NOMAD SEMINAR, 2012, Middle East Technical University-Ankara
Intersecting Routes of Architectural Photography, Travel and Survey Books in Nineteenth Century
As historians point out, the eighteenth century was the period of Enlightenment that brought new historical consciousness by paving the way to archaeological studies and architectural history researches. Travel was a crucial part of the historical researches, thus the researches took the form of exploration. Consequently, travels for architectural explorations increased in the eighteenth century, and during the following two hundred years, architectural travels fundamentally shaped architectural taste and reconstructed architectural knowledge. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, travel became a part of the architect’s professional competence and it was regarded as an important part of architectural education.
Since historical researches held on the form of geographical survey by travel and a historian was expected to be a traveler, conventions of travel literature were applied to architectural history writings. Thus, similar to travel books, architectural history books mainly were organized according to the description of certain places and buildings, and their topographic correspondences and relations. In other words, architectural history books reflected travelers’ gaze.
In the nineteenth century, soon after the invention of photography in 1839, a vast variety of architectural images was produced. In the meantime, the travel fostered by railways and steamships made remote lands accessible and fastened the transmission of photographs. In this regard, the nineteenth century fascination for travel revealed itself not only as actual travel but also as “virtual travel” which could be interpreted as an alternative means of travel. So, many places were “visited” through the visual information brought back in the form of published and/or exhibited photographs.
Accordingly, books on architecture and architectural history began to use photographs. Among these books, the ones, written by James Fergusson, and by Banister Fletcher and Sir Banister Fletcher, were attempts to cover all times and the whole world by using photographs. Fergusson’s A History of Architecture in All Countries from the Earliest Time to the Present Day (1865-67) was the first architectural history survey book written in English, in which photographs were the main visual source of information that helped Ferguson to develop his history. Fletchers’ long lasted A History of Architecture for the Student, Craftsman, and Amateur, being a Comparative View of the Historical Styles from the Earliest Period (1896) went far beyond the way opened by Fergusson’s book in the sense that it was illustrated mainly by photographs.
Suggesting that while writing books, architectural historians used photographs not only for themselves but also for their readers’ “virtual” travels, this paper aims at discussing the intersection of travel, photography, and architectural historiography in the nineteenth century by focusing on Fergusson’s and Fletchers’ survey books.
Real Copies: Writing a Modern Colonial Asmara
“This is not a mere copy of Italy; I don’t mean that. It is Italy itself, in Africa.”
Harald P. Lechenberg, “With the Italians in Africa,” National Geographic Magazine, v.68, n.3 (Sept 1935), 284.
At the turn of the twentieth century, very little Italian writing was published concerning the making and meaning of colonial spaces in the 'Horn' of East Africa. Seeking at once to assure the audience at home of the almost-mythic rejuvenation of an "ancient" landscape, Italian writers, often traveling with commercial expeditions, calculated the space of Eritrea, in particular, as a new ground, ready for colonization. Accompanied by such narratives of travel through and in a (foreign) landscape, the act of seeing became one of acculturation and assemblage in the face of often-conflicting scenes for personal and governmental undoing. So too can we read the architecture and urbanism of Italian East Africa as embodying loss and memory refashioned through often conflicting narratives of the modern, where and how does it begin?
This paper explores three narratives of Italy's building of a modern colonialism centered in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, the once and future capital of the short-lived Italian Colonial Empire in East Africa. Enrico Tagliabue, Idelfonso Stanga, and Rosalia Pianavia-Vivaldi all contributed to the making of Asmara as a modern city through their private memoirs as well as published photographs alongside their narratives of longing for Italy. The modern spaces and architecture of Asmara unfold around a diachronic analysis of these colonial narratives. The paper will explore how the ground, as a space of representation as well as the foundational beginnings of an Italian colonialism in East Africa, emerged as a leitmotif that not only sought to elucidate multiple colonial missions but also prove Italy's right to build un posto al sole, a place in the sun.
Encouraging a rereading of architectural and colonial historiography through the twinned lenses of travel writing and emergent modernities, this paper asks if one can read a concomitant architecture as having embodied the visual and narrative texts of a city's building. Further, can text, its 'copy,' be it printed or visually constructed, become the means by which colonial space is recognized, visualized, and represented in Italian modernity?
Zehra Betül ATASOY
The Impressions on Late Ottoman Architecture “within the framework of İstanbul” through 19th Century American Travel Narratives
This paper studies the 19th century American travel narratives within the context of the Ottoman capital Istanbul. Starting from the 18th century, the Ottoman political elite has started to impose European standards in built environment and social life as a response to the rapid development of Western countries in that era. This led to the first developments of new expressions in architecture. Ottoman art and architecture also imported and transformed the Western artistic patterns. The aim of this paper is to investigate how Ottoman Westernization in architecture was perceived by American travelers, considering that Istanbul was seen as the center of the exotic East. Travel writings of 117 American intellectuals and professionals such as diplomats, lawyers, missionaries, soldiers, academicians, writers and journalists have been analyzed in detail. The travelers depict Ottoman imperial fountains, mosques, palaces and popular promenades of the time in their travel accounts.
The modern scholarship describes the Late Ottoman Architecture as an opening to the West. Innovations of European architecture influenced the Ottoman Empire in great extent. As a result, Baroque and Rococo styles were introduced to the Ottoman world as an interpretation of European architectural and ornamental models. Despite the common understandings of modern scholarship on Late Ottoman Architecture, the American travelers seem to hardly elaborate this period’s architectural developments in their accounts. The writers generally depict the late Ottoman building styles as Sarasenic, Arabic, Moorish and mostly Oriental.
Mustafa Kemal BARAN
Different Modes of Recording in Karl Friedrich Schinnkel’s Architectural Journey to Italy (1824)
This study is an inquiry into the different modes of recording in Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s second journey in/to Italy of 1824. Schinkel, arguably the most prominent and influential architect of 19th century Germany, set off from Berlin at the end of June to conduct an on-site research for his museum project, known today as the Altes Museum, and travelled for about five months in Italy by visiting Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice, before he returned to Berlin at the end of November.
As he travelled, he thoroughly recorded his journey literally and visually. The materials that he left behind from the journey include his travel diaries, letters, sketches and drawings which give first-hand insights on the questions, ranging from where he went and stayed to what he saw, from what he ate to whom he spoke with, from what he heard to what he felt.
Rather than focusing solely on a reconstruction of Schinkel’s journey through the materials he left behind from the journey, this paper will explore new aspects of interaction between travel writing, or in broader terms travel recording, and architectural history taking his second journey in/to Italy of 1824 as the case study. In comparison with Schinkel’ journey to France and Great Britain of 1826, this paper will try to unfold questions such to what extend travel writing, or in broader terms travel recording, captures architectural experience in the historical context of nineteenth century Italy and in what aspects architectural history writing can use travel diaries and sketches as primary sources.
From the Colonial Era to the Cold War: Henry Sienkiewicz’s Travels through Real, Imagined and Ideological Africa
In December 1890, Henryk Sienkiewicz, a beloved Polish author of epic historic sagas inspired by Polish history and the future Noble Prize for Literature laureate (1905), embarked on a three month hunting trip through colonial Africa. He related his observation and adventures to his Polish readers in a series of twenty-three letters published in the Polish press as “Letters from Africa.” Only two were produced during his trip; the rest were penned after the writer’s return home. Twenty years later, these recollections became the basis for one of his most bellowed novels In the Desert and in the Jungle (serialized in 1910-11, published as a novel in 1912), set in Egypt and Sudan during the Mahdi revolt. The book tells the story of the two children of engineers working on the Suez Canal, a fourteen year old Polish boy and a eight year old English girl, who are kidnapped by the followers of the Mahdi, escape, and eventually make their way back to their fathers after an arduous and trilling journey through the heart of ‘black’ Africa. In 1973, a major film based on the novel was released in Polish theaters. It was a lavish production filmed on location in Egypt, Sudan and Bulgaria and produced with an unpredicted budget. Shortly thereafter, the movie was also adopted for Polish television and shown as a mini-series.
The paper I propose to present at the conference will examine these different journey’s through Africa: the real one take by Sienkiewicz, the imaginary one taken by the young protagonists of his novel, and the ideological one, presented to the Polish viewers at the height of the Cold War ‘struggle’ for Africa. The essay will focus on the function of Africa, or to be more precise, on the representations of Africa and Africans as the Other to the Eastern European Self, who in turn was being ideologically defined against the Western norm associated with the Colonial past. The fact that Sienkiewicz’s 1912 novel (a text that naturalized the colonial world view, in which all whites were inherently superior to all people of color) was a required reading for all school age children in the 1970s further complicates the understanding of race under communism. The paper will attempt to map the cognitive dissonance that resulted from these opposing narratives by situating them within the context of the historic and political events taking place on the even of the Frist World War and at the height of the Cold War in the early 1970s.
The Role of Travel in the Establishment of the Architectural Photography Collection at Cornell University
Andrew Dickson White, the first president of Cornell University in the United States, referred to architecture as his 'pet extravagance.' Leveraging his influential position as president, White was instrumental in the establishment of the architecture department at Cornell in 1871, the second such department in the U.S. One of his noteworthy contributions to this newly founded department was the initiation of an architectural photography collection that was a direct result of his travels. This architectural photography collection formed the core of the architectural history education at the school well into the 20th century. After all, photographs provided one of the only ways for students to learn about the architecture of distant places. Since many of these students went on to practice or teach architecture themselves, White's selection of architectural subjects for his photography collection influenced what became the 'canon' of world architecture both at Cornell and in the United States. This paper particularly examines White's Egyptian collection, acquired during his voyage to Egypt in 1889 and demonstrates that the establishment of this architectural history canon was deeply influenced by tourism.
Revisiting the Caput Mundi: Venturi’s Letters from Rome
“For the first time, I feel confident now that I am ready to design & build a building —& oh, that is a satisfying feeling—and exciting.” (3 July, 1956).
In his final letter from Rome to his parents, Robert Venturi expressed the conviction that after years of graduate study and professional internship, his two-year fellowship at the American Academy had finally prepared him for fully-fledged architectural practice. Venturi’s early travels are a well-known episode in his famous career, for which Rome has remained a recurrent point of reference. They are also a topic of increasing scholarly interest, in large part because of their direct influence upon the book he published a decade after his return from Europe, which altered the direction of the late twentieth-century discipline. Recently, the reconciliation of history and modernism that Venturi proposed in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) has been shown to owe much to his interaction with Ernesto Rogers and other Italian architects while at the Academy. His journeys and experiences during this period also contributed significantly to a redefinition of the value and purpose of educational travel in general, and Rome in particular, for modern architects.
Venturi’s Rome Prize was undoubtedly the most influential of the twentieth century, and he was arguably the Academy’s most thoughtful and well-prepared architecture Fellow of the postwar era. Moreover, his fellowship is among the most thoroughly documented of this period. Venturi’s archive holds forty-nine letters written to his parents from overseas, along with numerous other documents pertaining to his Academy stay. This wealth of evidence contrasts with the relative brevity of his actual time abroad. Although Venturi won two years of support, his fellowship coincided with a family crisis that delayed his arrival and led him to return home twice (once for nearly six months), splitting his time abroad into one two-month and two six-month stays. Despite his fragmented and abbreviated experience, Venturi’s often lengthy and highly descriptive accounts provide a rich diary documenting the texture of his experiences in Italy and his extensive travels from Egypt to Sweden.
Venturi’s epistolary travelogue presents a rare opportunity to consider in detail what a young American architect—a fully modernist architect, fresh from Eero Saarinen’s office in Michigan—believed he could gain from specific sites, historic periods, and travel itself. Clarifying Venturi’s early understanding of architectural history and historiography is central to interpreting his approach to his fellowship. The portraits of his discipline, modern art, literature, popular culture, and close-knit family that emerge from his letters are similarly illuminating. While Venturi has spoken frequently on some of these issues, his retrospective accounts cannot substitute for firsthand accounts from the mid-1950s, which provide direct insight into the ideas that would bear fruit in his influential work of the early 1960s. It also helps elucidate how Venturi’s fully “academic” pilgrimage to Rome, that most established and auratic of architectural destinations, would ironically and improbably become understood as yet another revolution in the twentieth century’s genealogy of avant-garde volte-faces.
Emilio MAZZA & Edoardo PICCOLI
True and False Philosophers in Tour. Lord Charlemont's Topography of Manners
Born in Ireland, of English descent, politician unable to speak in public, amateur historian of Italian literature, Lord Charlemont is also recognized as the man who brought Eighteenth Century architectural modernity to Ireland, through his Patronage of William Chambers. His travels, a nine yearlong grand tour, are an established key for explaining this feature, along with his importance as patron of the arts; yet, his travel writings ‐ painfully reworked over time, and intentionally left unpublished at his death - are not the typical antiquarian/dilettante narration. As he writes In ‘Costantinople’, The Introduction To an Essay Towards a New Method of Travel Writing, Charlemont’s only purpose is, ‘in behalf of human nature, to combat inveterate prejudice’: accordingly, in his recollections, pestilence in Sicily, debauchery in Malta, matriarchy in Lesbos, Encounters with Pachas firmly occupy the foreground of the scene, while the monuments and landscapes of the Mediterranean form a varied, yet quite unfocused backdrop. The result is a topography of manners, scarcely less metaphorical than Swift's Gulliver's travels, that cannot be easily interpreted with the instruments of the antiquarian (nor, today, with those of the architectural/art historian).
Charlemont's aim is not exactly coincident with that of other writers and philosophes: by and large, travelling for him appears to be a private endeavour, and a way to measure, with the clarity of the foreign observer, the distance between the ruling élites and those that in Constantinople he will define as ‘the lower classes of the people’ or, in Messina, ‘the people, which constitute the real and effectual riches of the state’ (and, ‘[also] the People of all others most addicted to superstition’, which brings us back to his controversial position within catholic Ireland). In the aristocrat’s and politician’s view, travel may also reveal the peculiarities of governments and the ‘weakness’ of «Great Minds»; Hume The philosopher is more vulnerable in Turin, than in Edinburgh. So, even if among Charlemont’s purposes there was ‘to combat inveterate prejudice’, the motives that move him may not be the same as Hume’s or Diderot's. Shifting away from Hume’s intentions, and from Diderot’s passionate appreciation of Bougainville’s voyage to Tahiti, the memory Of travel is edited and manipulated, in time, in a way to consolidate power and control over social and political change. manuscripts, circles, and even academies (Charlemont founds the Royal Irish Academy) may be seen, in this context, as means to contain the diffusion of knowledge within a ruling élite, in opposition to the potential openness of the press. Could this attitude also explain the private character of the Earl's Residence at Marino (built following Chambers' design) and the secluded library of his town residence? With few exceptions (among them, J. Kelly's book On the Dilettanti) the private character of travel may be one of the aspects of eighteenth century travel that is most frequently forgotten in recent historiography on the grand tour, more concerned with the history of taste, or with praising the qualities of artistic and architectural patronage.
Daniela ORTIZ dos SANTOS
Le Corbusier and the Journey to Brazil in 1929: Readings, Voyages, Writings and Networking
Le Corbusier’s journey to South America in 1929 and, particularly to Brazil, clearly played a significant role in his architectural and written production. The drawings of the urban design for the city of Rio de Janeiro, for instance – quickly sketched in his private carnets while flying over the city – was immediately transformed into public discourse during his lecture in the same city. In other words, it was while he was traveling through Brazil that Le Corbusier publicized his narratives as a tourist and as an architect in parallel – narratives based on his experiences in loco. This combination of traveler, tourist, architect, urban designer and lecturer is indeed singular in comparison to his previous voyages. As such, Le Corbusier’s ‘practice of traveling’ has then undergone significant change.
While Le Corbusier’s official voyage would begin from Bordeaux in September 1929 on the cruiser Massilia, his real journey began long before this transatlantic crossing. It begins in mid-1920s Paris, a time when Le Corbusier was close with avant-garde figures such as Blaise Cendrars, Fernand Léger as well as artists from Brazil. This paper will argue that Le Corbusier`s exchanges with this network of artists in the 1920s inspired, influenced and affected Le Corbusier’s ideas of travel, as well as his understanding of Brazil. The exchanges in particular with the Swiss-French writer Blaise Cendrars – who was a friend from Le Corbusier – as well as the readings of Cendrars’ books appear to be central to Le Corbusier’s vision of Brazil. In the Le Corbusier’s files (FLC), it was possible to start to identify books written by the poet, as well as a number of letters and documents. Most of these books – which were published in the twenties (and identified that Le Corbusier had received or acquired at this same time) – are embedded with stories of Brazil, Cendrars’ own experiences in the tropics and many other experiences the poet had while traveling. In fact, literature who deals with the issue of traveling seems to interest Le Corbusier at that time. To mention a few more examples, there are A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust and Les Essais by Michel de Montaigne.
This paper shall consider thus the question of travel as a mental construction rather than a sequence of geographical displacements. Such understanding has been brought by several authors. Sociology John Urry, for instance, states that there is an anticipatory construction of imagery of the place to be gazed upon which is “sustained through a variety of non-tourist practices”, such as in media or literature.
Despite analyzing Le Corbusier's travel narratives from the end of the twenties as well as establishing the relevance of several authors inherent to his intellectual constructive process, the aim of this work is not to focus on a singular figure within the history of architecture. Rather it points to an examination of the tensions and exchanges between the artistic and the architectural fields in the late twenties – especially as the issue of travel is presented through these exchanges. In this sense, Le Corbusier is immersed in a moment when the formative aspect of the voyage to an architect – as well as to a humanist, in general – suffers significant changes in the first quarter of the twentieth century, and yet, embodies another concept of ‘mimesis’ or ‘emulation’ that is less literal and more abstract in its terms.
One Palace, Multiple Narratives: Travel Accounts on the Topkapı Palace from 18th to 20th Century
“The time has come; it seems, to face the facts: revolution is movement, but movement is not revolution.”- Paul Virilio
This paper aims at analyzing the changing perception and representation of one particular monument through the eyes of travelers of different periods. Even though the royal complex in question has remained relatively unchanged -at least the parts of interest to most travelers- and faced somewhat minor architectural transformations, it was perceived and depicted entirely different during different eras.
This article will map the transformation of the Topkapı Palace, from a secluded and mysterious seat of the Ottoman Empire to a touristic spectacle. During the period, from late 18th to early 20th century, not only the act of travelling but also the nature of the visitors drastically changed. Once opened its doors solely to diplomatic envoys and royal visitors, le Palais du Grand Seigneur became a part of the grand tour conducted by Western elites during the 19th century; and, finally by the 20th century, le Vieux Palais actually turned out to be a popular tourist destination, a must-see spot for the modern traveler. This transformation could be well observed thanks to the firmans found in the Ottoman Archives of Prime Ministry, granting an entrance permit to the palace grounds.
The main seat of the Ottoman dynasty has always been a point of interest for the Western travelers and many devoted a significant section of their travelogues to this particular edifice, describing its architectural and morphological features, including the myths and speculations about the harem. However, this inaccessible and mysterious citadel gradually evolved into an urban spectacle choreographed for the Western gaze. Obviously, there exists a wide travel literature on Constantinople, especially during the 19th and 20th centuries; and within the scope of this paper, numerous travel accounts will be selectively presented and analyzed. Apart from much-referenced travelogues by J.B. Travernier, A.I. Melling, A. Lamartine, G. de Nerval, T. Gautier, A.P. Déethier, Lady Pardoe, C. White and A. de Amicis; travel notes of numerous less-known voyageurs including, but not limited to, Edward Daniel Clarke, Edwin Grosvenor, Georgina Adelaide Müller, Leopold de Belgique, John Auldjo, Jean Ebersolt, Elias Habesci, Sutherland Edwards, Emelia Bithynia Hornby, Barnette Miller, William Holden Hutton and Mrs. Brassey will also be analyzed as a part of this research. Rather than a descriptive analysis, the changing perceptions of these travelers and their spatial experiences will be questioned: how the same architectural edifice was perceived and depicted in various narratives; what the similarities and differences in their langue were; which stereotypes within the genre of travel writing were utilized; how orientalism and exoticism influenced their expectations; what the discrepancies between visual and textual representations were.
This research also hopes to present how travel literature as a genre has evolved and transformed, especially during the 19th century. In addition to textual references and visual depictions, several guide books such as Les Guides Bleus, Baedeker, Mamboury, and Guides-Joanne, and newspaper articles provide critical information regarding the changing practices of travelling. This comparative approach could shed light on how the travel literature, in terms of its changing format and content, created an impact on the writing of architectural history.
Lost Architecture: Travel Literature and the Study of Bulgaria’s Ottoman Heritage
Recent renovation works in downtown Sofia have uncovered the foundations of an Ottoman thermal bath located next to the city’s single functioning mosque on Bath Square. The excavations were part of an urban renovation project focused on the construction of Sofia’s image of a simultaneously modern and ancient city. This ideological trend, officially formulated in the 1970s, however, associated the ancient aspect of Sofia’s image with the city’s Roman past, rather than its more recent Ottoman history. Conveniently for the authorities, therefore, the remains of the Ottoman bath, though formally re-discovered as a tourist attraction, remain hidden under the thick shadow of the trees next to the mosque. The hastily prepared tourist information sign includes a famous quotation from Hans Dernschwam’s travel account of 1553. The problem that this sign poses is that, while Dernschwam describes in rich detail a big hamam and its heating system, the remains uncovered on Sofia’s Bath Square belong to a small kaplıca, a thermal bath, that was powered by the naturally hot waters of a thermal spring. Significantly, furthermore, this was one of Sofia’s women’s baths, a fact that completely rules out any association with the men’s hamam described by Dernschwam.
Ottoman Sofia’s urban fabric was dominated by magnificent examples of imperial architecture, produced during the city’s four centuries of service as the political and administrative center of Rumeli, the largest and most important of the Ottoman Empire’s European provinces. Sofia’s Ottoman public baths were the foci of the city’s spatial layout, the centers of an urban culture, the urban landmarks. This was noticed by most Westerners who visited the city. Rarely did a traveler forget to mention Sofia’s famous public baths in his/her diary entry on the capital of Rumeli. What’s more important, however, is that travelers frequently commented on the importance of Ottoman public baths in urban development, their place in religious foundations, and their function as symbols of the city. The ideological climate of the post-Ottoman period, however, and the more recent focus on Sofia’s Roman past, has wiped out the city’s Ottoman heritage, both physically and symbolically, from the agenda of Bulgarian historians, architects, and archaeologists. The dominant architectural narrative has relegated the Ottoman period to a tiny chapter emphasizing the break with Bulgaria’s medieval tradition. Significantly, Ottoman Sofia’s architectural history has often been represented by excerpts from an authoritative group of travel accounts, such as those of Hans Dernschwam, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Evliya Çelebi. Unfortunately, in the context of positivism characterizing Bulgarian historiography – and Ottoman studies in general – these texts have never been placed within a proper theoretical framework. Carefully analyzing Western travelers’ accounts of Ottoman Sofia’s public baths, this paper aims at a reevaluation of their importance as a source for architectural and urban history. Furthermore, it seeks to bring Bulgarian historiography’s treatment of Ottoman public baths in harmony with one of its major sources.
Elisa POLI & Giovanni AVOSANI
“Now, why to send poor tourists into the fray? - I guess the compilers of the latest edition of the Touring Guide have asked-. And finally, to see what?” Giorgio Bassani, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
In 1962 Giorgio Bassani published The Garden of the Finzi-Continis wich is considered the best of the series of novels that he produced about the lives of Italian Jews in the northern Italian city of Ferrara. Although the novel focuses on the relationships between the major characters, the shadow of creeping fascism, especially the racial laws that restricted Jews' participation in Italian society, looms over all the novel's events. But the very center of the book is the city of Farrara, a secret, quite and seducing place. A landscape that has been described by many artist and film makers. A city that had received the attention of Bruno Zevi in his well-known “Saper vedere la città”.1
In 2012 Ferrara celebrate the centenary of Michelangelo Antonioni one of the most sensitive personalities in the Italian cultural milieu. But the city also remember Bassani’s book, published 40 years ago. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is not a guide, is not a diary but is a complex and meticulous description of Ferrara: a milestone for the passengers, the tourists, the connoisseurs. The novel is a way for (of) decoding the city: is a bridge between private and public sight on what we call the “intra moenia”.2 A guide is both an element of selection and reduction: it directs and compels the traveler to take mandatory steps. Its ambiguous nature is underscored by its dual function: it is an archive of changes in urban scenery and because of its enormous influence; it has also become an engine of change. In this way The Garden of the Finzi-Continis could be considered a guide. The European history of modern city guides is based on a balance of values. The new as an epistemological category related to the idea of beauty and social prestige is initially banned, while the antique remains the guarantor of the concept of continuity. But a novel produces an historical short circuit where the sense of future is linked to the unfolding of the time himself.
The contribution compares the view of two authors toward their vision about the city: the measured view of Zevi versus the personal interpretation of Bassani. Working with Bassani’s archives, it will be possible to define the physical and perceptive image of the city: the writer’s romanticized point of view, a few years later Zevi’s contribution to promoting Ferrara as the first modern city.
We would like to investigate the relationship between the perception of the contemporary city and the homologate tourists and how this image has been modified by the books. The same landscape and geography will be investigated these years during Antonioni’s centenary.
1 Bruno Zevi, “Saper vedere la città”: Ferrara di Biagio Rossetti, «la prima città moderna europea», Einaudi, 1960.
2 Ferrara lives inside their ancient city wall.
Away at Home: Making and Breaking the Identity of the Home City through Contemporary Guidebooks
Home(land) is the necessary place from which one leaves for a journey and to which one hopes to return. The binary opposition between home and away offers home(land) as a fixed identity. This situation is more complicated in the case of city guidebooks which can be written for or intended to be read by the citizens of a particular city. According to these guidebooks the subject of curiosity is the production of an unfamiliar city, which is familiar at the same time the very city in which the reader lives. Guides promise to make the familiar unfamiliar. Here the problem is that the destination of the journey is already set: it is the home city. The guide provides knowledge of this home city before the journey, and so the departure and the destination become one and the same. This situation can fix the identity of the home city.
Unfixing dominant knowledges of urban topography and mobilizing practices of guidebook-writing and -reading may provide us new ways of understanding architectural and urban history. This requires rethinking the relation of travel and home. Feminist theories, which manifest an understanding of travel unfixes the identity of home, rather than trying to find an already set or lost identity. For example, film-maker and theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha refers to travel as a resistance against boundaries and determined identities, while travelling one redefines her/his self, home, and the places visited.1 Similarly feminist theorist Rosi Braidotti defines this kind of active tourist as a nomad, who has a sharpened sense of territory but no possessiveness about it.2 If we think of this in relation to guidebooks, then this may suggest we need to consider the tourist-writer and tourist-reader as active. Making their practice open and self-reflexive, new critical practices of guidebook-writing and -reading can suggest that travel creates new places and allows for the places of other readers.
In this paper, I will explore how traditional guidebooks for Istanbul create certain social and spatial positions for readers and authors, along with certain fixed images of Istanbul. Some 20th century Istanbul guidebooks, which will be explored here, turn citizens into tourists in order to reclaim their own city in a certain way imposed by these guidebooks, and turn immigrants and tourists into citizens in order to integrate them into the city life defined by the same guidebooks. But some other newly emerging guidebooks, I argue, question the relationship between the writer, guidebook, place, and reader. These new guidebooks suggest that the identities of place and subject are dynamic and can be reconstituted.
1 Trinh T. Minh-ha, 'Other Than Myself/My Other Self', George Robertson, et al. (eds.), Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 9-26, p. 9.
2 Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), p. 36.
Tuğba TANYERİ ERDEMİR
Archaeological Travels, Architectural Discoveries in the Ottoman Lands
The early practitioners of archaeology were adventurers, scholars, diplomats and collectors, who travelled extensively in the lands under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Their endeavours not only enriched the collections in Europe, but also helped define archaeology as a discipline through the systematization of its field methods. By the time of their discovery in the 19th century, ancient buildings had collapsed, crumbled and deteriorated, and were already buried under ground for centuries. Understanding how they were in antiquity, consequently, depended largely on the arduous fieldwork and meticulous recording of the archaeologist. Thus, the object of study for the art and architectural historians was made accessible physically and scholarly by these early travellers, and their initial observations on how and where architectural pieces were found was a crucial part of how these remains were later interpreted.
In this paper, I explore the ways in which archaeological travels and explorations in the Ottoman lands shaped, contributed and challenged the study and display of ancient architectural fragments. Did field-data generated by the early archaeologist-travellers have any effect in the processes through which these remains were interpreted? How were these fragments displayed in public and private venues? By looking at examples from the 19th and early 20th century excavations, I trace the evolution of field methods of archaeology and its impact on the study and display of ancient architectural remains.
What is Byzantine? Travelers in early 19th Century Morea (Peloponnese) and the Construction of Byzantine Architecture
The field of study and recording of the monuments of Byzantine Architecture saw by the end of the 19th century some major breakthroughs with the publication of essays on key Byzantine monuments like Saint Sophia in Istanbul or Hosios Loukas in Phokis. But in the beginning of the century the perception of what constituted Byzantine architecture as a distinct category of Medieval European architecture was much more fluid, if any at all.
The aim of this paper is to explore the ways that casual travelers and commissioned visitors in pre- and post-revolutionary Greece, and mainly Morea (Peloponnese), of the early 1800s interacted with medieval monuments and brought the western public, both trained and untrained, for the first time in contact with the meaning of Byzantine architecture.
Through different levels of early 19th c. narratives: travel, quasi-scientific and expeditionary, the European architectural historians that were already high on interest for western Medieval architecture and mainly Gothic were introduced to the standing monuments of what was then for the first time described as Byzantine or Medieval Greek. Spies in the pay of European or Ottoman regents, adventurous aristocrats, romantic revolutionaries, antiquarian philhellenes with an interest in the Greek uprise, or army officers and consultants travelled during the first decades of the 19th c. endlessly through the Morea writing about places they visited and saw. These vivid accounts, usually accompanied by drawings and anecdotal encounters, found their impact on the scholarship and imagination of French, German and English intellectuals, traceable from the architectural history handbooks of Albert Lenoir to the works of Goethe himself.