Art-Based Investigation

Image of the sculpture Und Ihr habt doch gesiegt, 1988, by Hans Haacke after it was attacked. The project was part of the festival program of Steirischer Herbst 1988 called Bezugspunkte 38/88. Photo: Hans Haacke

Image of the sculpture Und Ihr habt doch gesiegt, 1988, by Hans Haacke after it was attacked. The project was part of the festival program of Steirischer Herbst 1988 called Bezugspunkte 38/88. Photo: Hans Haacke

 

ARCHIVES OF NATIONAL SOCIALIST PLANNING

“After 1945, for decades, like in many other cities, the building activities and architectural design in Graz during the National Socialist regime were not researched and assessed,” writes the historian Helmut Weismann in his seminal book “Bauen unterm Hakenkreuz” in 1989.1 The question remains, also today, what are the consequences of this lack of attention for life in the city as well as for the planning disciplines? What knowledge has been burried or lost? What planning ideas and institutional structures were carried on after 1945; and how are the spaces built during Nazi time incorporated into the city today, 80 years after the “Anschluss” (the incorporation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938)?

The department of city planning of the municipal authorities of Graz was established between 1938-45.2 At the same time, principle planning ideas for the city changed neither in 1938 nor in 1945.3 Given these facts, we will start out by looking into the rather invisible history of city planning and its possible continuities with ideas consolidated during the time of the Nazi regime. This concerns, for example, the legacies of the re-definition of the city’s borders and, related to it, ideas of a healthy life for the German “Volksgemeinschaft” in a green low-density city; but also considerations of warfare and the strategic location of the military industries; as well as the allocation of sites of labor and/or production within the city.

In the course of the seminar students will carry out a research project in close exchange with the entire group. The project will be informed by a contemporary discussion of fascist planning and supported by a basic introduction into methods of art based investigation. We will discuss anti-fascist, de-colonial, feminist research methods; look at examples of art based research projects that deal with spatial aspects of National Socialism and warfare; we will visit local archives such as that of the Stadtbauamt or that of the Technical University and talk to experts and activists.

1 Helmut Weihsmann, Bauen unterm Hakenkreuz. Architektur des Untergangs (Vienna: Promedia, 1998), 1068.

2 Weihsmann, 1070.

3 Weihsmann, 1068.

up