Brigitte Sölch. Idealized (Architectural) Histories. The Forum and the Utopian Visions of the Public

Garage 6th International Conference. To Which Time Do We Belong? The New Historicity and The Politics of Time
26 October 2018


Brigitte Sölch will discuss why the ancient concepts of Forum and Agora are still part of the imagination of the public and political dimension of urban space, and that there needs to be a critical historical reflection in order to judge and activate their utopian potential for the present.

It is astonishing and impressive at the same time how Forum and Agora have shaped the (Western) idea of the city, its public spaces and political constitution for over 2000 years. Even in the present, this idea is still alive—both in terms of the historic past of the city and its possible future. Even the internet forum was linked to this vision, which means to the idea of democratic space creation, communication, and participation. How did that happen? In other words, what role did the post-war-period play in the formation of this particular notion of Forum and Agora? And what could it be in terms of utopian potential if we critically consider the processes of their historical appropriation and regard Forum and Agora as a central problem rather than a solution?



Brigitte Sölch is a Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Design at Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. She is also a scientific collaborator and co-leader of the projects Piazza and Monumento and Ethics and Architecture at the Kunsthistorisches Institut (Florence). Her current research focuses on questions of the political and intellectual dimension of public space and the city. She is author of the book Francesco Bianchini (1662-1729) und die Anfänge öffentlicher Museen in Rom (Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2007), which received Premio Federico Zeri Award in Rome.

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