Architekturtheorie III / IAAD: The Artifact in the Digital Age

Seminar IAAD 2 SWS / 3 ECTS

This course questions the importance and role of material objects and materiality in the digital age. The institution of the museum traditionally rests on the presentation of material objects as a kind of evidence. Even in museums devoted to images, such as paintings, drawings or even printwork, the value of an object relies on the aura and authenticity of the 'original', which is linked to circumstances of production and origin. Consequently, paintings have, in the modern age, developed away from being 'mere' projections of space, and become abstract, or even minimalistic objects, where materiality and the touch of the author is more important than content. That same tendency towards minimalsm and objecthood has had strong influences on architecture itself. On the other hand, in the last few decades, the irony of post-modernism and the growing doubts about evidence in general have shaken the fixation with origin and authorship, instead permitting for art and architecture that understands itself as documentary, or even as social sculpture. The media age, in which omnipresence renders the question for the original useless, has intensified these tendencies. Reality-TV and Interactive Role Playing have evolved out of the daily soap, replacing authenticity with credibility. At the same time, content begins to succeed over origin in the museum, as mediation and construction of atmospheres become more important than truth and evidence. However, the more images, produced by electronic media, dominate our lives, the stronger our fascination for the material object becomes. Aura and Authenticity are still in high demand, paradoxically even within media productions.

The International Bauhaus Colloquium will take place at the Bauhaus University from April 19-22 this year. Entitled 'The Reality of the Imaginary', this colloquium will focus on the relationship between Architecture and Image; the manifold ways in which images become architecture, and architecture becomes images. We will, after a brief introduction, attend selected lectures and workshops, before we attempt to re-evaluate and discuss some of the findings in regular class sessions. Additional reading will help us to understand the topics.

Every student is expected to prepare a chosen topic for discussion, as well as participate in class discussions. IAAD participants who wish to accomplish 6 instead of 3 ECTS have the option to dig deeper into the subject, writing a paper that discusses part of the Bauhaus-Collquium on the background of some readings. Advice will be given.


The reading list is available at the teaching unit upon request.

Dipl.-Ing. Olaf Pfeifer M.A.

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter 2005-2012