Accepted paper:

Modern furniture, still lives and daydream: unfolding the domestic universe of Nuevo Estilo


Romina Magdalena Colombo (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED))

Paper short abstract:

Our aim is to approach the first decade of the magazine Nuevo Estilo from a cultural history perspective. Combining interviews to contributors and readers with archive work, we try to unfold the multiple layers of meaning and practice underlying the shifts in modern dwelling’s structures of feeling.

Paper long abstract:

From its birth in 1977, the Spanish décor magazine Nuevo Estilo wound very different professionals in a heterogeneous yet coherent yarn of home-making "experts". Decorators, textile specialists, gardeners, furniture retailers, architects and restorers, among others, were brought together to weave the wickers of the "new" -as the title itself stated- in matters of domestic culture as a (narrated and practiced) whole. It offered a representation of the house and the life within, both in their materiality and performativity. But this status (that of a representation) has somehow rendered opaque its very nature of cultural object, inscribed in production and reception dialectics. An approach from cultural history and ethnography, based on archive work and interviews both to contributors and readers, is revealing overlapped layers of unexpected meaning and practice articulated by the magazine. The one corresponding to the exhorted or exorcized ways of knowing and enacting modern dwelling, with its textual and visual rhetorics: the level of discourse so to say. The one of its production, where we find with perplexity that many contributors were not concerned about "decoration" at first instance, but rather about "still lives", for they were committed with the image, not the space (of home). The layer of its reception, where the empiric audience remits to a reading which, far beyond of collecting ideas for decorating, accounts dimensions of pleasure and pain deeply embedded in the sensory and symbolic experience of domestic life and the intimate sphere.

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