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Doubling: “italy, the new domestic landscape” as a historical project

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2009
Mutlu Tunca, Gülru
Italian architectural historian and critic, Manfredo Tafuri, with his seminal book Theories and History of Architecture, issued in 1968, started a new era in the architectural discourse. With his eminent theorization of “architecture as the critique of ideology,” Tafuri had shifted the critique of architecture to a political and Marxist level and this revolutionary understanding had absolute impacts on the institutionalization of the American critical discourse after 1968. This study is a historical criticism of the said intellectual interaction that examines the related theoretical transformations in discourse through specific publications, exhibitions, and symposiums. The 1972 MoMA exhibition, entitled Italy: The New Domestic Landscape (INDL) was a singular “case” in this examination since the first encounter of American intellectuals with the English translation of Tafuri’s text, introducing a historical language, was through its catalog. Assigning the exhibition as a “moment of crisis” that had critical determining value for the comprehension of the entire sequence, this study attempts to reveal its significance, by analyzing the INDL catalog with a Tafurian methodology. In its entirety, the present study is a historical criticism of a sequence, which, however, does not refer to a linear flow of time. It is the “project of crises” in that particular sequence, a “historical project” in Tafurian sense. The project begins with the “doubling” of the INDL catalog. It recomposes the process into autonomous narratives, and then establishes an analytical relationship between those and Italophile inclinations in related texts, published in the periodical Oppositions between 1974 and 1984.