project, she is researching the media strategies and the mechanisms with the help of which the Fascist government made architecture a means of "Italianising" the new regions.

She has participated in numerous international conferences and workshops and has published in several languages (German/Italian/English), including peer-reviewed, on her research topic. To be published soon is an article in the Kunsttexte: ›Ideologisierung‹ von Architektur : Methodischer Ansatz und beispielhafte Anwendung auf die Region Südtirol/Alto Adige nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg. Recent publications include Francesco di Giorgio on Mechanics: A Quattrocento Lesson in the Transmission of Knowledge in: Opus Incertum No. 6 - Construction Techniques and Writings on Architecture in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, ed. by C. Cardamone, P. Martens, Issue 2020. pp. 22-33.
  • Christoph Breser
Christoph Breser is research assistant at the University of Innsbruck in the field of History and Descriptive Ethics of Architecture. With his dissertation project, normale totale: planning-ethical impact of authoritarian social systems on the modernisation of architecture in the 20th century, he is involved in the research project Italy's Appropriation Strategies in South Tyrol and Trentino after the First World War. Previously, he was a teaching and research assistant in History of Architecture, Building Surveys and The Preservation of Monuments at the Graz University of Technology and worked as an independent construction researcher as well as for the Austrian Federal Monuments Office. He has been involved in several research projects, including for the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Society in Graz, Discourses on Architecture in post-war Styria, and the University of Graz, Renaissance Architecture - A Digital Anthology of Heinrich von Geymüller. He is currently a member of the Modern/Postmodern Research Society (FoMoP) at the University of Graz, as well as an associated member of the DFG Network for Building Research for the younger building stock (nbjb 1945+) and the DFG Priority Programme 2255 Cultural Heritage Construction.

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