Category Archives: Architecture

Award of the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017

ACIS  is very pleased to announce that the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017 has been awarded to Monique Webber (University of Melbourne) for her essay ‘”In Search of Universal Icons”: Interrogating the Superstar Phenomenon of Early Modern Art through the Photography of Jo-Anne Duggan’. It shows how Jo-Anne Duggan’s photographs – notably those in her exhibitions Before the Museum (2000-2002), Impossible Gaze (2002-2005), and Wondrous Possessions (2010) – explore the impact of the passage of time on the works of forgotten masters and the way we now reflect on them. The essay reveals how Jo-Anne’s approach to Renaissance artworks uncovers the complex marks of superstar culture, the dominant form of our contemporary engagement with art and often regarded as a distinctive symptom of the modern age.  We are also very pleased to give the Highly Commended award to Laelie Greenwood (Monash University) for her essay ‘Private Memory, Public Spaces: An Examination of Memory and Monument within Italian Immigrant Experience in Carlton’.  She analyses the architecture of Malbourne’s Carlton area, using Jo-Anne Duggan’s writings to explore the ways in which Italian-Australians developed a distinctive architectural style in their house facades and renovations to convey their enduring links to the country they had left.

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Sustainable Lina: the architecture of adaptive reuse

Lina Bo Bardi220px-masp_at_paulista_av_in_sa%cc%83o_paulo (1914-1992) was an Italian-born designer of buildings, furniture and jewelry. She trained in Milan with Carlo Pagani and Giò Ponti, working also for Domus and Milano Sera directed by Elio Vittorini. In 1946 she moved to Brazil where she became well-known for her modernist buildings, notably the São Paulo Museum of Art and the Glass House where she lived in the remains of the rainforest surrounding São Paulo. An analysis and appreciation of her work has recently been published under the title Sustainable Lina (Springer, 2016) edited by Annette Condello and Steffen Lehmann. It concentrates on the social dimensions of her adaptive reuse projects from the 1960s to the early 1990s, interpreting her themes, technical sources and design strategies for the creation of luxury as sustainability and pointing to the Italian influences on her approach.

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Site of Resistance: The Popular Piety of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato

 Shannon Gilmore   University of California, Santa Barbara

260px-Prato,_Santa_Maria_delle_CarceriThis summer I enjoyed a month-long sojourn in Florence to expand my dissertation project on Central Italian miraculous image cults established in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, specifically the cult of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato. My trip got off to a promising start: I had the good fortune to attend the special mass marking the anniversary of Santa Maria delle Carceri’s first miracle. I was immediately grateful that I had arrived early to snag a seat, as the interior of Giuliano da Sangallo’s church was bursting at the seams with the faithful whose eyes were fixed on the miraculous image of the Virgin and Child with Saints Leonard and Stephen (c. 1350) above the high altar. The cult’s continuing significance to the diocese of Prato was immediately evident as a television cameraman ducked in and out of the tightly packed crowd to capture a perfect shot of the bishop who proudly wore a vestment bearing a screen-printed copy of the Marian image.

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Ghost Towns, Awake! Futures for Italy’s Abandoned Settlements

Kristen Sloan   University of Wollongong

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Craco, Basilicata, Abandoned 1963

The increasing number and visibility of abandoned places throughout the world, coupled with a significant change in the way space is perceived in contemporary societies, has sparked a growing global conversation about re-using abandoned elements of the built environment. In the past ten years thousands of projects have emerged around the world that involve mapping and ‘re-purposing’ abandoned places, notably the ‘re-awakening’ of entirely deserted villages. Italy is of particular interest here. It has at least 5838 historically valuable ‘ghost towns’ of which 2831 are either completely abandoned or at serious risk of extinction. The loss for the former inhabitants and for the collective memory embodied in the lost communities is severe. Their requalification for contemporary use has become an urgent task.

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ACIS Cassamarca Scholarship Awards for 2015

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ACIS warmly congratulates Lisa Di Crescenzo (Monash University) and Kristen Sloan (University of Wollongong) on the award of ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for their research in Italy in 2015. Lisa’s research topic is a study of the letters of Luisa Donati Strozzi, written between 1471 and 1510 in exile from Florence in Ferrara,  to explore the consequences of exile for lineage identity and relationships. Kristen’s research concerns the analysis of the growing number of projects to reclaim and revive abandoned villages in Italy and to create new uses for old spaces while preserving the links with their past. As in 2013, the competition for the awards was very strong; the ACIS Scholarships Committee was again impressed by the very high quality and range of the applications and regrets that it could only make two awards.

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William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain (under Italian influence)

Sally Grant   New York

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Chiswick House with statue of Palladio © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth

Anyone heading to London in the next couple of months or so may want to check out the current exhibition being held at the V&A, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain. While the title itself doesn’t convey any obvious Italian links, like so many others who made the Grand Tour during the eighteenth century, Kent was very much influenced by the art and culture of Italy. This is especially thought-provoking here as the organisers present Kent, who was a painter, designer, and architect, as integral to the development of a style of art that reflected the ideals of a new, Georgian, British nation. (The exhibition is one of a number of events this year that celebrate the 300th year anniversary of the Hanoverian accession to the throne in 1714.)

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Palaces, skyscrapers, villas, follies ….. and six styles of architectural luxury

9781409433217.PPC_Layout 1Today luxury and its celebration are hardly confined to European élites and the American leisure class. Apart from the adornment of the body, the displays of luxury surround us most visibly in built and unbuilt environments. In The Architecture of Luxury (2014) Annette Condello focuses on a range of contexts in Italy and Western Europe, Latin America and the United States to trace the myths and applications of luxury in architecture, interiors and designed landscapes. Moving from antiquity to the modern era, she identifies six historical categories of luxury – Sybaritic, Lucullan, architectural excess, rustic, neoEuropean and modern – and relates them to their different historical periods and cultural contexts.

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Emotional geographies of Italian transnational spaces

Francesco Ricatti   University of the Sunshine Coast

CSR 19(2)The new issue of Cultural Studies Review (volume 19 issue 2) includes a section I have co-edited with Maurizio Marinelli on Emotional geographies of the uncanny: reinterpreting Italian transnational spaces. Our aim was to read transnational spaces constructed and inhabited by Italian migrants and settlers to Australasia as emotional spaces of uncanny perceptions, memories, narratives and identities. Drawing inspiration from the Freudian suggestions about the uncanny (das unheimliche), and later interpretations by Heiddeger, Derrida, Kristeva, Bhabha, Žižek, and Ahmed, we refer to the uncanny as the emotional reaction to something that is, at the same time, familiar and unfamiliar, homely and unhomely. The uncanny then becomes an aesthetic frame through which experiences of migration and colonialism can be read and interpreted. Continue reading

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Blogs we like #7

The latest issue of ReadingItaly, the blog of the Reading University postgraduate forum in Italian Studies, is devoted to Naples.cropped-logoscritte-univ-01 It contains a discussion of Naples as a ‘rainbow city’ (Lorenza Gianfrancesco, RHUL, who has a particular interest in academies, printing and publishing) alongide a piece on Naples as an ‘ordinary city ‘ (Nick Dines, Roma 3, whose recent book on Naples is entitled Tuff City). Stefano Bragato (Reading) relives the progressive rock scene in the city in the 1970s – an interesting discussion to set beside Mathias Stevenson’s recent post on Italian reggae and its local roots. And Thomas Denman (Reading), studying early 17th century Neapolitan art and involved in the Italian academies project described in an earlier post, signals several recent books, conferences and workshops devoted to aspects of early modern Naples.

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