The Myth of Venice

Sophia Psarra Professeur à The Bartlett School of Architecture de Londres tiendra une conférence sur place à l'EIREST sur le thème :
The Myth of Venice: Urban Transformations, Representations and the Politics of Survival

12 Decembre 2022, 15h Campus Lourcine, salle 109


Projecting itself as a perfect city in the 15th and 16th centuries, Venice played a key role in the development of Western political values, until Napoleon put an end to the Myth of the Serenissima. At the very moment of the end of this era, a second cycle of intense influences began as the railway and other 19th-century modernisations brought the artists and writers of the Grand Tour to Italy, revising interest in the ancient and Renaissance worlds. To the early 19th-century Romantic travellers, Venice was not only a beautiful city, but also a symbol of loss and labyrinthine decay, central to taste in the picturesque.
Transfigured into the distressed image of decadence and decrepitude, Venice’s Myth continued exercising influence over urban design and politics, becoming a central site for the European imagination. Since re-inventing itself as the quintessential place of the artistic and popular imagination, Venice developed into an arts city, a festival city, and a tourist city far and wide, threatened by environmental vulnerability and tourist monoculture. Addressing the intersection between the actual city and its representations in political discourse and literature, this lecture will explore what Venice can learn from its past in order to re-imagine itself as a vibrant and various city for the future.

Sophia Psarra is Professor at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL where she direct the Architectural and Urban History and Theory PhD programme. Her research focuses on spatial and urban morphology in relation to the histories of building and cities that have influenced their development alongside the social patterns of human activity. She is the author of The Venice Variations (UCL Press, 2018) exploring cities and buildings as multi-authored processes of formation alongside authored projects of individual design intention. Sophia has taught undergraduate/graduate studios and seminars at The Bartlett, University of Michigan (2005-2011), Cardiff University (1997-2004) and the University of Greenwich (1992-1997).

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