Modernist Network Lecture - From Avant-Garde to Architecture (and Back)

When:22 Aug 2017, 4:30pm - 6pm
Venue:Room G17, Robert Webster Building
Who:Tyrus Miller is Professor of Literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz
Modernist Network Lecture From Avant-Garde to Architecture (and Back)

Modernist Network Lecture From Avant-Garde to Architecture (and Back)

This paper considers the complex interactions of the historic avant-gardes with the symbolic idea, theory, and practice of modern architecture. I begin with Reyner Banham’s classic hypothesis that the artistic avant-gardes played a crucial role for modern architecture in providing an “aesthetic discipline,” to make sense of various technical innovations, new materials, and emergent idioms of design. I go on to consider how, reciprocally, for several avant-gardists modern architecture represented the dream of reinventing a totality lost among the multiplicity of incommensurable metropolitan sign-systems and forms. It served as a kind of utopian meta-art in which the autonomous languages of the various art-media, and even various extra-artistic dialects and functional idiolects, might be subsumed into a new metalanguage assuring both inter-translatability and social efficacy.

Tyrus Miller is Professor of Literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is author of Late Modernism: Politics, Fiction, and the Arts Between the World Wars (U of California P, 1999); Singular Examples: Artistic Politics and the Neo-Avant-Garde (Northwestern UP, 2009); Time Images: Alternative Temporalities in 20th-Century Theory, History, and Art (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009); and Modernism and the Frankfurt School (Edinburgh UP, 2014). He is the editor of Given World and Time: Temporalities in Context (Central European UP, 2008) and the Cambridge Companion to Wyndham Lewis (Cambridge UP, 2016). He is the translator/editor of György Lukács, The Culture of People's Democracy: Hungarian Essays on Literature, Art, and Democratic Transition (Brill, 2012) and series co-editor of Brill’s Lukács Library series.


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Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Room G17 is located on the ground floor.

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