September 2017, VIII AISU Congress in Napoli, Italy

The VIII AISU Congress has as its theme the city as a travel destination throughout its long history: a basic human need, an event concerned with knowledge, education, business and trade and with military or religious conquests, but also related to exodus as a means of simply obtaining physical or spiritual salvation.

An ideal way to taste, to narrate, to represent or to enhance the city and its surroundings, to describe the landscape, to identify the monumental, urban and social poles that are useful for defining its identity in the context of inexorable transformations from ancient times to the contemporary world. The historic city will be investigated as a scene of artistic, literary production, as a place of the production of consumer goods related to travel, as well as in its more recent role as formidable attractor of a new cultural and touristic industry.

In the context of one of the most celebrated historical cities in the world, the cradle of Greek antiquity, myth and beauty, a timeless destination for both cultural and leisure travel, and today, more than ever, concerned with the conservation and development of its own identity, the conference will offer, in the tradition of AISU studies, a further opportunity for reflection and discussion between the various disciplines related to urban history.1 
Paper proposal should contain a title, a short abstract (max. 2000 characters) and a brief CV

  • 1. B2 Modernist travel in the past and the Mediterranean

    Out of curiosity, Grand Tourists, including architects, travelled to antique cities such as Pompeii and Paestum to experience ruins of unimaginable luxury first hand. And yet there is a gap in registering how the layered nature of antiquity informed modern architectural and urban discourse. In travel discourse, travel and luxury are inextricably linked. Conventionally, the modern movement is cast as disinterested in urban history. After the First World War, for instance, the Futurists and Milanese developers ventured to Italy’s south to refashion the antique Mediterranean landscape into conformity with their modernist vision. This was especially the case at Naples and the Isle of Capri. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, for example, believed in modernizing and accentuating Capri’s “cruel southern mountainous rocks” surrounded by cacti. Informing their voyages to Naples and Capri, modern European architects, particularly Le Corbusier, Josef Hoffman and Bernard Rudofsky, travelled in their writing as well as their sketches. At Naples, antiquity informed their versions of the modern landscape as new knowledge as exemplified by Luigi Cosenza and Bernard Rudofsky’s Villa Oro, a Thirties villa built at the Posillipo hill. This panel welcomes papers that explore architect’s voyages to the Mediterranean, especially the Bay of Naples and its neighboring islands, and the role of the modern landscape as a cultural resource of consumption, especially those that explore issues relating the function of antiquity within the formation of the urban landscape. Through the agency of travel, one focus of the panel will look at the practices of spatial production in the existing luxuriant topography, through the architecture and landscape architecture of Bernard Rudofsky, Le Corbusier, Gio Ponti, Maria Teresa Parpagliolo, Lina Bo Bardi, Louis Khan, Thomas Church or David Pacanowsky. For this session we also seek theoretical contributions about modern architects, such as Jose Luis Sert, Jose Antonio Coderch, Fernand Pouillon or Dimitri Pikionis, and their travels in the Mediterranean, particularly how their work transformed after 1930. Papers may focus on unearthing new conjectural implications of Mediterranean travel, drawings or writings, by tracing modernist influences in the broader cultural realm, in other parts of Southern Italy and Spain, Northern Africa, Greece or Turkey. Combining a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives to explore how the modern landscape offered new knowledge, its diverse urban histories are an important area of inquiry in the expanding field of cultural consumption, leisure and tourism.