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Theory and Criticism
 
Neo-modernism
The following statement is a response to the contemporary architectural thoughts that produced concepts such as 'surfacing'. If the statement appears as 'too much reading' into the condition, or that something is missing from its logic, or simply one wishes to confirm it, please let me know:

Technology has shifted its impact on architecture from affecting building (construction) process which produced modernism: form follows function, building as machine, universal style and mass production to affecting the design process (computer or digital possibilities) which is producing a new form of modernism in disguise: form follows digital possibilities; building as design process; Deleuzian theory of flux, and constant folding, unfolding and refolding of the world (or pluralism = monism which eliminates dualism along with the question of good and bad and of purpose and intention, thereby eliminating even the ground on which one can even ask such a question); and a new universal style since 'digital possibilities' transcends cultures. While the first modernism focused on the product, the neo-modernism took the illusive 'process' as its focus. Both share the authoritarian ideology driven by technology and capitalism as the inevitable discourse and the spirit of the age, yet the neo-modernism is raising the flag of hyper pluralism as one of inclusion yet it denies a logical consequence of its own ideology that leads to exclusion in being a doctrine of a grand narrative and a singular discourse.
Ziad Aazam
Responses
 
Neo-modernism
hello Ziad.

is it paranoia to think that something that is 'digitally possible' is not that far from it becoming a reality?

i could have misread your narrative, and my position is entirely an unsubstantiated gut-feel, but i somehow sense that concepts even prior to modernism may find vindication in the realm of what you refer to as "digital possibilities". if one aim of modernism/neo-modernism is to regulate our affairs (e.g., building design) like a smooth flowing process, this may be stymied if and when "digital possibilities" eventually turn out to accentuate the intermingling paradoxes of daily existence. (but then again, this is just gut-feel.)
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
I will restate my question for more clarity:

Given the fact that building technology gave rise to modernism in the 20th century which had the machine as its paradigm, I am simply asking if it is the case now that digital technology is giving rise to a new modernism legitimised by Derridaian and Deleuzian philosophy?

Knowing the urban work of Le Corbusier for modernism and the work of Frank Gehry and latest work of Daniel Libskind for neo-modernism can aid the answer. The reason that this is significant is that just as modernism was criticised by postmodernism for its universality and authoritarian outlook, so it may be the case that what can be called neo-modernism is also preaching universality and has a hidden authoritarian view of the world. If modernism was criticised after the fact, we may be more 'vigilant' and start criticising the new modernism now.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Frank, Thank you for your response. The philosophy of Derrida has influenced contemporary architecture: Deconstruction (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstructivism). Deleuze's philosophy of in-between folding, unfolding and refolding space has contributed to the contemporary architecture thinking producing interests in architecture as surfaces and surfacing (See
www.warwick.ac.uk/philosophy/pli_journal/pdfs/williams_pli_9.pdf). My point is that contemporary architecture is 'under the influence of contemporary philosophy'.

What I said is that both modernism and neo-modernism share 'the authoritarian ideology driven by technology and capitalism as the inevitable discourse and the spirit of the age', not that technology and capitalism are authoritarian ideologies. Technology and capitalism are means to facilitate ideological ends.

What you called "Unnecessary Universal Uniformity" is exactly what I meant by observing the fact that modernism brought the 'International Style' as a 'Necessary Universal Uniformity' ideology driven by construction technology and capitalism to all people it could reach on earth in the name of progress. Application of this 'force' was blind to the local 'uniformity' and the result was chaotic.

Now, I claim that modernism is NOT dead. We are witnessing a new modernism, not a post-modernism. Critical thinkers on this forum can confirm to us that today what exist in the mind of architects as a 'main stream consciousness' of a state-of-the-art architecture is what is hyper and fashionable which is nothing less than what I tried to define above: neo-modernism as formulated by hot shot architects under the influence of obscure philosophers and driven this time by hyper-young 'digital possibilities' and the old-chap of capitalism; elevated to the status of being 'Necessary Universal Uniformity' by the media.

If you check Google Earth for a fly over the earth, you will be shocked to realise that all this 'hype' is for the privileged few who control media, capital, and mind in few cities; the 'rest' are indifferent to this 'hype' yet struggling to solve the problems it creates, because simply it is another ideology that is blind to local 'uniformity'.

Architects can be critics. Creativity and criticality can be in one person, and need not be split between a hot shot architect and a sharp critic. In the world today, we cannot afford to follow blindly just because the magazine is glossy and everybody is wearing purples and pinks.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Ziad, From all I have read of Derrida, his writings were nothing to do with design or architecture and "Deleuz" must be a very new celebrity, as I have never heard of this person?

And I am puzzled by the notion that both (Hard) Technology and Capitalism are "authoritarian ideologies". This is the reverse of reality, because the authoritarian ideologies today are the Soft Sciences (Sociology, etc).

Deleuzian theory as you describe it is nothing more than the known concept of "change" which can be evolutionary change or revolutionary change.

Today the Revolutionary Change of Unnecessary Universal Uniformity (aka "U3") or ("one size fits all") is driven by soft science ideologies, and one aspect of this "Unnecessary Universal Uniformity" is saturation use of purples and pinks for clothing.
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
'The modes of life brought into being by modernity have swept us away from all traditional types of social order, in quite unprecedented fashion. In both their extensionality and their intentionality the transformations involved in modernity are more profound than most sorts of change characteristic of prior periods. On the extensional plane they have served to establish forms of social interconnection which span the globe; in intentional terms they have come to alter some of the most intimate and personal features of our day-to-day existence.' (Giddens 1990, p.4)


Giddens, A. 1990. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity in association with Blackwell.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Ziad, Regarding your post of Nov 29th:-

The problem with today is not the reality that most people face daily. No, the problem today is those who take a free ride on the back of the tigers known as capitalism and technology and rewrite history to claim that they are the motivation of the inevitable global universal society. If you have read the book "1984" you will know what I mean.

Such thought-bending on the order of "black is white, etc" is Neo-Marxism at its most dyfunctional.

One needs only remember the core of Marxism is "the dialectic" composed of the agenda that for every thesis there an antithesis which proceeds to join together into synthesis. The problem with such a system of thought is that it is the extreme of reductionism and this means diversity and plurality are anathema to Marxists.

Please note: I apologise for dragging such points into this forum, but they do need to be said. What you describe as Deleuzian theory is in fact stereotypical Marxism, particularly the key words "pluralism = monism" is nonsense which says "everything = everything else" which explains why the buildings built for the masses by Marxists are all the same, because "everyone = everyone else".
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
We agree; therefore, I am not paranoid.

Referring to George Orwell's 1984, we are either riding on the back of the tigers, as you said (being the Big Brother), or seek emancipation from global totalitarian rules created by those on the back of the tigers. The problem is that emancipation can be claimed by both opposing sides.

We are not just trapped in mechanism such as capitalism and technology without being able to break free (Unless, of course, one chooses to be a castaway Robinson Crusoe in a tropical island), but also trapped in ideologies (including also what comes from science as paradigms). People shy away from philosophers and scientists thinking that they are irrelevant to our lives just because we don't understand them. But how about those who understand them or think they do and aim at affecting our lives. It follows that philosophers and scientists are the true deep 'Big Brother' behind the 'surface' Big Brother'. Who are these 'surface' Big Brother'? Any human being who claims individually and out of self-interest that an aspect of life 'ought to be' the way he or she thinks based on some hidden agenda written by a 'deep' Big Brother. For example, deep big brother Hegel's dialectics of history (thesis, antithesis, and synthesis) and idealism in which history is a product of the 'spirit of time' helped to cling to the 'machine' as the 'spirit of the age' and therefore its technology can now emancipates us from oppression. Then came Marx, our old and new deep big brother, to say that it is not 'idealism' in Hegel's dialectics but dialectics 'materialism' which produce history through class struggle.

Our life is reduced to materialistic truths.

The grid that structures our lives have already been laid out. Derrida and Deleuze are mainly de-'construction workers'. Who is afraid of criticising them? Only surface big brother are, such as 'some' architects, because they will not make a living if they are not afraid.

'Ministry of Truth' must know the 'truth'.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Ziad, you have a sense of humour.

In essence, the problem intellectual people face today is two-fold: (a) mainstream philosophy today is the irrational belief in illogical ideology such as the dialectic concept, and (b) the rising tide of socio-bureaucratic euphemisms which replace both concepts and thought.

In fact these are both aspects of the same problem, because the use of such illogic creates words which have no meaning in reality and vice versa words with no meaning in reality creates illogic. Leaving everyone wondered "which came first the chicken (of bureaucratic euphemisms) or the egg (of irrational illogic)?
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism

and Morpheus asked, "which is it, Neo? will you take the blue pill? or the red pill?"
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Ziad and Jofer If the red pill is the thesis of the dialectic, then the blue pill is the antithesis and therefore the purple pill (a mixture of red and blue) is the synthesis. :)
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
... Very true. Awareness is all we ask for. I believe 'Digital possibilities' should be explored to the fullest, but we cannot afford to let it lead the way.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
for a lot of us, sifting beyond the layers is just too difficult. it takes time for each one to be conscious of reality. furthermore, there are those who prefer a simple way through and don't wish to wake up; but there are others who are awake but feel helpless about it.

now, this occurred only twice in your first narrative but it hooked me: "digital possibilities." it's a by-product of technology and capitalism, and is certainly utilized to greater extents, such as furthering one's agenda of "neo-modernism", which is of course just one direction.

i believe, however, that there are applications of the same towards other directions. and at this stage, one can only hope this leads to better understanding of realities and corresponding solutions to problems.
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
� and Neo answered, while awake in unreal reality:
- the purple one.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Ziad, All things being equal [?:)] anyone should be able to question the validity of the ideologies of Derrida, Delueze, etc... because if we cannot question or are not allowed to question, then these ideologies are absolute and therefore totalitarian.

The notion "pluralism = monism" is as absurd (irrational and illogical) as saying Good = Bad, or Beauty = Uglyness, or Right = Wrong, or Black = White, or Thesis = Antithesis.

The implication of reducing these opposites into a mixed mess which is neither opposite means that the concepts integral with these opposites become meaningless and can therefore be thrown away or completely ignored.
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
Now, it is starting to become clearer in our heads. Derrida and Deleuze say that purple does not exist as we have thought of it above, i.e. a result of two oppositions. There is no opposition in their philosophy, but fragmented mix, deconstructed matters (for Derrida); an in-between flow, a flux, a folding, unfolding and refolding space (for Deleuze). Architects took these philosophical ideas and interpreted them in terms of disjointed materials and flow of surfaces; digital technology made it possible, capitalism made it concrete, and the media made it hype. The 'rest' of the world stood watching with awe and bewilderment. Psychologically, it represents the way forward, any challenge to it is dismissed as regressive conservatism. One direction, true; but it is spreading like a virus everywhere. Should this be of concern to us? Can we at least question its impact on our minds as architects and our built form, space and society?
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Deleuz and Derrida (D&D) - i admit that i don't know much of these philosophers. but having gone over your discussions, it appears that if there are any questions to be asked, these eventually will not get directed towards D & D but backfire on the individuals to question their own respective dispositions. the "targets" becoming "sounding boards" thus making the joke fall on those who ever attempt to question. is this good or bad?
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
JM: it appears that if there are any questions to be asked, these eventually will not get directed towards D & D but backfire on the individuals to question their own respective dispositions.

ZA: Precisely. The whole discussion is about putting under the spot lights those who produce works of architecture while 'under the influence of philosophical thoughts' such as D&D, whether directly or indirectly and whether these thoughts are logical or illogical. We are not in a position to criticise philosophical thoughts as philosophers, but we can criticise their effects on us as responsible individuals living in societies, first; and as contributors to the built form, second.

JM: the "targets" becoming "sounding boards" thus making the joke fall on those who ever attempt to question. is this good or bad?

ZA: Could you please expand on this.
Ziad Aazam
Neo-modernism
Jofer, Questioning (in todays` ideologically orthodox climate)something within or about the current ideologies is regarded as an assault upon these ideologies themselves and so the questioner is attacked.

This inability to allow criticism of any part of an orthodox ideology, parallels the way the USSR used put the people who thought differently into mental hospitals.

The problem with such an inability to allow free thought is that both good and bad thoughts are cleansed.
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
"the "targets" becoming "sounding boards" thus making the joke fall on those who ever attempt to question. is this good or bad?"

my impression on D&D is that to engage or question their frame of thought eventually plunges the individual to question his/her own frame of thought.

many of us have dispositions that are regarded to be absolutes but not have grasped the underpinnings for them. and so, D&D is sort of a litmus test: it challenges individuals to go deeper and be sure of their own dispositions. otherwise, the joke falls on them who fail to do so. in a way, it separates those who earnestly seek from those who simply ride on the backs of those that do the thinking for them.
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Jofer, "D&D, etc" are unweavers of reason and logic and voyagers into unnecessary emotionality, irrationality, illogicality, confusion and mystery which glues and traps the unwary into endless and meaningless riddles.

In my unaware immaturity as a child I was fascinated by mystery. But today, in my aware maturity; mystery, etc, is simply a part of the whole picture.

If you think about the issue, you will see that taking the position that either (a) reason and logic or (b) unreason and illogic are the whole picture are both absolutist positions.Similarly the notion that reason and logic = unreason and illogic is yet another absolutist position which negates both of the above.

If one takes reason and logic as "known" and unreason and illogic as "unknown" then there are four positions:- [1] a known problem in a known situation. [2] a known problem in an unknown situation. [3] an unknown problem in a known situation. and [4] an unknown problem in an unknown situation. Positions [1]+[4] are absolutes, whereas positions [2]+[3] both recognise reality.

"D&D, etc" operate in the fourth position of "an unknown problem within a unknown situation". This means that nobody can recognise anything, anywhere and anywhen and therefore it is very easy to write endless books about meaningless nothings.
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
thank you, Frank. that was very succint. as we can see now, the common element with the first three quadrants is "know".

de-establish that, confound and muddle it, then all three fall into the fourth.
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Jofer, Yes, if you want to jump into a black hole and never come out. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
to a lot of people, it is a blackhole and is something to be dreaded; so it is understandable if they oppose anything that pushes them to it. (and i think it's in the manner of opposing that is really at issue, especially when we see not a few who resort to blind obedience and violence.)

but to others, while it may be distressing, this is a phenomenon that has to be faced with eventually, if only to determine what stands against the currents. (isn't this what truth is about?)
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Jofer, Wadding through mystery creates only confusion, muddle and mess which is productive of nothing of meaning. If you want nothing of meaning then certainly carry on into mystery, but do not expect to come out the other side, because there is no other side.
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
Frank, you sound like you've been through this before... and that you've finally seen the light. :o)
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Jofer, You play with words because nothing has any meaning for you and without meaning you will not be able to move out of mystery and confusion.
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
modernism... mystery... meaning... just how much of what is meaningful rests on matters we know... or, shall i say, on matters that we think we know?

and why are we quick to make conclusions about others? is that because we know too much now?
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Jofer, please note my post of December 16th was in answer to your post of December 16th. When I posted it appeared below your post, but when I checked later it had moved to above your post (very strange).
Frank John Snelling
Neo-modernism
my professor once remarked to me that i'm "very Keynesian"... does that qualify me as a Marxist?
Jofer Magsi
Neo-modernism
Jofer, some professors enjoy confusing their students in order to manipulate.
Frank John Snelling
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