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Manfredo Tafuri, Fredric Jameson

Manfredo Tafuri, Fredric Jameson

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Published by: Ross Wolfe on Sep 05, 2012
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© Konnkjke Br NV, Leden,  DOI: 10.1163/156920612X631099
 Historical Materialism 20.1
Manfredo Tafuri, Fredric Jameson and the Contestationsof Political Memory 
Gail Day 
Unversty o Leedsg.a.day@eeds.ac.uk 
The Itaan archtectura hstoran Manredo Taur (–) deveoped a dstnctve Marxstapproach o crtca anayss, whch has prompted extensve responses. The recepton o hs work n the Unted States n the s and s – the nterventon o Fredrc Jameson, especay – ormsan mportant moment o hstorographca mutaton, n whch the status o Taur’s potcs hodsan ntrgung pace: t was evscerated n the very act o ts afirmaton. At stake s not smpy theprobems attendng the transatantc mgraton o a body o archtectura theory, but aso aqueston yng at the heart o Taur’s anayss: the probems o achevng soca reorms, above a,n ‘workng-cass housng’. The dficutes encountered by projects to mprove accommodaton –rom Wemar Germany and Red Venna n the s to the programmes o postwar Itay – provdethe concrete matera or Taur’s anayss whe remanng a sgnicant bnd-spot wthn most o the commentary. Taur s here reapprased n the ght o the potca debates over the ‘neoreastarchtecture’ o the s and the reorm-poces o the Itaan centre-Let n the eary s.Proceedng as  ths ormatve moment never happened, Taur’s crtcs oten engage n debates whch conuse hs crtque o the budng projects wth potca despar, and whch appea toencave-budng despte Taur’s expct questonng o such strateges.
Manredo Taur, Fredrc Jameson, Vence Schoo, archtecture, urbansm, housng, LudovcoQuaron, neoreasm, Tburtno, Red Venna, Austromarxsm, Kar Marx-Ho, Wemar, encave,memory, workersm,
, Revsons group
. Manfredo Tafuri
From , unt hs death n , Manredo Taur taught hstory o archtectureat the Insttuto Unverstaro d Archtettura d Veneza. At the oreront o modern archtectura practce, IUAV was aready an estabshment o some
. For ther crtca nput on earer versons o ths essay, my thanks go especay to Andrew Hemngway, Steve Edwards, Aex Potts, coeagues n the Department o Art Hstory at theUnversty o Mchgan and organsers o the Unversty o Brghton seres ‘Potcs Phosophy 
G. Day / Historical Materialism 20.1
dstncton and a ‘stronghod o progressve actvty’ due ntay to the presenceo Guseppe Samonà and, ater, o other nluenta archtects such as Caro Aymonno and Ado Ross. Today, however, ausons to ‘the Vence Schoo’generay reer to Taur and hs assocates n the Dpartmento d AnasCrtca e Storca de’Archtettura and then the Isttuto d Stora de’Archtettura, whch he ounded. In addton to hs own theoretca contrbutons, he payedan mportant rôe n hepng to cohere a sgnicant group o schoars andnteectuas who set out to use Marxst anayss – broady ramed by thepotcs o the New Let and what mght be understood as an extended, andmtant, Western Marxsm – to address the hstory (and uture) o archtectureand urbansm. Taur poneered coaboratve research-projects on suchthemes as: the emergence o the Amercan cty, wth Gorgo Cucc, FrancescoDa Có, and Maro Maner-Ea; on the exodus o Wemar soca-democratcarchtects and panners to the USSR, where they worked on constructonsassocated wth the irst Fve-Year Pan, wth Da Có, Cucc, Marco de Mches,and Bruno Cassett; and, wth Paoo Pva and Aredo Passer, on the Austro-Marxst housng projects o Red Venna.4 Hs own work was wde-rangng, wthnterests spannng rom the Renassance to contemporary archtecture. Heprovded one o the most sgnicant theores o the avant-garde and captastmodernty, and consdered archtectura practce – past and present – n thecontext o the ncreased soceta tendences towards abstracton and reicaton.Taur’s deas crystased n the context o debates on postwar reconstructon,the repercussons o the ‘economc mrace’ and the dsuson wth the poceso the Chrstan Democrats and, especay, the Let’s dsenchantment wth thecentre-Let government n the eary s. The debates o the Itaan socast andcommunst Let, and the nterna chaenges mounted by the ormaton knownas
, provded the more mmedate ramework.Taur’s wrtngs were dssemnated wthn the Engsh-speakng word nthe s and s. Ths essay consders, n partcuar, how Taur’s trenchant
 Aesthetcs’. The anonymous readers or
 Historical Materialism
have prompted urther revsonsand orced caricatons, or whch I am very grateu.. Taur b, p. .. Accordngy, Per Vttoro Aure preers to dstngush an earer ‘Vence Group’ rom theTaur-assocated ‘Vence Schoo’ (Aure ).. See Cucc, Da Có, Maner-Ea and Taur  (orgnay pubshed as Cucc, Da Có,Maner-Ea and Taur ) and Taur (ed.) . Taur returned to these subjects n
 Modern Architecture
(Da Có and Taur , a, b) – see especay ‘The Attempts at Urban Reormn Europe between the Wars’ – and n
The Sphere and the Labyrinth
(Taur ; orgnay pubshed as Taur a). See aso Cohen, De Mches and Taur ; Taur b; Taur (ed.).. Taur b (irst pubshed n Itaan n ).
G. Day / Historical Materialism 20.1
Marxst crtque o archtecture and soca transormaton was made over or,and by, a specic angophone context: prncpay, those sectons o the Amercan bera academy nspred by the New Let (wthn whch Fredrc Jameson’s msrecognton o Taur’s project w prove to be centra). Addressng modern archtectura hstorography and how an mportantcomponent o t was deveoped and extended wthn the wder nteectuaramework o crtca cutura theory – my emphass w be on the nscrptonsand erasures o soca process. It s the reatonshp between soca process andmemory n whch I am nterested, and what mght be understood as aburcaton between the orm and content o soca process n hstorography –or the abstractng o ts orms rom ts contents. Ths process o abstracton s,o course, not one-dmensona; t s smutaneousy a concretsaton o thematera n queston wthn a new context, n order to answer new potcaneeds. Nevertheess, recognsng these transormatons s vta or understandng what happens to the processes whch, n shorthand, are reerred to as ‘’.In the context o crtcsng the hstorca assessments o the French May nthe approach to ts twenteth annversary, Corneus Castorads noted thatcams to descrbe ‘ ’ thought’ were, n act, better understood as ’thought’. The sht addressed n ths essay has a smar tempora ramework,but the transton s not predcated on the same sort o hstorca and potcadsodgement. Unke the targets envsaged by Castorads, and by Krstn Rossn her book on the embeddng o the ‘memory and amnesa’ o May, the prmary actors n my story do not ntend to reigure  as an evscerated ‘cutura’myth whch descrbes the sprtua growng-pans o a ‘generaton’ n thercountry’s transton rom authortaran to bera inancer-state.7 I consderhow an argument aready normed by a set o potca memores andexperences was reworked and dsnvested o ts motvatng mpuse, not by those who woud seek to bury t but, on the contrary, by those who beevedthey were contnung the same broad crtca project, who stuated themsevesas among the staunchest crtcs o ther own cuture, and who ooked to ormso Itaan Marxsm deveoped through the s and s to hep marsha therarguments; ther aspratons were to preserve, extend and draw out a potcaproject. Instructve or understandng what happens n the nternatonadssemnaton o ‘’ s the depoyment o the resources o crtca theory andMarxsm, ieds to whch the students and worker-nteectuas o the tmeappeaed, and whch they studed and reapprased. By ocusng on the case o Taur’s recepton n the Unted States, we can track how tensons and
. Corneus Castorads cted n Ross , p. .. Ross .

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