Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Has Modernism Failed?

I have been reminded twice recently, once in a missive from Unit 12 at the Bartlett, and again from Metamodernists (whoever they are) in Preston, that 'modernism' has catastrophically failed. God knows why anybody is bothering to declare this, it's rather like saying apricots have failed whilst surrounded by apricots.
What is modernism and what do you define as failure? To say your world has failed is one thing (and sure that would seem correct on many levels) but thinking that an architectural project, a new proclamation on the part of architects, can do anything to ameliorate this is preposterous. More likely, as was proved with 'postmodernism' when architects attempt this they tend to get caught out as self aggrandising frauds supplicant to a bigger power play of fashion and trend.
Architecture has 'failed' necessarily in it's aspiration ever since the advent of the industrial revolution, since it's remit  was suddenly re-conditioned as preposterous (at least utopian) in itself, or if not preposterous at least absurd, or if not that then at least 'tragic' in consequence. Sometimes you have to laugh.
The idea that lots of new funny shapes doodled on the computer can somehow alter this unfortunate but all too real predicament is idiotic, further for a fresh approach to architecture to be deemed successful, it will surely have to be wrestling with a far broader range of processes than the visual to be seen (paradoxically) to be such a success.

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