Sunday, March 9, 2008
after neurath: the global polis at stroom
Next chapter in the ‘After Neurath' project. around the Austrian philosopher, sociologist and economist Otto Neurath (1882-1945), who lived in The Hague from 1934 until 1940. The exhibition focuses on Otto Neurath's relationship with architecture and his influence on urban development. Especially his ideas about the democratization of public space and how to reconcile the intimacy and tangibility of the ancient polis with the anonymity and diversity of the global metropolis have been very influential to protagonists like Paul Otlet, Cornelis van Eesteren, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and Le Corbusier and resound in mainstream architectural and urban thinking of today.
The exhibition ‘The Global Polis' shows the innovative ideas about the modern metropolis of Neurath -and his famous protagonists- based on the social-democratic ideals of the interbellum. Neurath was especially eager to promote participatory forms of democratic exchange (a 'global polis'), and this exhibition shows his attempts in disciplines as varied as architecture, urbanism, graphic design and planning.
The exhibition is structured in three 'acts'.
The first act, 'The Communal City,' examines Neurath's role in Vienna's extraordinary 'self-help' cooperative settlement movement, which inspired tremendous optimism in architects and planners.
The second act, 'The World City', examines Neurath's efforts to internationalize mass education and social enlightenment through collaborations with Paul Otlet, Le Corbusier and others.
The third act, 'The Functional City', looks at his work with the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) and the planner and architect Cornelis van Eesteren specifically. This section explores Neurath's struggles with the mass media and modernist architecture on the eve of the rise of fascism in Europe. It also raises deeper questions about the links between culture and politics today.
The show includes a combination of graphic charts, brochures, posters, portfolios, films and models. One of the signature pieces in the exhibition is a 5-meter-long 'Historical Table' which shows the development of the city -from prehistoric cave to modern metropolis. The CIAM architects Rudolf Steiger and Wilhelm Hess made it in 1935 in collaboration with Georg Schmidt for an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. It was shown for one day before it was taken down by exhibition organizers who feared political persecution. This is the first time it has been shown in Holland since.
Curator: Nader Vossoughian, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the New York Institute of Technology) and author of the soon to be released publication 'Otto Neurath. The Language of the Global Polis' (NAi Publishers, in collaboration with Stroom Den Haag, 2008).
February 10 thru April 6, 2008
opening: February 9, at 5 pm
location: Stroom, Hogewal 1-9, Den Haag