41st Annual Conference & Bookfair
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich
9 – 11 April 2015
From Distaste to Mockery: The city and its architectures ridiculed
Paper proposals, to be sent to the session convenor in accordance with proposal guidelines. Paper proposal deadline: 10 November 2014
Session Convenor: Michela Rosso, Politecnico di Torino, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the origins of the contemporary age, the rise of a mass public and a reconfigured public sphere, along with the diffusion of the popular press, have deeply affected the way in which the city and its architectures are interpreted and judged. Among the genres addressing the modern city, some emerge that seem to be highly effective in disseminating the architectural culture, displaying its distortions or singling out its vulnerable features through the deployment of humour. As part of a media-saturated public culture, humour is both a practice of social communication and a plausible portrayal of society, illuminating the ambivalences of modern life and uncovering the shock provoked by processes of modernisation.
This session’s aim is to inaugurate a catalogue of the comic as applied to the spatial criticism of the city, its artefacts and its leading professionals – architects, artists and builders. Punch’s sharp satire of the first World Exhibition, William H Robinson’s caricatures of modernist housing, Tati’s parody of the Corbusian villa, and Dunn’s architecturally situated cartoons for The New Yorker are some of the renowned entries in this possible catalogue. By absorbing the disturbing effects of modernisation and turning them into laughter, they give voice to a diverse range of feelings and social reactions, from distaste to overt dissent.
This session invites case studies that explore the reception of architectural facts through the distinct codes of humour, verbal as well as visual, in any place and time, between 1750 and today, and focusing on any medium from literature to cinema, television and cartoons.