The definition of architecture is continuing to develop as connections and concerns move from reality and into the digital realm. Initially concerning structural solutions rather than social concerns, Parisian urban planner Jacques Ferrier summarises this shift in focus, discussing how “there will be people – architects, urbanists, philosophers, designers – who are reinventing themselves in order to respond to this question of an urban society. This is what [architects] are trying to do.” This evolving timeline is crucial to the Space and Photography exhibition at Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, which presents a survey of different forms of structures throughout different geographies. Encouraging viewers to confront social and conceptual movements, the show departs from a Eurocentric understanding of what space can be considering how our perceptions have, and are, changing.
In what Sabine Breitwieser, director of Museum der Moderne, has categorised as a “recent renaissance of boundaries and standardisation”, the exhibition examines how architecture has continually responded to social mobility. Moving through six chapters, part of the presentation focuses on the revolutionary artistic and architectural movements of Neues Sehen and Neues Bauen. The prominence of the two movements exposed a need to bridge a gap between classes, working for a socialist community. Lászlo Moholy-Nagy (b. 1895), featured in this section, was a professor at the world-famous Bauhaus school and worked in a constructivist manner, painting simple, monochromatic shapes and lines. The artist’s work seemingly reflects a western mood which craved private spaces in a time of industrialisation and hierarchy.
Moving into the 21st century, Hito Steyerl’s (b. 1966) installation How not to be seen (2013) pinpoints the connection between modernity and design. The video instructs viewers on how to be invisible, something which is perhaps craved in a society with no privacy, consumed by the mass production of images. Steyerl notes how people are constantly viewed through public surveillance and their participation with social media, often creating a digital persona which challenges the boundaries of what is perceivably real and constructed. Moving between computerised scenes to desilt deserts, Steyerl highlights how spaces and the concerns of people are altering, positioning the viewer with a renewed sense of power, ready to accept or reject space as we know it.
At Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, until 3 April. Find out more here.
1. Allan Sekula, The Forgotten Space, 2010, Filmstill, © Estate of Allan Sekula, Courtesy WILDart FILM, Vienna