The Poetics of Infrastructure

PD Dr. Erik Wegerhoff

Infrastructure buildings are astoundingly absent from conventional histories of architecture. Of huge dimensions, expensive, often politically charged, yet fundamental for the functioning of society and economics, so far they enjoy but a marginal role in the historiography of architecture. In other art forms, however, infrastructural buildings have inspired entire genres – most famously the road novel and the road movie. The research project takes this discrepancy as a starting point, asking what literature, photography, film and music may have to say about infrastructural buildings which architecture, when bound to its traditional terms, cannot. A particular interest lies in the perspectives of users, aspects of unintended use, failure and decay, in order to go beyond, and challenge, established academic interpretations of infrastructure as manifestations of authoritarian power. The aim is to build up, and acquire funding for, a comprehensive interdisciplinary research project.

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