Visual Culture and the Urban Landscape

You are here

Course Information
Urban Studies
Art History
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 

This interdisciplinary course analyzes Berlin as a model case for the relations between urban planning, architecture, visual arts, politics and life style. Berlin's function as capital of six successive German states (Prussia, Second Empire, Weimar Republic, Third Reich, GDR, FRG) and cultural showcase of antagonist systems during the Cold War shaped the metropolis as well as the devastations of WW II and practical needs.

Under the conditions of globalization the tensions between a strong sense of public utility and personal profit are increasing. The city that attracts people and ideas from the East and from the West has many faces – most notably perceptible in art and architecture. The program will be focused on interdependencies between ideologies, aesthetical expression  and the city as a living space, integrating  historical  and contemporary aspects.

Excursions to Paris and St. Petersburg will provide a comparative perspective both on the question  how  these  three  cities  have  been  defined  by  their  cultural  and  built environments as a metropolis under specific conditions of a monarchy/dictatorship/democracy. Students will gain insight about the interaction between the levels of state controlled-/aided, commercial and subversive culture.

Beyond the main object of understanding – art and its role in the community – they also learn about the backgrounds of preservation and demolition of artistic relicts of the past.