The independent group: mere aesthetic or socially driven

Horton, Katherine (2009) The independent group: mere aesthetic or socially driven. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Britain, shattered by war and a period of reconstruction that lasted well in the 1950's, looked towards an affluent and fruitful future dominated by American contemporary mass culture. While it is widely documented that the American consumer lifestyle was a key source of inspiration for the Independent Group, this study will argue that their focus extended further to domestic issues and can be read as a commentary on the state of British Culture. This dissertation will explore the extent to which the Independent Group, through Architecture and Art Form, respectively argued against the loss of community and the perceived role of women in Post-War Britain. This dissertation will give a brief historic overview of the state of 1950's Britain highlighting the problems in post-war society in terms of the dissolution of social values and community networks, the change in perception of the female role and how all this foreshadowed the consumer age. Ultimately the aim of this dissertation is to discuss the work of individuals from the Independent Group in a social and environmental framework and not merely in terms of their interest in mass culture. Specific focus will be on the architectural designs of Alison and Peter Smithson and the images produced by community photographer Nigel Henderson, how their work spoke out against and produced solutions to the changes caused by post-war redevelopment and the subsequent loss of 'kinship' networks and community spirit. By analysing the artwork of Richard Hamilton and his interest in the influence of American culture and the media, this dissertation will then discuss whether there was a change in the perceived role of women due to the developing consumer lifestyle and the re-evaluation of the extended family unit. In conclusion, did the Independent Group promote or warn against the negative effects of consumerism and Americanisation in post-war Britain. Was their contribution merely aesthetic or socially driven? Can a consumer lifestyle be socially and environmentally beneficial?

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > Portsmouth School of Architecture
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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