Concordia celebrates the 100th anniversary of German design school Bauhaus
It’s been 100 years since the founding of Bauhaus, the legendary German art and design school. From November 5 to 14, Concordia’s Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology will be in full Bauhaus mode for its milieuXbauhaus Festival, in honour of the anniversary.
Milieux's graduate student researchers, much like the Bauhaus students of a century ago, are interested in the fundamental engagements between art, technology, culture and design. The milieuXbauhaus Festival takes Bauhaus as inspiration, motivation and means of reflection for thinking across disciplines through material practice.
The program features workshops, screenings, talks, an open house, parties and performances by graduate students and faculty members of Milieux, as well as talks by visiting scholars. The Goethe Institute, SENSEFACTORY and the Canadian Embassy in Berlin are community partners in producing this cross-disciplinary celebration.
Milieux’s director, Bart Simon, believes that the institute is the perfect place to contemplate the lasting influence of the Bauhaus, because it operates in the same hopeful and collaborative spirit.
“milieuXbauhaus is an opportunity to experience the unique research culture of Milieux distilled into 10 days, through the lens of Bauhaus,” he says.
The festival invites visitors not just to learn more about Bauhaus, but to experience Milieux’s distinct interpretation of the school and movement’s lasting lessons.
The relevance of Bauhaus today
There’s a lot more to Bauhaus than design. The school situated itself as an ideological safe haven for progressive values in an era of growing nationalism during the interwar period. The Bauhaus’s initial manifestation as a school ultimately evolved into a revolutionary movement based on ideological principles that resonate today.
Bauhausers engaged with questions about human relationships with machines, how design can influence society and the necessary entanglements between cultural conditions and art. These are questions that today’s artists and creators continue to ask, as technology’s role in daily life becomes increasingly deterministic.
In the month leading up to the festival, a group of Milieux students are participating in a research studio on the work and legacy of the artist/photographer/researcher László Moholy-Nagy. One of the central figures in the Bauhaus movement, Moholy-Nagy was an influential thinker in the area of art and technology as factors in social progress.
The research studio seeks to create a new body of knowledge around two of Moholy-Nagy’s influential writings, The New Vision and Vision in Motion. The resulting artworks, prototypes, models, sketches and concepts will be on display during the festival.
Here’s a small sampling of some of the milieuXbauhaus programming:
- Elizabeth Otto, associate professor of art history and visual studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, will present “Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities and Radical Politics.”
- Oliver Botar, professor at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, will present “Sensory Derangement or Training the Senses for Modernity: The Art of Ilinx and the European Avant-Garde.”
- Pierre-Marc Ouellette, of Milieux’s Performing Arts Research Cluster (LePARC), will present a performance and interaction called “Danses Kaleidoscopiques.”
- Hilary Bergen, of Milieux’s Media History Research Cluster, will discuss how Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet, an iconic dance piece created and performed at the Bauhaus, is a precursor to digital motion capture choreographies.
- Anna Eyler, of Milieux’s Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster, will present “Run of the Mill,” a workshop in which participants will learn to design and embroider their own continuous line drawings using the digital thread placement machine at Milieux. In the spirit of the Bauhaus weaving workshop, the designs will be stitched together in a collaborative textile for display at the festival’s closing party.
The full milieuXbauhaus festival program can be found at milieux.concordia.ca. All events are free and open to the public.