Bauhaus dream-house : architectural education in the age of image reproduction
An internalised reproduction, circulation and consumption of images dominates contemporary architectural education and denies its function as an ideological practice within media culture. The dissertation examines the broader historical and cultural context of image production in architectural education. It focuses on the Bauhaus, the first school adopting mass-media to construct an international identity. The dissertation draws from semiological, economic, psychoanalytic and sociological sources to explain the role of image reproduction in economic practices and gender identities at the Bauhaus. It combines Jean Baudrillard's theory of simulation, Walter Benjamin's theory of the dreaming collective, Marxian interpretations of Fordist and post-Fordist economic theory, Louis Althusser's theory of ideology, Magali Sarfatti Larson's analyses of professionalism, Pierre Bourdieu's work on cultural capital, and finally Kaja Silverman's interpretation of Freudian and Lacanian theories of masculine formation through fantasy. In the dissertation's historical analysis, Baudrillard's theory of simulation explains architectural education as sign production, from the medieval Guild, through the seventeenth century Académie Royale d'Architecture, to the nineteenth century École Polytechnique and then the Bauhaus at the threshold of media culture in the twentieth century. The theoretical framework is then used to examine Bauhaus activity through the 1938 catalogue of the school's exhibition at the Museum of Modem Art in New York. This framework constructs a new critical history of the Bauhaus. It links the reproduction of images at the school to utopian fantasy, economic production, ideological reproduction and patriarchal relations. It reveals the Bauhaus as an ideological apparatus deploying images as simulacra, political symbols, post-Fordist products and icons of gender to construct a new belief system and briefly enacting, through its industrial and social practices, important changes to economic and gender relations. This unfinished project establishes the importance of the Bauhaus to contemporary education and direction for further research and practice.