Kommende Veranstaltungen

"Canons, anyone?"

Konferenz zur Kanon-Bildung

Bauhaus Universität-Weimar / 20.10.2023 


2023 will see the 100th anniversary both of the »Bauhaus-Ausstellung« and the »Internationale Architektur«-exhibition that accompanied it, as well as of the Haus am Horn, which showcased the »Bauhaus« approach in a built experiment that keeps attracting visitors to this day.

There will be manifold festivities, mostly celebrating the Bauhaus and reinvigorating its legacy. Once more. Buildings and designs presenting the scope of modern architecture then emerging, as well as works produced at the Bauhaus in its first years (in all sorts of disciplines) will reappear as they were supposed to: as a collection of models, as a set of exemplars united by a common approach to be established henceforth.

Involuntarily, we will thus also reaffirm a canon. While this canon may not have been the sole or predominant or even deliberate aim of the Bauhaus in 1923, our urge to remember — or even to painstakingly reconstruct what happened a hundred years ago — will still, first and foremost, contribute to further canonizing the Bauhaus’s contribution to the development of modern architecture, design, and art.

This begs for further discussion. That is why we ask: Canons, anyone?

In other words, and to be more precise: We would like to inquire into the meaning of »canon« today. We take the opportunity offered by the centenary, but at the same time suggest looking beyond these cheerful events.

We take our cue from the question if canons are a bad thing to begin with. After all, they grow out of the desire to find common ground, and a basis for critical discussion. Don’t they serve a purpose? Isn’t it when canons get petrified and the norms they exhibit become undisputed that the trouble starts? How is our academic teaching of history and theory influenced by rigid collections of projects and personalities? How do they affect architectural and urban planning practices? And to what extent must we de-colonize and de-heroize these canons?

What are canons good for? Are they still pertinent—or should we dispose of them? But can we do without them? Will they creep back through the back door if we choose to ignore the topic?

With questions like these in mind, we’d like to invite to an open discussion on the topic. By sticking our heads together, we hope to arrive at a broadened understanding of the questions to be raised. That is why we ask speakers to ask themselves how they relate to canons. We aim at reflections on scholarly practices in architectural and planning history.

We propose a discussion format, an open exchange. Five high-profile personalities from different disciplines discuss the open question of the relevance and future of the canon. Each opens the field with a 10-minute impulse. Together with members of the university, students, and an interested public, we will explore the question of the extent to which we still need and produce canonical knowledge—in Weimar and in the world.