The Rise of Phaethon. An aerial travelogue to north-Africa in the interwar period
Keywords: 
Materias Investigacion::Arquitectura
Aerial photography
Aircraft
Cartography
Desert
Le Corbusier
Malraux
North Africa
Sheba
Zerzura
Issue Date: 
2016
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Navarra
ISBN: 
978-848081-519-2
Citation: 
Velasco-Pérez, Á., (2016) ""The Rise of Phaethon. An aerial travelogue to north-Africa in the interwar period"" En: Alcolea, R.A, Tárrago-Mingo, J., (eds.), en Congreso internacional: Inter photo arch ""Interferencias"", celebrado en Pamplona, los días 2 al 4 de Noviembre de 2016, (pp. 236-245)
Abstract
Despite being the traditional lens through which to understand architecture, modern history has eclipsed the bird’s eye by the car and the boat as architecture’s favourite machine. However, aerial photography supposed a tour de force in the technologies of Modernity, bringing legibility and empowerment into the ungraspable nineteenth-century metropolis. A vision for which Le Corbusier argued in his Aircraft. Paradoxically, the revelatory journey for Le Corbusier was not over the metropolis but over the desert. However, other author’s experiences of overflying the desert challenged the scientific logic associated to god-eyed airplane view. This paper explores the creative process set in motion by the shooting of the desert from an airplane, showing that high-technological means did not produce a direct process of modernisation but a more complex one in which the relations between positive science, technology, colonisation and the uncontrollable landscape were in an unstable equilibrium that reversed the conventions of aerial photography.
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