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Title: The architecture of transit : photographing incidents of sublimity in the landscapes of motorway architecture between the Alps and Naples
Author: Barr, Sue
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 5338
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2017
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The aesthetics of motorway architecture has not received attention within theoretical photographic discourse and has never been the subject of an academic photographic research project. This project begins from the understanding of the motorway as one continuous piece of architecture that crosses international boundaries on its route across Europe – an architecture so large that it cannot be perceived in its entirety. As a research-by-practice PhD, photography is used to identify and record incidents of the sublime in the route of the motorway. The photographs are produced with a large field study from the Swiss Alps to Naples, where numerous complex topographical and spatial conditions are found. This results in incidents of the sublime within its architecture when the motorway is forced to negotiate these conditions during its route. The research domain was chosen for its significance within the history of art and literature in European cultural history. Travelling in these regions was and is strongly related to the development of cultural concepts of the sublime. The questions that this research investigates are: Is it possible to make a depiction of architectural, spatial, topographical factors combined in a sublime incident? Can a methodology be defined to photograph these structures? How can photographs be made of large-scale architecture that cannot be seen or experienced in their entirety? The meaning of the term sublime has become diluted in contemporary usage, often being used inaccurately in description of something exquisite or delightful. This project revisits 18th-century formulations of this aesthetic categorisation, alongside historical travel literature, representations of landscape in painting and photography and contemporary architectural and photographic discourses. These references enable a thorough understanding of principles of aesthetic composition, resulting in the creation of a new understanding of the sublime and methodology for photographing large-scale motorway architecture. Employing a photographic aesthetic that embraces representation and post-production enhancement of Fine Art practice, the project culminates in the production of 29 photographs that form a narrative series exploring incidents of the sublime within motorway architecture between the Alps and Naples.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: K110 Architectural Design Theory