Monday, 30 December 2013
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Not only at Christmas are we victims of a campaign of mass hypnosis. Fifteen percent of families will be taking out loans they can undoubtedly not afford for Christmas. That is one horrendous statistic, (especially if those loans are taken out with pay-day loan companies) but what people are generally buying with the money (computer games/headphones/pads/phones and so on) represents further internalization of the world to the individual and the fulfillment of individual desire, in other words, a further erosion of any notion of the collective, or of the notion of society (already been declared conveniently dead long ago of course).Therefore I find myself severely back in the territory of William Burroughs, that paranoid prophet of doom, who's 'The Job' should be everybody's Christmas present. Everything he predicts suddenly appears correct. I stare at the television, looking at that 'magical' Christmas and I wonder instead is their anything left of a certain Christmas to actually enjoy, for the non-dreamers have taken over.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Perhaps their exuberance has just run it's course, dried out, but was it exuberance? What was it? I'm not exactly sure. Venturi I rank as a total American, in the American tradition from Thomas Jefferson, but over here Postmodernism didn't quite take. Jencks took five editions of the 'The Language of Postmodern Architecture' to return to a predictable cover shot of neoclassicism. Always back to the manor with us. Although, of course, there is FAT buddy Piers Gough in the mix.
No doubt all of this will be chewed over with anecdote at the AR Christmas party this Friday.
The point of mentioning Jencks is to celebrate a superficial correlation. Jencks made postmodernism in architecture of course, but I know FAT weren't about that even if they look it, at least not at the start, but they became that, somehow, somehow they became the look of Jencks' more freestyle postmodernism thirty years on.
I shared a flat with Sean in our most brilliant and difficult times; piss poor and straight out of diploma. I got to know Sam just a little via the AA. Sean's diploma project was a giant vagina drawn across Trellick Tower. Sam is the son of a judge famous in one of those sixties obscenity trials (I think it's one that benefited us all incidentally) Charles I don't really know. In the beginning it was bus shelters and squabbles: Kevin Rowbotham and Nick Clear started FAT I think, then there was Clive Sall (not forgetting loads of others) who acrimoniously split to call himself FAT International for a lecture at SCI ARC; it was all a bit of a shit storm. Eventually even Sean found that vaginas were a tough aesthetic to work with, and what you see above is active minds by necessity turned to convention. Not without fun of course; fun is one of those funny words that means worse in the diminutive: 'a little bit of fun' generally spells disaster, lots of fun you might just get away with.
Well anyway, it's all over now, and just as vaginas are coming back in.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Sometimes strippers wear boots you'd think would weigh them down like deep sea divers, but the substance is important. Invariably, my stripper friends, whilst having the souls of lions, are surprisingly tiny. And especially at this time of year, their business can be quite combative, since there are far too many 'once a year' arseholes out on their Christmas high jinks. This might explain not why high heels are sexy, but why they are necessary. It's hard to display that soul when you are three inches shorter, and as the girls slip on their skyscrapers they do so as necessary equipment- tax deductible I hope- so that they can level up. Of course high heels are also part of that transformation that empowers dancers into character, but I'd never really thought of it on such a practical level, including their potential as deadly weapons. Meanwhile, for those who are interested; an average pair will only last three months heavy usage.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
However to be 'materialistic' is to enjoy loads of bricks, and not to give a toss about either of those two criteria.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Straight out: complexity is not a virtue in itself, practically it can hardly be a goal. Complexity, in financial matters, brings deep anxiety, complexity, when you are trying to talk sense to Tower Hamlets Homes, brings misery, complexity, when you are a student besieged by trauma rather than space to enjoy your youthfulness, is not fun. Ergo, since architecture is both a practical and idealistic art, complexity, while we endure it (sure, life gets difficult sometimes) should not be an aim in architecture for it's own sake, since it isn't pretty. Unfortunately the toys architectural students play with these days seem entirely dedicated to mirroring or even exacerbating complexity. The results are only superficially pretty as best, on inquisition (I'm sorry Neil Spiller) they are appallingly dull.
As I suggested to students yesterday, we could have just sat back on architecture the day I was born, everything was in place, theoretically, for a fine future, but of course we have progressively fucked things up and then fucked them some more, and now we are busily fucking things up at an even faster pace. It is despairing for those who might hanker for a simple, equitable, life for all.
It's better, in my opinion, to consider synthesis rather than complexity in an effort to reverse a rather 'sick' process, synthesis being an entirely different thing. L-C whilst designing hardly pretty buildings, embodied a synthesis of ideas which is enriching, not dulling. You are not talking product, but work. Chandigarh may look shit, but it is still wonderful, it is certainly not gratuitous, and it is not the blind product of left right left right decision making algorithms, the end of which you cannot comprehend. Even if it might involve some of that kind of thinking, L-C's brand of architecture is entirely human and flawed, and you have to lift a glass to the effort- cooling towers for the assembly of a government for newly partitioned Punjab: brilliant, and brilliant on so many levels! I peer further in to the pages of the Ouvre Complet from a world that does not even aspire to be clear, worthy, or even funny, and I find some architecture.