CFP: Beyond the gaze. Interpreting and understanding the city

AISU | Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana
11th AISU Conference, September 13-16 2023, at Ferrara (Italy)
Session 6.9: Restoration and Imago Urbis. Analogue and Digital Visions and Representations of the Urban Image between the 20th and 21st Centuries

Coordinators: Leila Signorelli (University of Bologna), Mariarosaria Villani (University of Naples Federico II), Giulia Favaretto (University of Bologna)

The image of the city and its representation constitute a central node in the debate on restoration in the 20th century, in relation to both the rapid transformations and the salient events that led to a deep reorganisation of the urban centres up to the 21st century. The debate on the relationship between Ancient and New in the “old cities”, following on from Giovannoni’s theories, but also the previous prefigurations – dictated by the principles of isolation of monuments during the Fascist regime – destined to redesign the face of Italy’s historic centres, initiated a phase of fervent production of “city visions” that, through competitions, exhibitions and design and planning experiences, returned a complex and articulated framework of the cultural confrontation of the period on the topic. Querelle that was accentuated after the Second World War, with often mutually antithetical positions on reconstruction – just think of the iconic debate between Berenson and Bandinelli on how to reconfigure or „not“ reconstruct the lost image of Florence – highlighting the centrality of the theme of the preservation of the urban context, or of the monument, received by the 1964 Venice Charter and then arrived at today. In an excursus modifying methods and techniques of transmission, vision and representation of the heritage and historic urban contexts, from the design views of the restorers of the 1930s, who analogically enlivened their ideas of the city and new insertions in the existing, up to the contemporary works of lightscape, soundscape and mapping, using digital tools, it is possible to retrace and interpret the evolution of the urban image from the 20th century to the present day.

Starting from these premises, the session intends to explore experiences and projects that, within the framework of restoration and the instances of conservation and valorisation, contributed to the definition or redefinition of the urban image with both analogical means, through views of realised or utopian projects, and innovative approaches oriented towards the employment of digital tools.


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