Neighbours: Lectures on History & Theory of Architecture. Vol.2. Lecture 5 / THEMA, TPOD, ACHT, HITAM


Event details

Date 06.12.2023
Hour 12:3013:30
Speaker Davide Spina
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
The Politics of the Screen by Davide Spina

Screens have always been with us. Think of paintings, photographs, projection screens, and, more recently, laptops and smartphones. These objects have had a profound impact on our everyday life and are likely to continue doing so. This talk will examine a specific moment in the long affair between humans and screens, namely, the proliferation of television sets in the 1980s and its architectural manifestations. Throughout this decade, commercial television saw a boom across the Global North, with architecture playing a key role in this phenomenon as both the content of the medium (set designs) and its infrastructure (broadcasting studios, pop-up studios, and antennas). Moreover, television at this time became a driver for architectural change, shaping the design and experience of domestic and public space. All of this was manifestly in evidence in 1980s Milan, where the rise of a particularly aggressive form of commercial television (Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset) and the presence of a vibrant architectural scene created a new epistemological space for the flourishing of postmodern positions about politics and the self. This talk will examine the architecture of television in 1980s Milan with a specific focus on its political aspects and consequences. 

Davide is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich, where he also received his doctorate. In January 2024, he will start as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. His areas of expertise are real estate development, construction history, labour, the history of technology, and methods in architectural history. His PhD thesis examined the post-war activities of the Vatican-controlled real estate developer and contractor SGI. The thesis won three dissertation prizes (from ETH, Munich’s Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, and the Society of Architectural Historians) and will come out as a book via MIT Press in Spring 2025. Since 2020, he has been co-organizing DocTalks, an international online platform for early-stage researchers in architectural history and theory. Davide has received funding from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Swiss Institutes in Rome and Milan, the Swiss National Science Fund, the JM Kaplan Fund, the Gill Family Foundation, and the Graham Foundation. In 2017, he was a Visiting PhD Scholar at the Columbia GSAPP. He regularly presents his research at international conferences, including those of the Society of Architectural Historians and the European Architectural History Network. Some of his essays have appeared in Architectural History (2022), AA Files (2014, 2016, and 2017), Log (2022), and gta Papers (2020).

A lecture series by invited speakers in the field of History and Theory of Architecture organised jointly by Sarah Nichols (THEMA), Pier Vittorio Aureli (TPOD), Christophe van Gerrewey (ACHT), Alfredo Thiermann (HITAM).

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



Event broadcasted in