Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/35641
- Strategies against architecture: traces of deconstruction in the spatial interrogations of Einsturzende Neubauten
Ostwald, Michael J.
- The University of Newcastle. Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment
- The avant-garde architectural culture of the 1980s was dominated by the movement imperfectly described as deconstruction and celebrated in the 1988 MOMA exhibition “Deconstructivist Architects”. Drawing on the work of the French thinker Jacques Derrida, the aims of the architects collected in the exhibition, and many others of the era, was to destabilise architecture by dismantling accepted notions of space, structure and form. The tactics employed were invariably spatial in nature, involving fragmented, contorted and often violent forms that tore at the heart of the conventional urban landscape and the economic and political structures which underpinned it. While the architectural and spatial dimensions of deconstruction have been widely explored, the relationship between sound and architecture may provide an important connection for understanding the broader cultural project of deconstruction. In the 1980s, paralleling the evolution of deconstruction in architecture, Industrial music emerged as a violent and discordant cacophony of sounds drawn directly from the act of construction. Prescient in this art form were the avant-garde German band Einstürzende Neubauten who directly confronted the conservative values embodied in architecture through sound and music. The band’s name can be literally translated as “Collapsing New Buildings” and the three compilation albums of their work (documenting 20 years of output) are entitled “Strategies Against Architecture”. Extending greatly the project of deconstruction, the work of Einstüzende Neubauten uses the destruction of buildings to generate sounds that are then compiled as music. Using instruments such as jackhammers, power-drills and concrete mixers, the band physically attacks architecture and the social and political agendas it upholds. This paper will uncover the critical intersection between architecture and music that is embodied in the work of Einstürzende Neubauten. By examining their use of sound as an agent for deconstructing architecture, the paper will look at the critical and cultural dimensions of avantgarde music in the 1980s, its relationship to Derrida’s work and the broader project of deconstruction in architecture.
- Architecture, Music, Acoustics. Architecture, Music, Acoustics Proceedings (Toronto, Canada 8-10 June, 2006) p. 1-14
- Ryerson Embodied Architecture Lab
- Resource Type
- conference paper