Microreview: Dialectic Diatribes on the New European Bauhaus / Imposing Normative Beauty? (2/3)

Microreview Bauhaus Gif1
Neb Images Backdrop3
"Co-designing the New European Bauhaus", image from the website of the New European Bauhaus project, https://europa.eu/new-european-bauhaus
Microreview Bauhaus 4
Date
2021 June
Subtitle
(Statler & Waldorf for) Anke Gruendel and Jamie Allen review the New European Bauhaus project in 3 parts
Type
microreview
Author / Publisher
Anke Gruendel and Jamie Allen for NewsLibrary
Author Info

Anke Gruendel holds a PhD in Politics from the New School for Social Research and currently is a research associate at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her current research investigates new forms of political rationality in public sector design that inform how theories of democracy and the political continue to be enacted and transformed in modern technical democracies.

Jamie Allen is occupied with the ways that technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. His work has been exhibited internationally, from the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin to the American Museum of Natural History in New York to the Nam June Paik Art Center in Korea. He teaches, lectures and leads workshops widely, engaging with and working to create collaborative contexts that acknowledge how care, attachment and love are central to knowledge practices like art and research. http://jamieallen.com/

Language

English

Also published here

Newsletter No. 35

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Reviewed Publication

New European Bauhaus

Part 2: Imposing Normative Beauty?

W: The main website (europa.eu/new-european-bauhaus/) features a simplistic childish aesthetic. You would think for an initiative like this, they would’ve hired slick designers who can actually, you know, design.

S: So where is the aesthetic coming from, then?

W: It might make sense to think about what the old European Bauhaus was. What does Wikipedia say?

S: So apparently the original Bauhaus was a “German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts. The school became famous for its approach to design, which attempted to unify the principles of mass production with individual artistic vision and strove to combine aesthetics with everyday function.” So German aesthetic and technical expertise to the rescue... haven't they tried that before?

W: Maybe the New European Bauhaus folks should have read Wikipedia first…

S: I thought ze Germans were no longer in the business of trying to impose strict forms of industrial modernism and vague normative values like “beauty” on the rest of the world.

W: Maybe they should have imposed some of that normative beauty when they designed their website

W: (maniacal laughter) Waaaahahahahahah!

S: (maniacal laughter) AAhhhh Hahahah Ha!