Projekt in utopija
Day 1: The essay On one hand, this essay can be read as a history of architecture’s being converted into a capitalist tool, similarly to how Lenin points out in The Development of Capitalism in Russia that agriculture, despite still seeming to be distinct from capital, has been invaded and remade by capital, and specifically as a type of production fixated on a type of commodity Tafuri’s focus seems to be anywhere but architecture at times: on the city, for example, and the utility of ’natural’ or ‘organic’ ideas that ‘dissolve the city in the great Sea of nature' "Urban naturalism, the imposition of the Picturesque on the city and its architecture, and the emphasis on landscape in artistic ideology, all served to negate the now manifest dichotomy between urban and rural reality, to pretend that there was no gap between the valorization of nature and the valorization of the city as a machine for producing new forms of economic accumulation." Pretend uneven dev isn’t happening as long as you possibly can basically, lol First, arch becomes a political tool: providing ‘cover’ for the privations of capitalist accumulation within the city. At the same time, it embraces its ideological role—to approach problems ’scientifically’ (aka via enlightenment precepts) (see: Boulee’s cenotaph) This develops into the embrace of the capital-P plan (and thereafter spells the doom of architecture itself) as rationalism collapses into and against the irrationalism of accumulation Piranesi’s Campo Marzio "Typology is asserted as an instance of superior organization, yet the configuration of the individual types tends to destroy the very concept of typology; history is invoked as an inherent “value,” yet the paradoxical rejection of the archaeological reality casts its civilizing potential into doubt; formal invention seems to proclaim its own primacy, yet the obsessive repetition of the inventions seems to reduce the whole urban organism to a sort of gigantic “useless machine.”" the plan encounters history and attempts to overwhelm it thru the typographical Tafuri’s obsession with the avant grade (outside of architecture even!) He mentions that there is a contradiction among the avant gardes to learn the deepest truths of this reality vs. fabrication of new realities ex novo Architecture attempts to pull out a third way (lol) of individual autonomy over architectural objects/commodities while simultaneously imposing an overwhelming urban logic this is the logic of capital - it took it from architecture. the plan/the system/the grid/Manhattan/Land Ordinance of 1785 - but freedom is only allowed within the careful ur-limitations this sees it’s height in Victorian organicism - the “exhaustion of the object” in a “universe of precision" Architecture, therefore, insofar as it was directly linked to thereality of production, was not only the first discipline to accept, with rigorous lucid ity, the consequences of its already realized commodification “the ideology of the Plan" this experience gives us the city, which Tafuri focuses on as the site of the avant gardes of the late 19th and early 20th c. Benjamin’s arcades and Baudelaire, de Stijl and Bauhaus and Futurism and Dada all of these, for Tafuri, produced a concomitant public which could inhabit the capitalist city a class of people who were not tormented by the speed and heat and faceless obscurity of life but valorized it and celebrated it shock and the terror of production and “a slap in the face of public taste” becomes an essential ideological hinge point which makes it much easier… to be a capitalist lol (aka an active participant, an urban consumer) In one way, this essay shows Tafuri’s attempt to reckon with how art and the city have dealt with and taken each other as subjects - but in a more real sense, it shows these two elements precisely at their point of disappearance, when they get hollowed out similarly to Lenin mentioned - once and for all Save Plan Obus for later lol Form - this is a big obsession with Tafuri throughout, and specifically how the contemporary notion of architecture as purely formal (which was more or less hammered into place over the 70s/80s) begins really with a Plan-type idea of the architect as an organizer. "exploiting the articulation of form at its highest level in order to make the public an active and conscious user of the architectural product”. it makes the capitalist world natural by working at an ideological/epistemological scale to direct activity in line w capitalist precepts and towards capitalist ends - not the least of which bc it flows from the mind of an ‘ur-capitalist'
Day 2: Chapter 1
“What is of interest here is the precise identification of those tasks which capitalist development has taken away from architecture. That is to say, what it has taken away in general from ideological prefiguration. With this, one is led almost automatically to the discovery of what may well be the ‘drama’ of architecture today: that is, to see architecture obliged to return to pure architecture, to form without utopia, in the best cases, to sublime uselessness.” The highest goal is to find an architecture which no longer has to be political - i.e. may take place in a vacuum and has nothing to say to anything outside its ’site’, which may come into being solely on the strength/will of the architect and their particular values (these values are what Tafuri means by ‘ideological prefiguration’) Architecture now tells itself pure architecture is still possible just as it turns around and participates in the game of clients, projects, bids, etc - all fundamental to capitalist architecture. All architecture can do is serve something outside itself: “the new tasks given to architecture are something besides or beyond architecture” or “anything can happen but nothing is decisive"
Tafuri begins with “bourgeois art” and identifies it as a tool or process that ultimately seeks catharsis and the sublation of contradiction by “understanding and absorbing its causes”. This may seem abstract but he points immediately to the city, or generally speaking urban form, as one such contradictory subject. This is a need: the capitalist system needs to “represent its own anguish to continue to function”
“culture (that is, bourgeois intelligentsia) has identified its own function as mediator (between contradiction and catharsis) in such ideological terms… its cunning has reached the point where it imposes the forms of disputation and protest upon its own products. The higher the sublimation of the conflicts on a formal plane, the more hidden the cultural and social structures actually expressed by that sublimation.” Obviously, Tafuri’s point is that architectural discourse, chattering to itself, is concerned with the formal and aesthetic, to the extent any fundamental causes are ignored
Tafuri’s “unitary history” relies on tracing the movement of what he calls the “Enlightenment dialectic”. he breaks these into themes: architect’s role as ‘ideologist of society' individuation of areas of intervention proper to city planning (cells and streets) the role of form interrelationship between arch form and urban organization Laugier and the city forest: “great order in the details, confusion, uproar, and tumult in the whole” connection to Chatelet: “What could be more edifying than this equilibrium emerging from the Chaos of teeth and stomachs?” deference to what tafuri calls the “antiperspective character of the urban space” - the destruction of scenic/stagic ’natural rooms’ from the Baroque period in favor of sublimity and an embrace of the impossibility to not just know but represent nature in all its complexity - the ’sublime’ here means there are things working out of frame and across history, with their own perfectly laid but impenetrable plans so we answer with our own plans (lol): "First published as The Various Species of Landscape Composition (1759), Cozens identified 16 "compositions" or basic landscape themes — "the edge of a hill, or mountain, near the eye" (number 1), "a landscape on one hand, the sea on the other" (3), "a waterfall" (8), "two hills, mountains, or rocks, opposite each other" (9). He also identified 27 "circumstances" — times of the day, seasons, types of weather — in which these landscapes could be viewed." The city is a landscape, and thus principles of landscape art/composition map seamlessly to the city What’s more, by identifying social morality and the location of God in nature (not in the Arcadian sense, but the sublime, that left out of ‘Reason’), social morality can make judgment calls in the city too ‘Physiocratic urbanism’: the city is not a structure, but an outgrowth of agricultural development. And because it is not structural, a ‘formal naturalism’ (i.e. great order in the details, tumult in the whole) can be employed to cover over the delirious structuralization of capital accumulation that is occuring This is a stroke of theoretical genius especially because it allows the nascent processes of capitalism to be substituted into existing value systems that rely on Nature as such as the source of morality esp crucial in PAPERING OVER DIVIDE OF TOWN AND COUNTRY this is done by collapsing “value credited to nature and the value accredited to the city as a productive mechanism of new forms of economic accumulation” (this is a bit unclear) So: in this developing scene, architecture looks to itself and shifts from the design of objects “to become a technique of organization of preformed materials”, architecture looks to those materials for “authenticity” and thus signs its own death warrant secondly, architecture assumes role of a science instead of an art: engineering of solutions achieved thru form, and political considerations become utopian and fanciful (even tho there is nothing ’social’ about this utopia, it’s simple ‘a place where i’d get an enormous commission' de Quincy’s encyclopedia: “Considering it (arch) only from the point of view of utility, it surpasses all the arts. It provides for the salubrity of cities, guards the health of men, protects their property, and works only for the safety, repose, and good order of civic life." As such, arch falls to the background, and ceases to matter: if arch is about organization of materials, then superceding organization at urban level trumps it. Tafuri says later this means all individual arch can do at this juncture is formal provocation: order and chaos exist side by side but at different scales: reason gives way to irrationality. formality can only provoke an emotional response (phenomenological/sensuality of form) 1807 plan for Milan: there’s a contradiction here between the old guard (design springs from a message of truth) and the new (design informs a future message and creates its own truth) The American ’third way’: rebuilding ‘Palladianism’ and European despotic architecture to be a symbol of democracy (as well as a symbol of power) The city can finally be a ‘forest’ - value is in “constructed reason”, furnished by Europe, remade on a new continent and in a new country - an ‘everyday heroism’ (Richmond Capitol) City design: l’infant’s DC History and development arrested at the pastoral utopia (Thomas More) The maximal individualism fascilitated by the minimal functional support (arch and city organization) What is formalism? What is rationalism?
American Jeffersonianism ideologically ‘completes’ Europe’s contradictions between nascent capitalist urbanism of accumulation and the Laugier-esque type ‘city forest’: “the ethic of free trade here encountered the pioneering spirit"
Day 3: Chapter 2 ch1 lays out what the ‘urban ideology’ is, and ch2 deals with architecture’s doomed attempts to cope w both it and rise of capitalism/the “constellation of commodities" 18th c architecture encounters “the crisis of the traditional concept of form” due to the arrival of the city altogether “as an autonomous field of architectural intervention” Enlightenment architecture is predicated upon the “anti organic quality of structure” (or, structure’s inherent ‘rationalism’) (which tafuri claims is later fundamental in developing contemporary art Form: “When we observe a ‘piece’ of Victorian architecture we are struck by the overwroughtness of the ‘object’. All too rarely do we consider that, for nineteenth-century architects, eclecticism and plurality of expression was the proper answer to the multiple disintegrative stimuli induced by the new physical environment configured by technology’s ‘universe of precision’.” (see: ornament and ’traditional design’) The fundamental contradiction is, as before, between the city as utopia/meta-utopia/Piranesi’ “absurd machine”, which merely tends towards ‘equilibrium’, and the solidity of the architectural form, which is stable and relies on ‘permanent values’ to produce that exact absurd machinery architecture becomes a “mere link in the production chain” with the city as the ultimate “technological product" the ‘urban ideology’ begins to take shape from this contradiction. the romantic eclecticism of the architectural “object” is founded in the “redemption of ambiguity as a critical value in itself" this posture of ambiguity - wherein values as such disappear (into ’the great sea of nature’ as it were) allows romantic eclecticism to become the de facto interpreter of the nascent capitalist environment - and to paint it in worn-out values (aka those which had not been marshaled for the bourgeoisie’s sake) and in so doing demonstrate “no subjective effort can regain an authenticity lost forever" commercialism annihilates authenticity, art responds by diffusing and claiming ambiguity over values/principles “the unrestrained exhibition of a false conscience" keep in mind this is less an architectural project than an urban one (See: repeated references to piranesi) and this lack of authenticity is resurrected as an ethical redemption through ceaseless agglomeration of forms as a sort of romantic utopia: revisiting the past and recombining them see thomas more’s original: incan communism, catholic monasticism, greek polis, atlantic exoticism there are socialist variants of this as well (tho tafuri claims these are two distinct tracks) Marx annihilates these both: reveals the death wish in utopianism and destiny/teleology of utopia as a secular version of bourgeois ‘work-ethic is its own reward’ bullshit realism begins to take hold “The decline of the social of utopia sanctioned ideology’s surrender to the politics of things brought about by the laws of profit. Architectural, artistic, and urban ideology was left with the utopia of form as a way of recovering the human totality through an ideal synthesis, as a way of embracing disorder through order." to put it simply: the ideological dressing of fourier is annihilated by alienation and the realization of utopia as a concatenation of commodities. utopia then takes up a reactive position, deluding itself into believing that combining those forms into the right combinations is an end in and of itself. this is an architectural project as a result, architecture is lead by the nose, as an ‘arranger of objects’ directly into commercialization (it is cold comfort that as a discipline, arch recognized and capitulated to this, “before the mechanisms and theories of political economy had furnished the instruments for such a task”) thus: “modern architecture as a whole had the means to create an ideological situation ready to fully integrate design, at all levels, with the reorganization of production, distribution, and consumption in the new capitalist city" From 1850-1931, a ’three phase’ history: stage 1: urban ideology “overcomes” late romantic mythology (romantic eclecticism) stage 2: the artistic avant garde develops in order for “capitalism to represent itself” and individualize unsatisfied needs, to be further depicted in art stage 3: architectural ideology (similar or diff from urban ideology?) becomes the ideology of the plan (aka architecture is relegated to the rear-guard, fully subservient to capital) Day 4: Ideology and Utopia the history and conditions of “intellectual work”, or the significance in early 20th c of “utopia as a project”—this is foundational to the entire ‘unitary history’ of modern architecture “The unproductiveness of intellectual work was the crime that weighed upon the conscience of the cultural world of the 19th century, and which advanced ideologies had to overcome. To turn ideology into utopia thus became imperative." this is not a formal change, but the negation of ideology by moving its referent out of the ‘present’ into the future and its (literal) construction, or what Tafuri calls a “realized ideology over the forms of [capitalist] development" An intellectual history of the early 20th century (not even avant-garde) shows that there is a systematic dismantling of “idols” which have stymied the explosion of the “universe of precision” - in fact, prepping the ground for global expansion of capitalism becomes the “new historic task of the intellectual”, by declaring war on “values” as previously conceived (refer back to last week where value slowly gets sucked up into ‘exchange value’ as such) older conceptions of values (that is, those not absorbed and re-ascribed w/r/t capitalist categories) must be swept away once and for all in favor of a highly ideological conception of capitalist science science in this sense is defined by Weber as “self-control…the only means of ensuring against deceptions, of precisely distinguishing the logicocomparative relation of reality with ideal types in the logical sense, from the evaluation of reality on the basis of ideals" The intellectual who takes up this scientific project of desacralization (Schmitt, anyone?) prohibits themselves to take up values, which are negative or irrational the separation of positive and negative elements of society, as elaborated by Weber/Keynes/Schumpeter/Mannheim, must be resolved by elucidating the complementary relationship between positive and negative later Tafuri identifies the negative with the working class and positive with capital. given the pedigree of his theoretical examples, we may say that positive = valorization? I think? by introducing the positive and negative to each other, it’s clear what’s at stake here is the Ideology of the Plan, either planned socialism or capitalism, but the institution of logical/rational development getting a little ahead of ourselves tho. Tafuri talks about Mannheim, who conflates intellectuals with ideologists, as a “class of cultured persons” or “thinkers who provide but justification" Mannheim: “In all periods of history there have been ideas that transcend the existing order, but they did not perform the function of utopias. Rather, in the measure in which they were harmoniously and organically integrated with the prevalent vision of the epoch, and did not suggest revolutionary possibiilties, they constituted the most fitting ideologies of the period" this is, imo, related to an intellectualism of values (careful not to become trad here) Mannheim distinguishes his intellectuals into conservatives (whose ideas receive significance from past forms) and progressives (etc from future forms) Utopia, as the project of the progressive intellectuals, is a “structural vision of the totality that is and is becoming” or a “system of orientation intent upon ‘breaking the relationships of the existing order’ in order to recover them at a higher and different level’" this revision of ideology (as a project of building a future totality) is itself a dynamic of development (or a part of it). Conservative intellectuals must be mocked and critiqued in order to free up the utopian to keep track with and re-imagine the ultimate form of capitalist development for Mannheim, utopia affirmed (or ‘achieved’, insofar as that’s possible) recapitulates as ideology, due to his standpoint as a social democrat “The constant rupture of equilibrium [or capitalist crisis] must be turned into an anti-ideological “scientific politics”, into a rational solution of the conflicts generated by development." Mannheim’s utopia is “entirely immersed in the real dynamics of politoeconomic processes”, that is, cannot be separated from this program of working to anticipate and overwhelm any crisis Keynes and Weber differ in that ideology is to be left behind, and utopia represents a highly developed rational ‘plan' What does ’negative utopia’ mean here Weber’s subject is the ’subject-function’ or the subject performing his task—in this case the intellectual task. Therefor the function, and the system which ensconces it, is the new subject Weber builds off Nietzsche’s ‘happy science’ in developing the concrete example of an existence “accepted in the entirety of its contradictions”…”to emancipate the ideology of the system from the problematic question of ‘values’ is to find the true scientific mentality”…therefore ideology is true only in the measure in which it is coherent with and structurally functional to this material process, and in the measure in which it criticizes and opposes anything putting this process in doubt or crisis." Liberty from value, or the ‘old gods’, is now liberty from subjectivity. Values must not be recapitulated. Rationalism must win the day, as we can see in the Futurists, Dada et al - pointing out absurdities within existing schema of remaining values (by way of removing their contradictory approaches to capitalist development). This desacralization of values is itself a “new, unique value”. The bourgeoisie are now a fetter on the energies they themselves unleashed, and the new project is to create a renewed bourgeoisie which is bred in the explosive cycle of continuity and rupture The avant gardes do not recognize or dissolve themselves in the irrational, but thru the destruction of values propose/offer “a wholly new type of rationality, which was capable of coming face to face with the negative, in order to make the negative [irrationality] itself the release valve of an unlimited potential for development." the end of the Benjaminian aura is the “integration of the subjective moment with the complex mechanism of rationalization” which is itself ’self-rationalizing’ - that is, the “ethic of development” must be realized along with and inside of development itself so, the avant garde “liberation from work” is a liberation from work as commonly understood, towards a new work undertaken under a rational plan (Tafuri mentions Marcuse’s distinction in Eros and Civ b/t toil and work, and calls this a ’negative utopia’ of “ultimate humanistic recovery”) The plan as such overlays the dynamic of development. By “demolishing the old orders and stressing reality as ’the realm of absurdity’, the avant-garde threw itself into ideological anticipations, into partial utopias of the plan”. This ideological position is founded on the negative/irrational, and its dialectic begins from the contradiction between rational/irrational in the engine of development. From this standpoint, utopian models are unnecessary, because development of ideology beyond the now is unnecessary. When it does happen, it’s merely repetition of past stages, all of which are in the last instance only interested in the “mediation of the contradiction" ideology remains in contradiction with the developed capitalist system because the ideology of scientific rationalism eventually gives way to the need to solve actual technical, concrete problems—“no longer Hegel but Keynes”—"not the ideology of plans but the plan in the concreteness of its development, not the ideology of the New Deal but post-Keynesian economy. Ideology, become concrete and stripped of any trace of utopianism…is suppressed”. This is the “crisis of ideology" The plan is now generated within capital’s own institutions, free of any necessary justification, ethics, endgame, or obligation to exist “Now economic models are devised starting from the crisis, and not abstractly against it. In light of all this, “intellectual work which has had the courage to recognize itself as capitalist science and to function accordingly is objectively separate from the backward, regressive role of purely ideological work…Utopia itself marks out the successive stages of its own extinction" Capital’s awareness after WWI that it “must be transformed into social capital, and as such manage directly its own cycles, crises, and development” The avant-gardes as intellectual ‘bad conscience’ nevertheless defend the roll of the intellectual as ‘professional work' if these are work they are not activity to serve a revolutionary movement the objective however is to get outside of work and become that work’s conscience - to become political and thus critique its own standpoint or milieu the problem being that descralization results in the inexorable inclusion of intellectual work as true work, i.e. labor, i.e. the production of commodity - the end of the aura and the application of new production methods See; Henry Ford’s “artists in industrial relationship” - artists and intellectuals generate an ideology which aids in the socialization of consumption Organization and planning at the urban level, specifically with Rathenau (democratic socialism) and his collective city free of speculative ground rent, and Naumann’s distinction between productive and parasitic usurious capital (which must be suppressed) The intellectual’s anti-institutional phase engages w capital (as “abstract technology, or the universal productive subject") and the masses (equally abstract, but existing as a sort of ethical check). Unifying these two ideologically resulted, again, in the slip from Hegel to Keynes, in capitalistic-industrial utopia, and ideology becomes totally bound up with work and its organization in general. “Ideology ended, in most cases and with a surprising consistency of behavior, by precariously straddling the borderline between these two choices" “Utopia became of service to development as a reserve of tendentious models and as an arm for the extraction of consensus.” “Autonomy of formal construction no longer necessarily meant controlling daily experience through form. They were now disposed to accept the idea that it is experience that dominates the subject" as such, the subject must be made to disappear - into the collective or into the plan-to-come, further, it becomes “the disappearance of the tragic” through the “promised land of universal planning” - “Salvation lies no longer in ‘revolt’, but in surrender without discretion." We can see this surrender in the reconstruction of the Lukacsian ‘revolt of the objects’ (alienation). “…sin consists instead in man’s “diabolical” insistence on remaining man, in taking his place as an ‘imperfect machine’ in a social universe in which the only consistency behavior is that of pure silence." Dadaist mechanization, Futurism, formal and universal proletarianization, total mobilization ‘Positive thought’ is positivism, resignation to which is necessary for the continued “perpetuation of the intellectual disciplines”. The provision of a reason for intellectual work’s continuation is not the highest calling of that work The Long War against value continues, and freedom from value must now “impose themselves with the force of a datum…any residue of value must be violently desecrated"
Day 5: The Dialectic of the Avant-Garde Notes from JP:
architecture & utopia ch4 “The experience of the "tragic" is the experience of the metropolis” <- ‘downfall of reason’ Benjamin, criticizing Hegel and Engels, “…the facility and ease with which the Parisian flaneur moves in the crowd has become the natural behavior of the modern user of the metropolis.” Baudelaire seems to consider the city and the mass to be one and the same, whereas Barbier describes the mass and the city independently “Objectively structured like a machine for the extraction of surplus value, in its own conditioning mechanisms the city reproduces the reality of the ways of industrial production.” “….invasion of the ways of production in the urban morphology…” ok so from what i gather he seems to be saying that the task of the avant-garde is to try and convert the shock resulting from the dissolution of value into … what exactly? not sure Piranesi and Picasso ‘make universal’ what may be considered completely ‘particular’ <- some kind of fetishism? the ‘new richness’ of spirit cannot be sought outside the ‘new poverty’ assumed by mechanical civilization <- according to De Stijl “Chaos and order were thus sanctioned by the historical avant-garde movements as the "values," in the pro per sense of the term, of the new capitalist city.” ‘that once come within the sphere of the reorganization of production in general, architecture and urbanism would have to be the objects and not the subjects of the Plan.’ not too clear exactly on the use of the word plan here! i guess i kind of intuitively ‘feel it’ but would like some elaboration architecture i guess he’s saying has now sort of become a method of organizing a process, city = assembly line, and you need people for that so “Thus through architecture the ideology of the public took a great step forward” I think my own key takeaway from the chapter is that the avant-garde and later the various architectural movements are an attempt at ‘taking into’ the production process, or into a sort of ‘universal grammar’, the entire mass of people, by way of urban planning, design- ‘the city as a factory’ kind of thing? That’s just how it reads to me, let me know if I’m wrong!
Notes from Kevin: “The downfall of reason” - “The ‘loss’ foretold by Piranesi has now become tragic reality. The experience of the ‘tragic’ is the experience of the metropolis.” Baudelaire’s masses and Simmel’s ‘blasé’ metropolitan attitude Benjamin links Baudelaire to Engels - Benjamin critiques Engels’ ‘moral reaction’ to not just working class conditions, but to the ‘discovery’ of the crowd and subsequent revulsion (due to Engels’ provincial German viewpoint). There’s also a weird analog: Benjamin mentions the “flood of human beings”, which harkens to Theweleit’s Male Fantasies and the “red flood” which overwhelms the priapetic freikorps In Baudelaire, the masses are accepted as a matter of course, and the flâneur as the supposedly “natural” behavior of one of these individuals the “dynamic interconnectedness existing between uniformity (order/form, the ’systemic’, Vergeistigung, de Stijl) and diversity (chaos, the cell, the shock, Dada) “there is no longer any way except to reduce the search for authenticity to the search for the eccentric" The “universe of precision” is made in full: “Objectively structured like a machine for the extraction of surplus-value, in its own conditioning mechanisms the city reproduces the reality of the ways of industrial production." “passersby behave as if, become like automatons, they can no longer express themselves except automatically" likewise, the crowd has “itself become a spectacle”, and in the arcades finds “the spatial and visual means for a self-education from the point of view of capital" appeals to the crowd/masses as an ‘interclass’ subject “The ideology of the public is not, in fact, an end in itself. It is only a moment of the ideology of the city as a productive unity in the proper sense of the term and, simultaneously, as an instrument of coordination of the production-distribution-consumption cycle" consumption as such is not just a valence of this cycle but is actively espoused as the “ideology of the correct use of the city”, or for Baudelaire, an “endured consciousness of participation" The experience of the crowd and ideology of the public follow each other. The crowd “served to make general an operative reality, but did not contribute to its advancement. It was instead at this point, and only at this point, that the linguistic revolution of contemporary art was called upon to offer its contribution" art called upon to build off of and further mediate (or advance, in either case by beginning with the crisis) the protean conditions of the general organization of production Shock becomes a value, free and uninhibited, in this way: by founding “visual codes and codes of action transformed by the already consolidated characteristics of the capitalist metropolis (rapidity of transformation, organization, and simultaneousness of communications, accelerated tempo of use, eclecticism); [reducing] the artistic experience to a pure object (obvious metaphor for object-merchandise); involve the public, unified in an avowed interclass and threrefore antibourgeois ideology" the constructivist and deconstructivist tendencies of tendencies within avant-garde perform their parts, marching in lockstep “according to the typical law of industrial production…continual technical revolution" “one is not to ’suffer’ the shock, but to absorb it as an inevitable condition of existence"
Simmel’s blasé and nervous/anxious/oversignified city as the “seat of the ‘money economy’" “the meaning and differing values of things, and thereby the things themselves, are experienced as insubstantial" the destruction of value as such has now been accepted; quality has lost out to quantity: “All things float with equal specific gravity in the constantly moving stream of money. All things lie on the same level and differ from one another only in the size of the area which they cover.” or, Cacciari: when all things lie on the same plane/have same gravity, these objects are all in the perpetual motion of the money economy “When the intellectualized multiplicity of the stimuli becomes behavior, then and only then the Vergeistigung is complete, then and only then is it certain that no individual autonomy exists outside of it. And win order that the proof of this be completely valid, the domination of the form, derived from the abstraction and calculation native to the metropolis, must be demonstrated in the most apparently ‘eccentric’ behavior. The blasé attitude defines the illusiveness of the differences… Intellectualization, Vergeistigung, and commercialization are all brought together in the blasé attitude: and with it, the metropolis finally creates its ’type’, its structure ‘in general’ finally becomes a social reality and a cultural fact. It is money that has here found its most authentic bearer." “from the anguished discovery of the nullification of values, to the use of a language of pure signs”: the metropolitan shock is transformed into the principle of dynamism and development of a universe without quality, which has been made natural Piranesi and Picasso (or cubism in general) are both projects about the “machine universe” - Piranesi discovers and recoils, Picasso inhabits and comments Once the shock has been mediated, the urban ‘characters’ of the blasé or the flâneur must be discarded in favor of a participatory, consumptive-oriented subject art must overcome its mutual exclusion with life, and does so by engaging with the substrate of life particular to capital: the city the advent of the ‘ideology of the plan’, and the exploration of not its limits, but the material which it orders (de Stijl and Dada) The plan mediates Chaos and Order as the two remaining ‘values’ (in the traditional sense) or the city - “chaos is a datum and order an objective" but chaos is also “liberty”, once order identifies chaos as its other - the realm of creativity, the usage of assemblage and artistic objects, information, and communication, the improbable, the shepherding of these into a dynamic and controlled freedom which may organize creativity as a force within the realm of production and consumption, fully realized in the Bauhaus industrial design is conceived of as exploiting utopia as a method of organizing production, or the visiting of ideology onto the concrete disorder of real production cycles At the architectural level, industrial design holds, reapplied as ‘building production’. This planning or architectural and urbanism in the abstract refers to the restructuring of production and consumption in general, mediating realism and utopia thus arch and urbanism become the objects and not the subjects of the Plan, a possibility for radically reorganizing society rather than working towards revolution The ‘machine for living’ is actually a process of making proposals for model forms of production and consumption. ‘forms’ and ‘objects’ are replaced with processes mediated by forms, that is, objects placed in relation to the public, which have become participatory, demanding a heroically consumptive attitude
Day 6: ‘Radical’ Architecture and the City
Hilberseimer writes that the true goal of architecture is ‘urban configuration’ - the room fits into the building fits into the city , the city becomes a ‘social machine’ ‘what reigns is measure, which constrains chaos to be form: logical, univocal, mathematical form’ ‘…many of the contradictions and obstacles the modern movement encountered stemmed from the attempt to separate technical propositions from creative aims.’ ‘The experience of the social-democratic architects of central Europe was based on the unification of administrative power and intellectual proposals.’ ‘Architectural science was totally integrated with the ideology of the plan, and even the formal choices were only variables dependent on it.’ ‘At the base of the urban reorganization led by May and Martin Wagner was the postulate of the intrinsic negativeness of the large city.’ so basically i think he is saying that the planning theories sought to ‘balance’ the city, but the problem inherit in urban development- that it produces disequilibrium- can’t really be tackled only at the level of design
KR notes: Ludwig Hilbersiemer’s Grossstadtarchitektur: the elementary cell and the urban organism: “The single room as the constituent element of the habitation will determine the aspect of the habitation, and since the habitations in turn form blocks, the room will become a factor of urban configuration, which is architecture’s true goal…the planimetric structure of the city will have a substantial influence on the design of the habitation and the room." the cell is the basic structure of a production program the large city is a unity - an “enormous social machine" “The cell is not only the prime element of the continuous production line that concludes with the city, but it is also the element that conditions the dynamics of the aggregations of building structures." the building is not an object but the physical edifice hosting the abstraction of the cell, which is reproducible ad infinitum, and is not tied to space or place the city’s structure dictates the law of assemblage of individual cells H again: “…the general case and the law are emphasized and made evident, while the exception is put aside, the nuance cancelled. What reigns is measure, which constrains chaos to be form…" “The necessity of molding a heterogenous and often gigantic mass of material according to a formal law equally valid for each element involves a reduction of architectonic form…to cubic, geometric forms, which represent the fundamental elements of any architecture." this is less about ‘modernism’ and more about the way the generic elements of architecture have been ripped apart and made to answer to a capitalist logic what is questioned is not design but the parameters and strictures in which design occurs while avant gardes lament the dissolution of the object, H recognizes it is long gone. Tafuri points to a crisis in modern art movements in the failure to “separate technological propositions from creative aims” that is, to become a designer again unfettered by capitalist production the cities of social democracy or Siedlungen (p109) edge cities which were ‘oases of order’ compared to the productive centers’ accumulation regimes which remained intact design-wise, the Constructivist Neue Sachlichkeit process and product destroys the object and the Expressionists exasperated it, pursuing formal paths to the bitter end (despite being unable to address “urban” considerations) - the controversy between intellectuals who made themselves a part of production process and others who exploited last dregs of eclectic romanticism - rear-guard and passe architects gain political-administrative power: Ernst May at Frankfurt, Martin Wagner at Berlin, Fritz Schumacher at Hamburg “improbability, multi functionality, multiplicity, and lack of organic structure - int short, all the contradictory aspects assumed by the modern metropolis…remained outside the attempts at rationalization pursued by central European architecture" formal choices of design are far downstream of ’the ideology of the plan’, pertaining to a ‘minimal unit of production’ or Siedlung which is shaped directly by municipal policy keep in mind German SDP between the wars… very fertile ground politically resolution of contradiction between “masterplanet” urban organization and the passe mechanisms of real estate which actually inhibit rational planning: housing project as assembly line however, just like the SDP was a state within a state, the Siedlungen were cities within cities, with a closed and fragmentary nature, though presented as general models or mass-produced utopias the city was to be seen as a social machine which had been ‘proletarianized’ tho this seems more along Stakhanovite lines than anything else “The city remained an aggregate of parts only minimally unified in its functioning” - so if it is a machine, its a shitty one made by accident: there is no equilibriums in the city of development the Siedlungen were pastoral/anti-urban/reactionary (though presented. “in anticapitalist guise": more Bellamy than Marx: town set again large city, Tönnies against Simmel, Gemeinschaft ((organic) community) vs Gesellschaft (society). technology as model of production line supports anti-urban projects. “a religious sect…a communion of subjects who do not know the anguish of metropolitan alienation" “a desire to regress to the infancy of humanity" anti urban including “advanced plans for the reorganization of residential quarters and regional restructuration…is inevitably destined destined to be reabsorbed and deformed"
Day 7: The Crisis of Utopia From JP: chapter 6 notes
‘If architecture is now synonymous with the organization of production, it is also true that, beyond production itself, distribution and consumption are the determining factors of the cycle.’
The architect takes on a grand role in Corbusier’s project, he is integrating the public into the production process through organization
‘The restructuring of the total urban space and landscape necessitates the rationalization of the overall organization of the city machine.’
Corbusier’s plan represents the most ‘advanced’ form of architectural thinking- to integrate the entire public into the process- but why is it that it has failed?
‘Thus our initial hypothesis is confirmed. Architecture as ideology of the plan is swept away by the reality of the plan when, the level of utopia having been superseded, the plan becomes an operative mechanism.’ <- not sure exactly what this means?? but seems central
This new urban ideology accepts the chaos of the city as ‘inevitable’- and retreats to fantasizing about ‘aesthetic societies’
ok i think the second half is a bit above my head
“the maximum level of programming of productivity coincides with the maximum level of productivity of the spirit" architecture is not just a heuristic for but IS SYNONYMOUS WITH “the organization of production”, and distribution and consumption now join as constituent factors this is achieved thru form - its “maximum articulation” makes the public “an active and participant consumer of the architectural project" this makes the unnatural universe of technological precision (aka the “whole anthropographic landscape”) “authentic and natural” (or at least it attempts to) Corb understands the terrain: offers the call to industrialists to participate while organizing and propagating policy and Modernist approaches with CIAM this is prudent as ‘paleocapitalistic’ and “archaic mechanism of financial investment… such as that of real estate” dangerously impede development Corb’s main innovation is reversing the particular to universal trajectory of Taut/May/Gropius and instead offering a universal which addresses the minute - the urban structure as a whole expresses a new set and scale of values by proposing nothing is left unaltered the particular - the cell - is recapitulated as a flexible object in which personal participation in design appears as the velocity of consumption - the ability to “express its own bad taste" the minimal unit of production is not a one and done object but of the ever-shifting “exigencies of the continual technological revolution” according to new standards which may arise what exists are reconsidered as objects (Casbah, Fort-l’Empereur) to be plugged into a new system of values and thus unified unity is HUGE for Corbusier - a general conception of Humanity free of class divides (precisely as these persist in his own work): proletariat in coastal serpentine and upper middle class remain in Fort-l’Empereur) people are made to participate in the city as intellectual, critical subjects: Van Nelle factory: “The Van Nelle tobacco factory in Rotterdam, a creation of the modern age, has removed all the former connotation of despair from that word ‘proletarian’. And this deflection of the egoistic property instinct towards a feeling for collective action leads to a most happy result: the phenomenon of personal participation in every stage of the human enterprise. Labor retains its fundamental materiality, but it is enlightened by the spirit. I repeat, everything lies in that phrase: a proof of love. It is to this goal, by means of new administrative forms that will purify and amplify it, that we must lead our modern world. Tell us what we are, what we can do to help, why we are working… If you show us such plans and explain them to us, then the old dichotomy between ‘haves’ and despairing ‘have-nots’ will disappear. There will be but a single society, united in belief and action… We will live in an age of strictest rationalism, and this is a matter of conscience.” (from The Radiant City) that said, the urban system he proposes must formally dispense with it - pure topography does not attend to adjacencies or spatial hierarchies (time-space compression?) the construction of a “unitary image” imbued with self-sufficient/manmade symbolic values, the layout and juxtaposition of objects that overcomes the technical distance of the plan by arraying “enormous objects” in a way that implies or creates meaning contradiction between rational and irrational is resolved into the heroic composition of liberty and necessity through moralization of the image - liberty pertaining to elevated consciousness thru participation and necessity through the subjugation of the plan his realism and the general applicability of Plan Obus outpaced the then current development of economic and technological reality, and thus appeared as utopian (also he didn’t have a commission lol) Keynesian ideology: the absorption of dialectical tension into a single image, i.e. Keynes’ “party of catastrophe” which is controlled by shifting focus to another level: “Free oneself from the fear of the future by fixing the future as the present” (Negri) class struggle of the city is transposed into a class-free capital-H human environment of urban machine the ideology of the architectural plan is then itself superseded by the reality of the Keynesian plan - capital has, at long last, managed to coordinate consumption to the fullest degree (see: Lordon and Fordist inducement to consume replacing the ’spur of hunger’) this success produces the crisis in architecture we still feel today, tho cities remain ‘unnationalized’ - as such realism is abandoned for the irrational “utopia of design” (paper architecture), the sublimation of disorder and fatalistic acceptance of ‘disciplinary autonomy' involutionary criticism of internal problems above all thus, the reappearance of art in interest of mediating chaos, that is, mediating distance between chaos utopia, and representing chaos as rich, natural, fecund, fetishizable usage of Marcuse’s ‘Great Refusal’ (and perhaps a bit of Eros & Civilization’s ’surplus repression’) to relocate revolution as ‘potential’ in imagination itself, buttressed by technological progress as such, tech which makes it possible to make art demiurgically, without limits (per Restany) or institutional possibilities of self-disalienation through art (lol Archizoom) and ‘play’ (New Babylon, situationism) “fleeting flashes of static emptiness” (the afterlife of shock)
Day 8: Architecture and its Double: Semiology and Formalism
Day 9: Problems in the Form of a Conclusion The task of true criticism is to elucidate the contours of the “historical and transient” structure of ideology Of course, this “useful criticism” is rejected wholesale by “a type of designing that deliberately flees confrontation with the most pressing problems of the present situation” Capitalist tendencies (laws of motion) tending towards chaos continue to upend the ideology of the plan, as comprehensive (urban, global) planning assumes its magisterial mandate Ideology is rendered ineffective - the radical opposition has “instead inherited the ideologies that capital used in the first phases of its development, but has since rejected” (funnily enough, this is now true of the high state capitalism prior to financialization in which Tafuri is himself writing We are left with the illusion that ‘we’ could develop “our plan”, instead of recognizing the “uselessness of outworn instruments” Tronti in Marx, Labor Power, Working Class: “We have before us no longer the great abstract syntheses of bourgeois thought, but the cult of the most vulgar empiricism as the practices of capital; no longer the logical system of knowledge...but a mass without order of historical facts, disconnected experiences, great deeds that no one ever conceived...Capital no longer manages its own ideology; it has it managed by the working class movement” The crisis of the “ideology of equilibrium” (insofar as planning/programming is concerned) Obviously in contradiction with the phenomenon of combined and uneven development, an “unfeasible idol” - “Indeed the present efforts to make equilibriums work, to connect crisis and development, technological revolution and radical changes of the organic composition of capital, are simply impossible. To aim at the pacific equilibrium of the city and its territory is not an alternative solution, but merely an anachronism.” Thus! The creation of a plan based on not the static parameter but the dynamic model For tafuri this is cybernetic (and, I would say, anticipatory of the great financial reformatting of capital in the 70s and 80s) Second-order cybernetics in particular - cognizant of externalities w/r/t the system, and the always-already failure of static plots “...for architects, the discovery of their decline as active ideologists, the awareness of the enormous technological possibilities available for rationalizing cities and territories, coupled with the daily spectacle of their waste, and the fact that specific design methods become outdated even before it is possible to verify their underlying hypotheses in reality, all create an atmosphere of anxiety.” All watched over by the backward, idiotic fear that architects may themselves fall from the intellectual-professional class “warded off with the most neurotic formal and ideological contortions” “...there is a truth that must be recognized. That is, that the entire cycle of modern architecture and of the new systems of visual communication came into being, developed, and entered into crisis as an enormous attempt - the last to be made by the great bourgeois artistic culture - to resolve, on the always more outdated level of ideology, the imbalances, contradictions, and retardations characteristic of the capitalist reorganization of the world market and productive development. Order and disorder, understood in this way, no longer oppose each other.” “There is no contradiction between Constructivism and the “art of protest”... between capitalist plan and urban chaos; between the ideology of planning and the “poetry of the object”. The ideology of design is crucial to the integration of modern capitalism into every structure and superstructure of human existence, just as the illusion that design can oppose it. ‘Running oppo’ In the last instance, there is no class aesthetic, art, or architecture, but only a class critique of these categories as elements of the city. What’s more, Marxist critique must detonate the unifying “wholes” of art/architecture/city and expose their inner workings and the true level and permeation of their development Internal criticism is irrelevant, the tired ‘ambiguous’ gaspings of a dead bourgeois tradition. Architecture as a whole must be critiqued - not towards a new design, but towards understanding the political-economic score, and as such, a new architecture
Kate’s notes: Basic statement of the problem (p. 170-173)
making buildings has been assimilated into planning and this reduces the “usefulness of architectural ideology.”
- Alternatively, the economic and social contradictions are heightened by the city and therefore have the potential to stop this reorganization of capital.
- The powers that be are not interested in taking on the plans and ideas put forward by the modernist movements, as they would not be efficient for organizing capital within this urban framework.
- Radicals who continue to advocate for earlier planning ideologies that were ultimately rejected by capitalist development become neutered if not co-opted by that development.
- Urban planning itself is a battlefield of class struggle.
- Any class struggle happening regarding the organization of urban space have to deal with the arcane bullshit of urban planning’s technocracy.
- The task at hand thus lies in pitting the organized working class directly against the latest stages of capitalist development. Programming/Equilibrium
- Theory of the plan as dynamic development (organized disequilibrium) (Preobrazensky) vs the traditional reliance on static development (trying to achieve equilibrium) The Plan as New Political Institution
- The program (e.g. a five year plan/a planned economy) vis “decision theory” (flexibility in making decisions within rigid systems) The role played by architecture
- Architects are becoming aware that their ideologies are being ignored and this causes anxiety. The architect’s professional status has declined and his tasks are becoming increasingly compartmentalized and non-ideological
- This leads to a retreat into “neurotic formal and ideological contortions”
- “Instead there is a truth that must be recognized. That is, that the entire cycle of modern architecture and of the new systems of visual communication came into being, developed, and entered into crisis as an enormous attempt…to resolve, on the always more outdated level of ideology, the imbalances, contradictions, and retardations characteristic of the capitalist reorganization of the world market and productive development.” (p. 178)
- Within the framework of historical significance, there are no contradictions between different art movements within the avant garde.
- Architectural design and the fate of capitalist society are inextricable, which includes architectural ideology. Resistance to that assimilation through the means of other forms of design is futile.
- A Marxist criticism of this ideology involves “demystify[ing] the contingent and historical realities, devoid of objectivity and universality, that are hidden behind the unifying terms of art, architecture, and city. It would likewise recognize the new levels attained by capitalist development, with which recognitions the class movements should be confronted.” (179) Intellectual Illusions of Architecture:
- That “by means of the image alone” architecture can anticipate the conditions “for a liberated society.”
- Modern architecture “has marked out its own fate by making itself, within an autonomous political strategy, the bearer of ideals of rationalization by which the working class is affected only in the second instance.” This is hard to accept for architects “desperately attached to disciplinary ideologies.” (181)
- “the crisis of modern architecture is not the result of “tiredness” or “dissipation.” It is rather a crisis of the ideological function of architecture.” (181)
- The end of modern art reveals a conflict between objective goals and self-indulgent reflection and an inevitable commercialization.
- It is useless to offer “purely architectural alternatives.”
- Only after “having done away with any disciplinary ideology is it permissible to take up the subject of the new roles of the technician, of the organizer of building activity, and of the planner, within the compass of the new forms of capitalist development. And thus also to consider the possible tangencies or inevitable contradictions between such a type of technical-intellectual work and the material conditions of the class struggle.” (182)
- “the principle task of ideological criticism is to do away with impotent and ineffectual myths, which so often serve as illusions that permit the survival of anachronistic ‘hopes in design.’” (182)
Tafuri - Architecture & Utopia
Form as Regressive Utopia
“the crisis of the traditional concept of form” ---
The crisis of form is the immanent crisis of bourgeois society. While it is the case that capitalist production continually develops to outstrip the barriers to its expansion, that very means of expansion always remains intimately tied to the social relations of dead generations that allow for the reproduction of capital initially. The contradiction for bourgeois society is the appearance of form as objective determination against the shifting balances at work in the relations between subjects that comprise this form’s content. Form is that which we can discern from the overarching forces at play of competition amongst capitals and struggles between classes driving conditions of production towards equalization, despite the anarchic “organization” of commodity production and capital’s property relations. While all attempts must be made to maintain this order as tradition, its stability is always undermined by the contingencies of movement between content.
“art was to have difficulty in finding any suitable road by which to follow the developments of urban reality”
The aesthetic follows the political, either in a manner that may reflect the realities of struggle or to mystify this reality in attempts to appear its determinant. As the crisis of form continues to reveal itself to be an explosive struggle in the relations of its content, confusion erupts in the attempts to follow this entropic surge.
“eclecticism and plurality of expression was the proper answer to the multiple disintegrative stimuli induced by the new physical environment configured by technology's "universe of precision.” ---
Cities are not natural phenomena proceeding from organic laws of our species’ evolution. Their development is determined in the last instance by the economic conditions that necessitate their existence. The abilities of the accelerated technological developments brought about by capitalist production’s drive to increase the exploitation of labor-power towards the ends of maximizing surplus labor time, the core of surplus value, present humanity with an unfounded ability of precision in execution of agency. Constraints to this, however, still hinder any truly conscious implementation, this of course still subordinate to the conditions required to reproduce the atomized state of generalized commodity production. “Plurality of expression” is a reflection of the proliferation of private capitals, the basis of this “disintegrative stimuli” in the erosion of the national positioning of capital in the course of its internationalization.
“But architecture, at least as traditionally conceived, is a stable structure, which gives form to permanent values and consolidates urban morphology. Those wishing to give up this traditional conception and bind architecture instead to the destiny of the city, had only to regard the city as the specific place of technological production--and the city itself as a technological product-thus reducing architecture to a mere link in the production chain.” ---
As the “destiny of the city” increasingly becomes its place in the production chain of globalized processes of commodity production and circulation, the stability of architecture as guarantor of form is called into question. Betrayed here is the formal stability of any state of order, its gradual erosion a matter of the continually developing relations of its content forcing a shift in appearance. The disintegration of the “permanent values” that “consolidates urban morphology” is a result of the developments in the city as a concentrated site in the management and execution of processes of capital accumulation. The city’s destiny is ultimately subject to the reorganization of the relations of labor and capital that are demanded of capital at the present moments of its development. The appearance of form changes with what is required to maintain the stability of the relation of exploitation that capital demands.
“Humanitarian utopianism and radical criticism had an unexpected effect: they convinced the bourgeoisie to examine for themselves this problem of the accord between rationality and irrationality.”
The bourgeoisie, in absorbing the insights of critiques that expose the reality of the appearance of the city’s claims to rational organization, yet irrational distribution of social wealth, provoke a crisis in bourgeois ideology, and thus too a conflict in the uniformity of this ideology in claims to legitimacy. Utopia’s presupposition of dystopia renders it fatally flawed to resolve the irrationalities of the world as it appears to the project. Ultimately all that is seen is an option between alternative mystifications, and political will rendered impotent by the illusions to its independence from the conditions that necessitate it.
“For all that has been said, it will be seen that this problem is intrinsic to the formation of the urban ideology. And in the abstract, it is familiar to all the figurative arts of the nineteenth century, since the very origin of romantic eclecticism was the redemption of ambiguity as a critical value in itself: exactly that ambiguity pushed to the extreme by Piranesi. What had allowed Piranesi to mediate the terrifying prophecy of the eclipse of the sacred, with primitivistic nostalgia and flights into the sublime, is also what allowed romantic eclecticism to make itself the interpreter of the merciless commercialization of the human environment, by immersing in it particles of completely worn-out values, presented in all their contorted muteness and falsity, as if to demonstrate that no subjective effort can regain an authenticity lost forever.” ---
“By doing away with the romantic dream of a mere incidence of subjective action on the destiny of society, the fact that the very concept of destiny is a creation stemming from the new relationships of production became clear to bourgeois thought. As a sublimation of real phenomena, the courageous acceptance of destiny-a fundamental of the bourgeois ethic-was able to redeem the misery and impoverishment which that "destiny" itself had induced at all levels of civil life, and above all in its archform: the city.” ---
These two passages from the chapter stand out the most to me as a succinct juxtaposition that clarifies the specific critique of urban ideology in bourgeois society. Destiny as a distinct creation of bourgeois society is to serve the ends of asserting the dominant relationships of production that reproduce capital as an eternal state. Perhaps in this sense Weber might have clarified his characterization of capital’s ethos as distinctly Calvinist. In Marx’s analysis of the value-form, the aim is to investigate the relational content of the forms of value, the inherent contradiction between its constitutive expressions of use and exchange, to dive further into the social relations that presuppose these contradictory expressions, and thus reveal a subjective content to the objective appearance of formal consistency. Bourgeois ideology’s inclinations towards assumptions of predestination are the thought of a class that requires such conditions for its maintenance and reproduction. To do away with “the romantic dream of a mere incidence of subjective action on the destiny of society” is the goal of class domination and the assurance of the present order of society into the foreseeable future. Marx’s implementation of the Hegelian dialectical method, however, undoes the mystification of the ideological constructions which uphold this order as eternal. For Hegel, the object only comes into being through a subject’s apprehension of the object, and through its experience of and engagement with the object, so does the subject transform it. The investigation of the value-form and the analysis of the social relations that reveal the underlying subjectivities is to demonstrate the political realities internal to what is presented as objective, and to fundamentally demonstrate not only the historical transience that these contradictions necessitate, but the possibility that this may be acted upon and ultimately transformed by a subjective political agent external and antithetical to this present state of affairs. The burdensome weight of the classical architectural forms of the old bourgeois city is precisely the cumbersome weight of history that bourgeois society finds so intolerable. It is the threat of history that the bourgeoisie so frequently lashes out at, taking increasingly desperate measures to prevent it from ever being made, let alone apprehended as possible. The proliferation of romantic eclecticism, of the “critical value” of ambiguity, lies in its obfuscation of time. Value as that which results from acts of production, demonstrates the romantic eclecticism and pluralisms of architecture as adaptations in the state of bourgeois society at the conjuncture of this writing. The old classicism demonstrates value in the symbol of the national capital, Washington D.C. an exemplary model of invoking the Roman empire in the triumph of a model of bourgeois dictatorship, masquerading as emancipatory republicanism. As capital’s internationalization through the expansion of global links of production and trade interact with its concentration in the metropole of the city, the aesthetic portrayals of bourgeois society’s domination too give way to the pressures of this expansion. Value becomes expressed in demonstrations of both the vulgarities of private capitals atop incredible masses of fictitious profits derived from speculation (postmodern design) and the cheap commodity production that the almost universal overcapacity that global production allows, as reflected in the uniform blandness of “luxury” rental housing construction booms. The cumulative shock effect of these is indicated in the effect that it may “demonstrate that no subjective effort can regain an authenticity lost forever,” that in this complete commercialization, the increasingly obvious “destiny” of the city placed in service to its function in exploitation and value’s realization of itself as object, there remains no possibility that subjectivity can transform this object. Bourgeois ideology’s legitimacy hinges on the supremacy of the appearance of society as mechanism, objective determinism as the course of a history that must be anything but, by any means necessary.
Ideology & Utopia
“Ultimately the problem is that of evaluating the significance given in the early part of our century to utopia as a project.”
“The unproductiveness of intellectual work was the crime that weighed upon the conscience of the cultural world of the nineteenth century, and which advanced ideologies had to overcome. To turn ideology into utopia thus became imperative. In order to survive, ideology had to negate itself as such, break its own crystallized forms, and throw itself entirely into the "construction of the future." This revision of ideology was thus a project for establishing the dominion of a realized ideology over the forms of development.”
“If the subject is now the system, liberty from value is liberty from subjectivity itself. The relativity of value must not be the object of new "sacred sciences. The desacralization of intellectual activity is but the necessary premise for the correct functioning of that activity within the process of self-rationalization of that system.”
“a renewed bourgeoisie, capable of accepting doubt as the premise for the full acceptance of existence as a whole, as explosive, revolutionary vitality, prepared for permanent change and the unpredictable.”
“What Walter Benjamin calls the "end of the aura" expresses this exactly: the integration of the subjective moment with the complex mechanism of rationalization, but at the same time the identification of an "ethic of rationalization" completely directed upon itself. The processes of the concentration of capital, its socialization, and the constant rise of its organic composition make such an ethic necessary. This is no longer presented as an external value; it is removed from the relativity of ideological invention. The ethic of development has to be realized together with development, within development's processes. The promise of liberation from the machine can only arise from an accurately controlled image of the future.”
“Even in its most elevated form, the one made manifest in utopia, ideology is in contradiction with the developed capitalist system. It is no longer of any use to simply establish that the negative is inherent in the system. The problem posed is completely "technical, completely concerned with identifying, within the economic-productive base, the real, concrete factors which actually make this "negativity" (the negative of the working class) function as a "necessity" intrinsic to the processes of the system. No longer Hegel but Keynes, not the ineffectual ideology of plans but the plan in the concreteness of its development, not the ideology of the New Deal but post-Keynesian economy. Ideology, become concrete and stripped of any trace of utopianism, now descends directly into individual fields of endeavor; which is the same as saying that it is suppressed. All the bourgeois talk about the "crisis of ideology" hides precisely this reality. The lament over the crisis is only an indication of an unhealthy nostalgia for the tradition based on Kultur's ineffectuality.”
“These two movements have but one ultimate significance. The inte_llectual avant-garde had to occupy an area from which until now it had attentively kept its distance: that of work. It being no longer possible to maintain the distance from productive work, which in the past had ensured the sacredness of intellectual research, there was nothing for the intellectual avantgarde to do but voluntarily take the plunge. This, however, implied the destruction of its own classic role.”
“Ford does not presume that the intellectual enter directly into control of the production cycle, but he does presume that the intellectual's contribution clearly and explicitly "attributes sense" to that cycle. By entering the sphere of work, ideological production is simultaneously attracted and repelled. On the one hand, it is asked to produce global models. In this task the work of pure reason must not be divorced from social ends: the innovating models must correspond simultaneously to the needs of given moments, both for the restructuring of the production cycle and for the distribution of merchandise. On the other hand, ideology must have a direct effect on the socialization of consumption.”
“Productive capital clearly felt the need to separate from unproductive and parasitic capital, and this need expressed by Rathenau coincided with those advanced by the urban planners.”
“This anti-institutional phase of the avant-garde intelligentsia is thus seen to have been of use in the criticism of outworn values. All the work of demolition served to prepare a clean-swept platform from which to depart in discovery of the new "historic tasks" of intellectual work. It should also be born in mind that these historic tasks carried on a dialogue with two different interlocutors simultaneously. In the first place there was the mystic colloquy with capital, understood as abstract technology, or as the universal productive subject. In the second place, there was the mystic colloquy with the masses, understood as an equally abstract subject, endowed with an ethical significance (the O'Mench of Expressionism and Linkskommunismus). Ideology assumed for itself the task of unifying the subject and the object of production. In other words, ideology was transformed into capitalistic-industrial utopia. And this is true whether it took the form of ideology completely involved with the work process, or ideology as an abstract project of the socialization of work.”
“It is therefore important to understand both the subjective character of the choice made by intellectual work, and the constant marginalization it underwent within capitalist development. Utopia became of service to development as a reserve of tendentious models and as an arm for the extraction of consensus. It is clear that these functions of utopia were to be in crisis each time the objectives of the tendentious models were required to prove themselves in reality, and each time that manipulation of consensus showed itself to be unsuited to the aims of development...The aspiration to the autonomy of intellectual endeavor was a continuation of the project for recovering the subjectivity expropriated by the capitalist division of work. Intellectual work as "class service" was a project for restoring-indirectly-that same subjectivity to the class from which it had been expropriated. It seems hardly necessary to underline the "poverty" of these two ideological directions; I am here only exposing the complementary character of their objectives.”
“Salvation lies no longer in "revolt," but in surrender without discretion. Only a humanity that has absorbed and made its own the ideology of work, that does not persist in considering production and organization something other than itself or simply instruments, that recognizes itself to be part of a comprehensive plan and as such fully accepts that it must function as the cogwheels of a global machine: only this humanity can atone for its" original sin. And this sin is not in having created a system of means without knowing how to control the "revolt of the objects" against their inventor, as Lowith and the young Lukacs understood Marxist alienation. This sin consists instead in man's "diabolical" insistence on remaining man, in taking his place as an "imperfect machine" in a social universe in which the only consistent behavior is that of pure silence.”