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Title: Estranging devices : architectural modernism and strategies of de-alienation
Author: Vougia , Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 6975
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis is concerned with the various ways that architectural modernism of the interwar era functioned as an instrument of ideology. This complex and historically specific function is explored through the agency of a conceptual pair: (social) alienation and (aesthetic) estrangement, where the latter is understood to refer to an avant-garde artistic device, de-alienation. These terms, associated with the evolution of the capitalist economy and the practices of the historical avant-garde, respectively, manifest in a concrete way the linguistic and conceptual reworking of the discourse on ideology, which took place during the course of its migration through the disciplines of philosophy and political economy, to artistic thinking and practice, and eventually to the spatial production of architecture. The thesis studies the means by which alienation, closely associated with the ideological hegemony of the bourgeoisie, was first perceived by the avant-garde as a problem for art; and then, how it was defied in practice by the conception of the counter- ideological artistic device of estrangement. Most importantly, however, the thesis considers how one ofthe tendencies of the extensive category of interwar architectural modernism attempted to transform this "negative" function of estrangement into a project for a de-alienated restructuring of human production. The inclusion of artistic strategies that could operate as counter-ideological took place in the discourse of art practices with the historical avant-garde movements of the 1910s and 20s. It is at this moment that the understanding of the function of the dominant ideology, which occurred with the constitution of the bourgeois subject during the Enlightenment, moved from philosophical and political discourse to an aesthetic one. The avant-garde artists reconceptualised their ow~ project as a counter- ideological one and undertook the task of the ideological destruction of bourgeois culture through the destruction of bourgeois subjectivity. Thus destruction as a model of action became a fundamental strategy of the avant-garde, which saw it as a necessary obligation to be undertaken in its historical confrontation with modern, bourgeois culture. It is within this framework, of an ideologically instrumentalised negativity, that the device of estrangement originates. Estrangement was employed by the historical avant-gardes as one of its privileged artistic techniques to reveal and push to its limits the function of "contradiction", by actively making artistic form strange or alienating, so as to operate with various degrees of ideological intent against the alienation and the impoverishment of modern life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available