Introduction: Building Word Image, a New Arena for Architectural History
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On the other hand, if the figure merely serves to illustrate, then its function as visual image would be subordinate to the words whose meanings it conveys, for such semantic conveyance is the principle objective of any vocabulary lesson. In this case, the word would be primary and the image its pictorial representation. This dual reading coheres with the two kinds of source material used for Parts of the Face, as explained in the first section of this In Focus.
On the other hand, he also used a drawing manual where, conversely, writing serves the sole purpose of explaining how to make visual form. However, despite the opposing ways in which they privilege either words or images, both the vocabulary lesson and the drawing manual operate according to a didactic pedagogical model. Whether images transmitting knowledge of words or words preparing knowledge of images, in either event, a form of knowledge is produced through the imposition, reception and iteration of an authoritative meaning — a meaning the truth of which comes to appear as self-evident as a tautology.
In both cases, then, a static and infantilising pedagogy happens to result when either word or image becomes subordinated to the other as its fixed instrument of realisation. One learns how to reproduce convention rather than create something new. To see what makes the problem of primacy essential to the word-image relation in Parts of the Face, two visual observations must be added. The first favours the perspective of imagistic priority: As Dillon remarks apropos of Parts of the Body: It is as though the painter, locked in requited gaze with his wife while learning French, associates each French word with that part of her face, such that it is her face, specifically, that calls forth or recalls the words he would learn.
In short, the painting presents a love story about recognition and remembering how to learn for the first time, with painterly priority given to the singularity of the image.
On the other hand, our second observation swings in favour of according primacy to word over image. By contrast, the regions of the face without labels appear indistinct and generally inchoate, especially the left side of the face, running from muddied forehead and eyebrow, through absented eyelid and eye, to unrouged and unsculpted cheek. If priority in the painting were to be given to the image, then surely the facial features that remain unlabelled would nevertheless be discernible, since their visibility as well-formed objects of our perceptual awareness would not depend on words that would merely represent them verbally.
However, the only features given detail and form — that is, the only features to speak of — are those pointed to by a label.
Distilled Avant-Garde Echoes: Word and Image in Architectural Periodicals of the s and s
Thus, it would seem that the word rather than the image is primary: The verbal is not a redundant repetition of the visual, but that which renders visible, allowing the image to feature as an object of recognition to begin with.
There would thus seem to be a kind of reversibility in the relation between figure and text, an undecidability in their order of priority that accounts for the playful dynamism of the word-image doublet. The tautological field of self-reference proper to Parts of the Face is animated by this oscillation between perspectives: However, in tension with this dynamic tautological unity, Parts of the Face also expresses a play of forces of a different order, made visible through what escapes or contests the recognitive synthesis of label and feature.
In the ill-defined regions of the canvas, where the crudity of paint in its excessive and careless application is nonetheless carefully maintained and displayed, one sees the active absence of a well-formed image. If the tautological dimension of the painting captures signification in the game of reciprocal reference between the verbal and visual parts of the face, the asignifying impastos and overflowing colour fields would seem to produce an affective charge quite alien to that of the cerebral black lines of designation.
Would not the latter suggest a certain violence, an imperial imposition of the signifier carving up and demarcating the territories of the face, beneath which the expressive paint would either flee or, defacing a labelless feature, resist directly? It is this resistance, no doubt, of paint in its pure materiality — wet streaks of colour or thickening mass, before it can yet be taken to signify or represent as image — that imbues the painting with its feeling.
Here, the tautology seems evident straightaway, insofar as Neon itself is neon twice over: In other words, there obtains a self-referential identity of title, form and content: The identity of word and visible object thus secures the truth of the self-reference, for, like artistic tautology generally, the work is a visual rendering of a verbal description stating a self-evident property of the work here, its material constitution.
Indeed, the unity of the verbal and the visible is so immediate, the coextension of word and image so complete, that the word would seem to have replaced the image altogether, appropriating the entire visual field of the work. Not only is language given primacy, but visual form loses all autonomy, and the visible per se is reduced to a material substratum that can only confirm the truth of the verbal sign. Indeed, in this way, pronouncing and confirming itself at the same moment, what language makes visible is the truth of what it says; and it is precisely art that enables language to perform this double function.
While Neon secures the truth of its artistic tautology by subordinating image to word, by contrast, the reverse effect is achieved in an earlier work of anti-tautological painting: The work is composed of vibrantly expressive bursts of colour and variously dispersed colour words. Most of the words although not all, suggesting a chance distribution are stencilled in different colours than the words themselves designate e.
Startlingly, the unity of signification is shattered. If the effects of an image derive from its publication, rather than vice versa i. This article challenges the illustrative function of certain images in the frame of the printed page, especially when the structure of the magazine creates gaps and distances between the images and the text they are to illustrate.
Looking at these examples — though taken from very different political and cultural contexts — sometimes show that in architectural periodicals, a traditional layout may paradoxically present unexpected combinatory effects of word and image that are clearly not the result of graphic experiments.
Nevertheless, valid effects are created by the new perception of the page or even of the book as a whole. The pending question is that of intentionality of such effects: Are they simply due to technical constraints? Yet we should not overestimate deliberate aesthetic intentionality in these layouts. Most of the French architectural periodicals, even those founded in the s and s, did not take advantage of innovations brought about by functional typography.
This has to be analyzed considering the French milieu of graphic design. Since the s, the main actors of the renewal of typography Charles Peignot, Maximilien Vox, Cassandre championed a so-called Latin typography, which would perpetuate the French tradition of the book Jubert This is not due to an ignorance of the German or Dutch works. To book designers, it stood for modern book design, as were metallized papers or sanserif fonts. Since its foundation inUAM has promoted a renovation of typography, but it is not directly experimental.
The UAM Exhibition mainly disseminated the principles of a renewed typography, though it equally disseminated the taste for constructivist compositions and photomontages, 15 which in were no longer being used in the Soviet Union.
But although tipofoto, for instance, was known in France, the alliance of typography with photography did not give rise to mere experimentation; nor did French graphic designers grasp the political and critical potential of photomontage. Nor did they explore photography and type as new devices of vision Wlassikoff As early as its second year of operation, — not just after the change in political situation of — the magazine took no clear stand in favor of radical and internationalist architecture.
Far from any anaesthetization of architectural photography, Giedion, who was nonetheless perfectly aware of the avant-garde experiments Oechslinmixed and pasted in Befreites Wohnen newspapers clippings and photographs borrowed from the CIAM architects or directly excerpted from architectural journals.
Out of this disparate material he managed to publish, in a popular collection, a book that presented modern architecture to the public dynamically, relying more on montage strategies and cinematographic experience of vision Tavares In all these examples, upheavals in the mode of perceiving were mainly due to the arrangement within the space of the book.
Far from the avant-garde architectural book, most magazines perpetuate distinct relationships between word and image within the frame of the printed page, as established by the long-lasting model of the architectural periodicals from the s. Due to the halftone process invented and disseminated in the s, photographs of a satisfactory quality could be printed on the same page as columns of text. Nevertheless, in the two last decades of the 19th century, architectural magazines continued to use separate printed plates.
They thus created, or perpetuated, a physical distance between the textual description of the building and its illustration by drawings or photographs.
The tradition of separate plates dominated architectural publishing till the end of the 19th century; the images functioned in a relative autonomy from the printed text. The cause was not only technical.
It had also to do with the way readers used magazines. In France, some 19th-century magazines consisted of articles with no relation to plates, and of plates printed separately from the related article Saboya Such a structure also echoes technical and commercial choices. Long texts — Platonic dialogues written by the architect-critic Jean Badovici — are interrupted by line-illustrations in the text; these figures echo the separate plates, but do not systematically relate to textual descriptions of buildings.
De Stijl, Russian constructivism and Le Corbusier. These gaps are due to the structure of the magazine and commentary of plates. They create figures of opposition.
Word and Image Interactions
Illustrated with images of the Werkbund Exhibition in Breslau, the text asserts that there is no innovation in radical architecture and urbanism. In this periodical, recurrent examples suggest that the choice of images was not completely fortuitous.
It published photographs of radical architecture, while texts in the journal expressed an opposite aesthetics, stemming from French rational tradition and classical modernism. Much more than layout, typography or even photographic innovations, the technically and spatially constrained frame of the printed magazine gave rise to two or even three parallel discourses: Such a structure created gaps between photograph and text, often physically distant within the space of the journal.
Whether fortuitously or deliberately, the possibility exists for semantic collisions to occur between the three distinct discourses of text, illustrations in the text, and photographs and plates. That is what the last case study aims to illustrate.
Evoking the Corporatist City by Image—Text Associations Quadrante —36 was founded inas the Italian debate on the fascist city intensified. In Quadrante, discussions of planning methods, about the structure and the form of the corporatist city, dominated the urban debate.
From untilthe only major action was the construction of new towns in the area of land reclamation on the Agro Pontino.
Word and Image Interactions
From tothe view that town planning should reflect, on a territorial and spatial level, the organization of the corporatist state was growing in political circles Zucconi Quadrante dedicated a substantial amount of editorial space to this political doctrine. The link between corporatism, amply commented on by the magazine at the political level, and the rational city was never made directly explicit in Quadrante.
That may be due either to the indistinctness of the corporatist idea at the political and social level or to the difficulty of combining this idea with the CIAM rational city. The hypothesis is that the visual organization of the magazine 21 played an essential role in the representation and, more, in the concretization of the project of the combined modern and fascist city. The juxtaposition of images within the page as well as the photomontages were signed by one of the main Quadrante critics and main protagonists of the relations between the architects and the fascist state, Pier Maria Bardi Fig.
Visual arrangements contributed to connect this project — the combined modern and fascist city — with the new political organization championed by Quadrante. The visual discourse and its relationship to the text provided a powerful instrument of persuasion for this equivalence. In spite of its traditional layout, divided into columns, the order of pages and plates plays a key role.
The plates interrupt a continuous text, which apparently runs independently from the images. Long articles expounding the corporatist political doctrine are juxtaposed with reproductions of projects — in particular, the master plan for Pavia in designed by Banfi, Belgioioso, Peressutti, et al. Moreover, Quadrante published only a limited number of representations of professional town planning — maps, plans on urban or territorial scale — with the exception of the master plans of Pavia and Milan Sul piano di Milano, or particularly for the new town of Aprilia Inchiesta su Aprilia, Although its discourse on urban planning essentially concentrates on the relation between the rational city and corporatism, the magazine reproduces mostly images of buildings and numerous photographs of models of unimplemented projects.
These photographs and the accompanying comments stress the order and hierarchy of the urban form of these cities and villages: Figure 16 An aerial view as a vehicle for rhetoric expression of the order of the rational and corporatist city: Texts repeating the definition of the corporatist city, in its processes of planning more than in its spatial configuration, are recurrently placed opposite such aerial photos.
These are included in series of all kinds of urban representations: Their organization on the page brings out the contrasts within these series. The confrontations of images and captions — which like slogans are mainly formed of word juxtapositions — echo the keywords of the fascist propaganda, i.
The construction of the Agro Pontino new towns offered Quadrante a further opportunity to strengthen the equivalence between the fascist modern city, the rational city and the corporatist city.
Once again, the visual discourse is essential to formulating this concordance, which is not present in the texts. Here, one of the most advanced experiments of Italian rational city planning is illustrated by images of rural themes. The absence of specifically urban representations is striking. Nevertheless, the theme of agriculture does not contradict the main issue: Besides, the series of images extolling these first harvests could confirm the interdependence between rational town planning and rural planning as contained in corporatist doctrine and disseminated by Quadrante.
The juxtaposition and sequences of images build a representation of the rational city, which in Italy, at the beginning of s, existed only in very few projects, most of them unimplemented, either competitions launched in the first half of the s or new towns.
The role of the images here was vital, since it was theoretically difficult to make the urban projects into demonstrations of corporatist principles. Thanks to semantic collisions generated by sequences and montages, it was the task of representations to express the equivalence between rational city, fascist city and corporatist city. The issue of word and image in architectural publication opens up a reflection on the relationships of architectural historiography and history of photography.
Although their respective goals and interpretations may differ, both fields have widely investigated the uses of images in architectural publication. Conversely, in more traditional magazines the very material structure of the periodical can give rise to associations of texts and images that can not be considered as entirely fortuitous.
In his eyes, the transformations of graphic presentation were to be associated with the changing conception of architecture, promoted successively as art, ideology and media. Visual studies have largely influenced those investigations Deriu ; Hultszch ; Stetler