Research

  • Thomas Struth's Urban Matrix
  • GRANTEE
    Nana Last
    GRANT YEAR
    2009

Photograph Thomas Struth.

The project takes the contemporary German artist/photographer Thomas Struth's four well-known photographic series as the basis of a digital artwork/urban matrix that is part written theoretical analysis and part visual artwork. Following this research and development phase, the project will be presented as a public exhibition and accompanying book. Struth's series began in the late 1970's with his famed cityscapes, and continued over the next three decades with his museum, portrait, and landscape photographs. The temporal distance, however, between the first and last series beg a new, computer-based, three-dimensional matrix format capable of making manifest the underlying urban structures and latent constructs that emerge at the intersections made apparent by reading each series in light of the others. The resultant set of constructs rethink the social construction of such relational pairs as global/regional, historical/contemporary, nature/culture, and cities/landscapes to produce a generative model for urban thought.

Nana Last is associate professor at the University of Virginia's School of Architecture, where she teaches architecture theory and design. She received a PhD in architecture and art history, theory, and criticism from MIT, an MArch from Harvard University, and a BA in philosophy and art criticism from Carnegie-Mellon University. She has published essays in journals including Any, Assemblage, Harvard Design Magazine, Thresholds, Praxis, and Art Journal. Her work is published in anthologies including Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985. Her books include Wittgenstein's House: Language, Space and Architecture (Fordham University Press, 2008) and the coauthored and cocurated exhibition catalog Paradox and Practice: Architecture in the Wake of Conceptualism. She has received a Getty Library Research Grant and a Wheelwright Fellowship. She is currently completing a book on the work of Thomas Struth and writing on the topic of fluidity.