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Modern Management Methods: Architecture, Historical Value, and the Electromagnetic Image

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Modernists of the early twentieth century were transfixed by the X-ray—a means of seeing through skin into systems of bones and tissue. What, nearly a century later, can X-rays reveal about the systems of modernism itself? Modern Management Methods asks how the value of a building is produced through instruments of expertise, management ideologies, and historical narratives. Through unorthodox survey practices, the project uses the imaging techniques of conservation and the documentary detritus of heritage preservation to show how scientific methods attempt to produce stable notions of history and value. Deploying the medium of the X-ray, Caitlin Blanchfield and Farzin Lotfi-Jam tell two related histories of building conservation, internationalism, and the making of modernist meaning through the architect Le Corbusier’s building Stuttgart’s Weissenhofsiedlung and the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.