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Archive for August 3rd, 2006

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Just as I was getting a bit tired of this whole blog phenomenon, some good posts pull be back in:

K-punk eloquently sends us back to Virilio and his predictions that have come true.

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And a note to publishers: were Owen Hatherley given the opportunity to write and publish a book expanding on his series on modernism, I would wait by the mailbox for my copy to arrive. Here’s the start of his newest:

Of all the anti-modernist critiques that these pieces have been mocking and picking apart, there was one that stood out, not necessarily for its originality or surprise, but in eloquently putting across an old politico-aesthetic rivalry. The piece is by J.G Ballard, but states an objection that was made implicitly and explicitly by Dada’s mutation into the Surrealist International, regardless of the fact Tristan Tzara got Adolf Loos to design his house. The reassertion of the irrational by the dreaming wing of the artistic left, essentially, or more generally the psychoanalytic objection. Though Ballard isn’t as scathing as say, his hero Dali- who, on learning of Le Corbusier’s death in 1967 wrote derisively of a man who ‘wanted us to live in reinforced concrete when we’re sending men into space, who wants to build in reinforced concrete on the moon’ but nonetheless, amid some fairly pointless digressions on German military architecture, hits a few nails on the head.

Specifically- ‘I have always admired modernism and wish the whole of London could be rebuilt in the style of Michael Manser’s brilliant Heathrow Hilton. But I know that most people, myself included, find it difficult to be clear-eyed at all times and rise to the demands of a pure and unadorned geometry. Architecture supplies us with camoflage, and I regret that no-one could fall in love inside the Heathrow Hilton. By contrast, people are forever falling in love inside the Louvre and the National Gallery. All of us have our dreams to reassure us. Architecture is a stage set where we need to be at ease in order to perform. Fearing ourselves, we need our illusions to protect us, even if the protection takes the form of finials and cartouches, Corinthian columns and acanthus leaves. Modernism lacked mystery and emotion, was a little too frank about the limits of human nature.’

This last part will, then, try and imagine what happens to the libidinal imaginary when all this is stripped away, what happens without camoflage, and try to argue against this profoundly depressing suggestion that one can only fall in love in buildings of the 18th century- try to imagine instead love among the Siedlungen.

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August 3, 2006 at 1:02 am

Posted in blogs, modernism, war