Silence and the Scream: Exposing Paul Virilio's humanism through the architecture of anti-form
LaHood, Heather Lynne
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This thesis traces the development of Paul Virilio's humanism and examines its ultimate expression in his architectural work from the mid-1960s. Born out of his firsthand experience as a `blitzkrieg baby' in occupied Nantes during World War II, Virilio's contempt toward the dehumanizing characteristics of total war and the perpetuation of `aesthetics of Auschwitz' fueled his resistance of architecture that contributed to the `disappearance' of the body in postwar aesthetic culture. His work in collaboration with the Architecture Principe group manifested this resistance through a `reprocessing' of his memories of surviving the devastation of his home and of his archeology of the `unoccupied' Atlantic Wall ruins. Virilio's exploration of anti-form, drawn from these experiences, was both a means of `working through' what he saw during the war and a prescription for an architectural environment that would call others to `face up' to painful memories of the past. His architecture as such demands to be discussed alongside Theodor Adorno's aesthetic theory; Virilio's work protests the silencing of `tortured bodies'. His humanistic approach to the organization of the built environment reveals a radical approach to representing and reversing the aesthetics of Auschwitz. His architecture, both inspired by and severely critical of aesthetic symbols of the Nazi reign, evokes the scream.
- Architecture