Ambivalent messages in the visual home culture education of the intermediaries in Belgian Flanders during the sixties and seventies
Faculty of Design Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
Proceedings of the 9th European Social Science History Conference, ESSH 2012, Glasgow University, Scotland, UK, 11-14 April 2012
In the 1920s the culture of advertising and mass media invaded architectural publications. Le Corbusier collected advertisements, business publicity, department store mail order brochures and clippings from newspapers of the time which he regularly incorporated in his publications. In his most important work Vers une Architecture (1923) for example, the image is as important as the text. Adopting the communicating practices of ads and publicity material, his publications seem not only to address avant-garde movements, but also the masses. In Privacy and Publicity (1996) Beatriz Colomina argues that photographs of architecture, including interiors, more likely acted as a mask instead of showing a real building or interior. While ads and other popular drawings were used in architectural publications, the opposite also occurred. Commercial women magazines and journals of sociocultural intermediary organizations in Belgian Flanders employed for their home culture education representation techniques used by architects, such as plans, sketches, perspective drawings and architectural photographs. Especially in the post war period, a visually well documented column about model houses and matters domestic was important to let the readers imagine a fine home. However, depending on the supplier of the image and its place in the journal, the ideal home as well as the aim of the image could differ. On some occasions photographs acted as a certain mask of the real interior, on others they did not. This paper aims to investigate how the intermediaries mediated modern domesticity through photographs and other visual material during the sixties and seventies.