THE COLONIAL MODERN
Opening: 23 October, 6 p.m.
House of World Cultures, John- Foster- Dulles- Allee 10, 10557 Berlin
The conference on The Colonial Modern is part of the project IN THE DESERT OF MODERNITY, which traces the complex history and interdependency of Europe’s modern mass housing projects and urban planning and the European building projects in colonial North Africa - and hence the ambivalences between colonial rule, decolonization and the utopias of modernity.
For post-war modernity, works of architecture and blueprints for cities had great symbolic character. They were not only exemplary for the aesthetic project of modernity, but also for social modernity and the dawning of a new society, whose feasibility and plannability they represented. However, the symbolic function of the settlement architecture the modern architects designed was “ as one of the preliminary theses of the conference indicates “ embedded in a field of conflict. On the one hand, the architecture of the 1950s and 1960s incorporated population policy strategies that had already been tested in a colonial context. On the other hand, the architects sought to integrate the experience of decolonisation into their planning, which they did by synthesising lifestyles designated ˜pre-modern’ into the project of the Modern movement in order to create a new and different Modernity.
The Colonial Modern conference takes these positions as its starting point. It focuses on the relationship between the aesthetic regime of Modernity on the one hand, and the project of modernisation on the other. Considered in the context of colonialism, the close interrelationship between the two levels becomes acutely clear. The numerous conflicts and negotiations over modernity show that this intricate relationship was full of tensions, as the exhibition IN THE DESERT OF MODERNITY shows with numerous examples. Interest in this subject is more than purely historical, for it raises the question of what conclusions we can draw for present-day problems “ no matter whether they are cultural, scientific or political.
Nezar AlSayyad, architect and urban designer and historian, Berkeley / Kader Attia, artist, Paris/Berlin / Monique Eleb, psychologist and sociologist, Ecole d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais / Jyoti Hosagrahar, expert on historic cities, UNESCO / Christian Kravagna, art historian, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna / Kobena Mercer, expert on Visual Arts of the Black Diaspora / Valentin Y. Mudimbe, professor of Literature, Duke University / Joe Nasr, scholar of urban planning, Ryerson University, Canada / Peter Osborne, Director Center for Research in Modern European Philosophy, London / Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Philosopher University College of Södertörn and Architectural Theory at Royal Institutute of Technology, editor in chief of Site Magazine Stockholm
Free admission, Detailed program information: http://www.hkw.de/en/programm2008/wueste_der_moderne/veranstaltungen_20465/Veranstaltungsdetail_1_26109.php