This seminar studies artists and architects, mostly German and Austrian, who were forced into exile between 1933 and 1945, fleeing the prosecution of the national socialists. Through documentary portraits and historical reconstructions we will aim to narrate the complex reality of positions and life in exile. The task of exploring historical simultaneities, and recording narratives of exile and mapping the way itineraries of exile and migration exemplifies a challenge to conventional historiographies of art and architecture. Archives have to be re-visited, documents have to be analyzed, reconstructed and interpreted. New media and formats of observation, dialogue and intervention have to be applied, and new conceptual and curatorial ideas are required to communicate this research.
Although the geographical scope of narratives of migration for research is open, we will give particular attention to research how principles and practices of Modernism became part of architectural discourse in the 1930s and wartime Britain. We will study the role of arriving émigrés after 1933 in promoting the cultural project of modernity and their relation to already existing avant-garde movements and their various personal fates, developments and questions of identity.
This seminar will also prepare for a research project in the summer semester 2015 which will include a research trip to Britain.