The VIENNA PROJECT at Harvard University is a scholarly and creative undertaking devised and directed by Joseph Leo Koerner, Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard. At its center stands the production of an historical documentary film titled The Burning Child, which explores Vienna at the turn of the last century through the lens of home and homemaking. Investigating the Viennese interior in an architectural as well as psychological sense, the film captures utopias of home amidst the creative dynamism of an ancient imperial city in the process of rapid modernization. Viennese Modernism, in its many artistic, literary, intellectual, and musical facets, is illuminated by attempts on the part of the city’s most creative minds to create a home in a city deeply ruptured by violence and war.
Inherently collaborative in nature, the Vienna Project has profited in its initial stages from engaging conversations with scholars and students in the Harvard community as well as inspiring discussions with musicians, composers, and filmmakers. As a result of these fruitful exchanges, the Vienna Project has come to encompass lectures given by Joseph L. Koerner on the Viennese Interior, The Burning Child and the Family Portrait, as well as an undergraduate and graduate seminar on the Vienna Interior, which was taught in Spring 2012 and again in Spring 2013. An animated short of The Burning Child was specifically created for the Vienna Project by Academy-Award-nominated animator Tim Reckart and can be viewed on this website. The Vienna logo and various isotypes, which informed the design of this website and were originally created by the Viennese social scientist Otto Neurath and the German graphic designer Gerd Arntz, have been reproduced with the kind permission of the Gerd Arntz Estate.
The Vienna Project is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.