This conference sets out to expand our existing understanding of the ‘modern interior’, and the relationship (and possible tensions) between the concepts of modernity and modernism as manifested in the design of the interior. As the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’ of buildings were so inextricably linked within the modernist vision, papers are invited from a wide range of disciplines, including design, architectural and urban historians.
What is ‘the modern interior’? Situated either in private or public buildings, it is, arguably, not necessarily restricted to the work of reforming, modernist architects who extended their work into this arena. Nor need it be limited to other, more popular, spaces constructed in a range of overtly modern styles – including the modernistic, streamlined moderne and contemporary - which took their lead from modern architects and designers. This conference will investigate the phenomenon of the modern interior in its broadest sense, including interiors designed and produced from 1870-1970 (by professionals or amateurs) which do not necessarily look modern but which can be seen as a response to (or contributing to) what we think of as the key features of ‘modern life’. These features may include a progressive use of technology; an overt relationship with the mass media; an emphasis on ‘modern’ individualism; the construction of modern cultural identities, determined by gender, class, race, sexuality or a sense of nationhood; the modern experiences of urban and suburban life; and the concept of modern ‘interiority’.
Inevitably the conference will address the question of whose modernity was being expressed in the interiors of this period, as well as that of how expressions of modernity were achieved and experienced. It is hoped to explore these questions from both a theoretical and a practical perspective, considering cultural theories and critiques of modernity which locate the interior as an important component of modern life as well as analyses of actual and/or represented interiors and of their creators and users.
The conference will be the first of many activities organised by (and will be the occasion of the launch of) the Faculty of Art, Design & Music’s exciting new project, The Centre for the Study of the Design of the Modern Interior.
Abstracts of 300 words, accompanied by a short bibliography and brief curriculum vitae, should be submitted by Wednesday 5th January 2005.
Brenda Martin, Faculty of Art, Design & Music, Kingston University, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3RN Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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