This talk introduces the “documentary” mode as a historical method. The documentary comprises not only the media or photography of a building, but rather a view that sees the building as a document itself. The material components of a building — plaster, stone, glass, wood, steel and concrete — and the systems within them — are sensors registering their environment, which is, of course, both political and natural. Adolf Loos’ essay on “plumbers” proposes a shift of architectural attention to the invisible. Plumbing is not only the unseen purely utilitarian infrastructure, the machinic core of a building, but a live giving force animating the dead matter of buildings by running water and gas through it. Plumbing thus emerges as the powerful secret organizer of social, cultural, political and economic logics that organize architectural use. New digital methods and technologies help us to explore the depth of the wall through a multiplicity of sensors, modes of detection and reading that go into the molecular level of matter and allow us to potentially uncover modernisms suppressed histories.
Ines Weizman (PhD.) is professor of architectural theory and director of the Bauhaus-Institute for History and Theory of Architecture and Planning at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. In 2015 she founded the Centre for Documentary Architecture (CDA). Among her numerous publications and exhibitions are the installation »Repeat Yourself.« Loos, Law and the Culture of the Copy that was presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012. In 2019 she will publish the edited book Dust & Data. Traces of the Bauhaus across 100 Years with Spector Books. Currently she is working on the exhibition of the CDA The Matter of Data. Tracing the Materiality of „Bauhaus Modernism” which will be shown in 2019 at the Bauhaus Museum Weimar and in Tel Aviv at the White City Center.