Andrea Phillips on the 13rd Istanbul Biennial and art, protest, conflict and urban space
HENRI LEFEBVRE’S THEORIESof the everyday, of the city, of spaceare integral to our understanding of contemporary life and urban experience. Yet, remarkably, the full breadth of the late French philosopher’s thinking on the built environment was unknown until 2008, when scholar Łukasz Stanekrediscovered a forgotten manuscript penned by Lefebvre some forty years ago. A rethinking of the spaces and politics of leisure as much as a consideration of enchanting structures ranging from Roman baths to the Alhambra, that book-length study, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, will be published for the first time in May by the University of Minnesota Press. Here, Stanek introduces a sneak preview for Artforum, situating the “architecture of enjoyment” within the arc of Lefebvre’s groundbreaking oeuvre.
Interesting: Lefebvre rethinks the spaces and politics of leisure
”The grid is above all a conceptual speculation (…) indifferent to topography, to what exists beforehand (…) it claims the superiority of mental construction over reality. The plotting of its streets and blocks announces that the subjugation, if not obliteration, of nature is its true ambition.”
Rem Koolhaas Delirious New York, 1994, p. 20)
My Ph.D. dissertation is now (again) on the net for download. Unfortunately still in Danish.
This is what a democratic process entails: creating forms of subjectivation in the interval between two identities; creating cases of universality by playing on the double relation between the universal and the particular. Democracy cannot be predicated exclusively on the universality of the law, since that universality is privatized ceaselessly by the logic of governmental action. The universal has to be supplemented by forms of subjectivation and cases of verification that stymie the relentless privatization of public life.
Iakov Chernikhov, Giant plant of special purpose (1931).
Question: Is interactive art about a different kind or type of experiences compared to more traditional art forms?
Brian Massumi: “I personally don’t see how the question can be approached without returning to the question of form. And that requires reconnecting with aesthetics. That’s not a popular position in new media art. There is a widespread attitude that aesthetic categories belong to the past. Many people would say they just don’t apply, for the reasons you listed: interaction is two-way, it’s participatory, and it evokes a behavior rather than displaying a form. I’ve heard it said in no uncertain terms that form is dead. That we just can’t think or speak in those terms any more. It’s almost an injunction.
I don’t mean to say it’s not a serious question. It’s identifying a real problem. How do you speak of form when there is the kind of openness of outcome that you see in a lot of new media art, where participant response determines what exactly happens? When the artwork doesn’t exist, because each time that it operates the interaction produces a variation, and the variations are in principle infinite? When the artwork proliferates?
Or when it disseminates, as it does when the work is networked, so that the interaction is distributed in time and space and never ties back together in one particular form?
To begin with, you have to get past the idea that form is ever fixed, that there is any such thing as a stable form — even in traditional aesthetic practices like figurative painting, or even in something as mundane asdecorative motif. The idea that there is such a thing as fixed form is actually as much an assumption about perception as it is an assumption about art. It assumes that vision is not dynamic — that it is a passive, transparent registering of something that is just there, simply and inertly. If vision is stable, then to make art dynamic you have to add movement. But if vision is already dynamic, the question changes. It’s not an issue of movement or no movement. The movement is always there, in any case. So you have to make distinctions between kinds of movement, kinds of experiential dynamics, and then ask what difference they make.”
Brian Massumi in Semblance and Event pp. 39-40
"The building is a cynical and brutal monument to the city’s delusions of grandeur," says Wouter Vanstiphout, professor of design and politics at Delft university. “While Amsterdam is trying to fill its empty offices, Rotterdam is building more and more, but there’s no one to go in them. It is madness when there is 30% vacancy across the city – it follows the same logic as saying, ‘Let’s build houses, because we need more people.’”
From Oliver Wainwright’s well-written article ”Rem Koolhaas’s De Rotterdam: Cut and paste architecture” in the Guardian.
Well… isn’t the time of architecture over anyway? At least in an European context?
When a body “encounters” another body, or an idea another idea, it happens that the two relations sometimes combine to form a more powerful whole, and sometimes one decomposes the other, destroying the cohesion of its parts. And this is what is prodigious in the body and the mind alike, these sets of living parts that enter into composition with and decompose one another according to complex laws. The order of causes is therefore an order of composition and decomposition of relations, which infinitely affects all of nature. But as conscious beings, we never apprehend anything but the effects of these compositions and decompositions: we experience joy when a body encounters ours and enters into composition with it, and sadness when, on the contrary, a body or an idea threaten our own coherence.
Being fought over is what makes a political notion properly political as I see it, not the fact that it has multiple meanings. The political struggle is also the struggle for the appropriation of words. There is an old philosophical dream, which analytic philosophy still keeps alive, of defining the meanings of words with such perfection as to make ambiguity and multiple meanings vanish … but I think the struggle over words is important, and that it is normal for “democracy” to refer to different things in context.
"The Taksim Square Pedestrianization Project has brought the monuments of ‘roadside urbanization’ right into the heart of Istanbul."
Failed architecture and urban planning at Taksim Square in Istanbul.
thanks to @abasolo