Ina Blom

Straight-line sensibilities and the question of following.

22 January 2024

The proliferation of straight lines in 20th Century art andarchitecture is typically associated with rational and universalist procedures and perspectives, and with the rise of industrial cultureIn this lecture, which is based on my current book project, I will look at straight lines in moden art from a very different perspective. I will present a hidden genealogy of straight lines that all seem to evoke the complexities of sensory realities and capacities  and that are aesthetic through and through. These type of straight lines are all, in their various ways, related to the close interaction between bodies, and new media infrastructures – one of the major themes in 20th and 21st Century art. My hope is that you will never look at straight lines the same way again.

Required reading:

Endell, August, The Beauty of Form and Decorative Arts (first published in Dekorative Kunst I, Munich 1897-8, pp. 75-77), in Form and Function. A Sourcebook of the History of Architecture and Design, 1890-1939,  ed. Tim and Charlotte Benton (London: 1975), 20-26  

Berlant, Lauren: The Commons: Infrastructures for Troubling Times, Society and Space 2016, Vol. 34(3) 393–419

Lury, Cecilia,  et al., “Introduction: The Becoming Topological of Culture,” Theory, Culture & Society 29, no. 4–5 (July 2012): 3–35

Ina Blom is a professor at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo and Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History, University of Chicago. Her field of writing and research is 20th and 21st Century art, with a special emphasis on the relationship between art, media, technology and politics. Recent books include The Autobiography of Video. The Life and Times of a Memory Technology (New York, 2016), On the Style Site. Art, Sociality and Media Culture  (New York, 2007/2009) and Houses to Die In and Other Essays on Art. (London, 2022).She is also an art critic, contributing to Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, Parkett and Afterall, among others.