You are cordially invited to attend
the Dissertation Proposal Defense of Tairan An
The Architectural Erratic:
Anomalies, Anachronisms, and other Instabilities of Nineteenth-century Italy
To be held on
Monday, January 25, 2021
11:00 a.m. EST on Zoom
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
Abstract: With carefully selected case studies from nineteenth-century Italy, this dissertation contributes to the destabilization of conventional architectural historiographies in ways that have been informed by the slow yet steady substitution of teleologies with the less straightforward temporalities of the earth. Geologists use the word “erratic” to characterize detached blocks of rock transported to alien places by the glacial movements of a distant past. This dissertation propels the concept of the erratic to disengage from its glaciological association and let it drift southward. It puts forward the idea of the architectural erratic to indicate the spatial and temporal instabilities induced by seismic, volcanic, fluvial, and arboreal processes, threading a way from the errata to the erratic, that is, from the use and abuse of books as (unsuccessful) stabilizers of architectural knowledge to the more fluid and unpredictable terrestrial agents and their architectural mediations. As demonstrations, the case studies assimilate the anomalous movements at issue, and adopt the notion of temporal instability as a historiographical postulate. The dissertation has recourse to nineteenth-century Italy—where historicism pervaded and the “backwardness” of the south was problematized—as a testing ground for an anachronistic architectural historiography.
Sylvia Lavin (advisor)
Kurt W. Forster
Alexander Nagel, Craig Hugh Smyth Professor of Fine Arts, The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Philip Ursprung, Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, The Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zürich