Notes on the Crisis of Historical Consciousness and Formal Knowledge

McEwan, Cameron orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0683-1708 (2018) Notes on the Crisis of Historical Consciousness and Formal Knowledge. InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture, 28 .

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A series of collage studies and an accompanying critical text approach the notion of crisis through a reading of what the architectural historian Manfredo Tafuri has called the “project of a crisis.” For Tafuri, crisis was etymologically linked with the political category of decision (de-cision, to de-cide, to de-fine), which shares the prefix de- from the Latin for “off” meaning “to cut off” or to separate and isolate. These ideas are given political and methodological significance in Tafuri’s work as he constructed a project from the fragments of the historical avant-garde and theorized the relationship between architectural and political ideology, between critical thought and agency. Cutting, separating, isolating, joining together of material, are operations in the construction of a collage or montage. The collages in “Notes on the Crisis of Historical Consciousness and Formal Knowledge” take Tafuri’s statement on the project of a crisis as a point of departure. They operate on the historical and formal knowledge of architecture, combining and recombining elements and forms. They examine conventions of authorship, predictability, composition, and the relationship between thought and image, reflective and projective operations. History, knowledge and thought are put into crisis toward a possible remontage.

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