Posts Tagged ‘ divergent thinking ’

Thesis idea: Utopia-is this what the myth of modernism looks like(Ted talk by Mikko Hypponen: How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust)

I was currently studying a text by Frederic Jameson called “Of islands and trenches: Naturalization and product of utopian discourse”, for my History and Theory course. This is a text which analyses other texts which speculate on utopia, it references a huge amount of literature, most of it fiction along with philosophy and theory. The more I read of it the more I started questioning its relevance, in this day and age. I didn`t understand why is it important to analyze speculations on Utopias seen through the spectrum of Sci-fi writers or similar fantastic set-up. So I`ve done some digging, I`ve spoken with my tutor who has read some stuff here and there, by which I mean an amount that I cannot currently even try to have the arrogance to admit that I would be able to comprehend, and also I`ve found this interesting video that just popped up. So I started thinking upon the information I had and ended up considering that it is fundamentally relevant to discuss the concept of Utopia.

In the text it is referred to Levi Strauss` interpretation of the myth, which he considers a device for mediation. A circumstance that cannot be solved in the current sociopolitical context of the society is discussed or speculated upon through a myth. Which leads to eventually the myth of the Utopian context which is represented through a series of fiction texts that attempted to create a perfect Utopian world. What I found most interesting is that they all failed, even in fictional literature, the authors had to come to compromises or deux ex machina devices to solve the complications that would arise within the dense system of what utopia actually is. Some of the fundamental rules would be that money is no longer a thing and there is no such thing as crime, which sound ludicrous if we would apply them to our own society. And yet this dream/myth was pursued with great energies by the modernists, and failed to deliver it. But it’s not my belief it was a complete disaster or a complete travesty of their concept, but that some of it should be salvaged along with what was not flamboyant irony in post-modernism. The pursuit of this myth of utopia cannot be pursued blindly, as it was by the modernists because it produces the anomalies of places like Dubai, which in my opinion are similar growths to that of cancer within a body, places like Beijing where the air is un-breathable, and places like Kowloon city which although they might look like hell on earth it might actually be closer to an utopia than we might think at first glance.

And I started asking myself, why did they not deliver? Why did the great minds of the modernists fail in their crusade for the gates of Utopia. I believe it`s because their hands were tied. They could not act fast enough, or react accordingly with the world which grew so fast it overwhelmed them. The ever-growing capitalist machine did not care for the utopia, it wanted things to happen fast, and used the overrated axiom of Less is More just to validate their impending needs. The modernists were not blind to this and realized that their influence is shockingly limited, and what could not be achieved in the real world was attempted to be achieved on paper. And I think this was a complete fetishism on their part because they didn`t had the power to act. Eventually some of the so-called utopias were build and failed exceptionally fast. I think what was fundamentally wrong in LeCorbusier`s approach to it for instance was the all but complete use of tabula rasa. The massacre of Marseille for instance he would wipe completely a part of Paris, he would decide what is relevant to keep as an artifact of the former civilization and to rebuild everything in his own vision of what Utopia should be.

Is this approach a correct one or a fair one? Doesn`t this sound like how corporate-towns pop up in the middle of the desert in the proximity of oil. Is this not a complete disregard of cultural identity, of regional tradition and an insult to the French people? (Or maybe not, the French never knew what they wanted.) The problems of the traditional city are obvious, Collin Rowe explains that quite eloquently in Collage city, but what are we willing to sacrifice for utopia? Our identities? Our character? Our pride? And as the link above states, our privacy? Utopia means a complete lack of the organic, of actually what makes us human, living as a lobotomized zombie, although that`s what any corporate would want for most of us, it doesn`t really sound fun, now does it? And I feel that`s exactly what this type of international style artificial architecture is doing. The loss of cultural identity instills a sense of complacent`ness (there I go inventing words now) by default. Everything is the same and you could be from anywhere, although it creates a comfort zone, it limits your identity. Other newly formed states like America try to deliver its patriotism through a propaganda agenda with the gist of it in 3 words : the American dream, which has led eventually to be used for naive chauvinistic dialogues with foreigners.

But I`m not here to discuss American problems, and why isn`t Kafka ever brought up in these kind of discussions, his dense monstrous machinations work in all intents and purposes as utopian dystopias, funny right? why do I say that, and I am referring now to the castle mostly, because the system works perfectly, and although they seem to have internal conflicts, that is all just a facade because they only seem as conflicts in K.`s eyes, for everyone else it is just how things normally happen, should happen and will ever happen. Everything in that machine seemed to work to perfection until you add the human element to it, the protagonist, who cannot comprehend the space he is thrown within, and no matter how many layers he unfolds and how much more information he discovers, he cannot seem to integrate himself within the system, or to actually understand it. He cannot be part of it, he is fundamentally different and cannot comprehend the utopia. So how could we try to even speculate that we might be capable to comprehend it in real life, we can`t it is absurd. Is Marxism the key for utopia? Is an implosion of classes in the proletarian masses an answer? No it is an impossibility as well. (I`ll address that in the second draft of this essay, who knows when) I`ve recently read a funny little book I came across : Animal Farm, by George Orwell, which is basically the recent history of all post-communist countries. It is uncanny how accurate it is. Extreme communism is a failure as a doctrine, it must never be employed on anyone in my opinion. But a socialist approach might solve some of the social-economical crisis of the extreme lob-sided distribution of money to the populous.

Economy is catering for the elitist few, culture and art for the masses have all but been reduced to kitsch and pseudo-intellectualism, this is a process that began with the totalitarian regimes, which actually didn`t have much against post modern art (except for Hitler, but that didn`t stop Goebbels to have his little charades) argues Clement Greenberg, they found it to innocent to use in propaganda, but eventually realized that it is not feasible to sustain a culture that is understood by the privileged few, and decided to completely redirect culture towards the masses. The best example of it is Mussolini`s regime, who at first were promoting a futuristic mentality, showing that fascism is an progressive regime, and it is in tune with modernism, but when realizing that the masses could not understand or identify with the new current, he killed it with the extremely megalomaniac gesture of his monumentalist architectural program.

A lot of this is speculation on my part, but this is a thing that caught my interest, and I decided to write a thesis on it, (Because I can!), there is a lot of reading to do, I want to attack the Heideggerian position of Architecture, I want to clarify my own position as an individual in relation with the meta-modernist approach. I want to discuss what can be salvaged, and what is usable of modernism and post`modernism. This is a radical approach to architecture, that I am studying now, and might be the next step in all arts. This is an extremely vast subject to debate, I left a lot of ideas out, and all of them are incomplete at the moment, I don`t have a scope on this work yet but I`ll set it to maybe 100 000 words. But it will have to be done over the course of a year or two, who knows…Any comments at all, and especially criticism is highly appreciated. Any suggestions on reading material is welcomed as well, but the list is outrageously as it is 🙂 Thanks for reading.


Sohei Nishino

Interesting reinterpretation of the urban context. It grasps the chaotic growth of the metropolis in an uncanny, organic way, showing a side of the modern city that was never dealt with. The modernists promised us the ideal of the gestalt, but felt too short and crumbled under the heavy boot of capitalism, while their doctrine of form follows function became nothing more than an excuse to build boxes. And then came the glass boxes, stacked on top of the other, the gargantuan machines that maintain their interior metal bowels at the expense of the breathable air outside. It almost like there is no answer: this is the city center, there is nothing we can do about it, better build up, better build out of glass because it`s light weight, who knows how much temperature management would cost, but then again who cares, who cares about the traffic density`s impact or about how breathable the outside air is, because everyone spends all their time inside the glass box where the air is clean, arrive there through a means of mechanized transport, and besides outside is dangerous anyway. Interesting enough we happen to live in the 21st century, the age of information, things don`t have to be in the same place in order to happen. There are oceans of information on our finger tips, in less than a minute we can be anywhere on the globe. So the question is why is everything so centralized, maybe this is the normal evolutionary status of human activity. Just like nature tends to dissipate, to exhaust its energy in order to achieve equilibrium, we tend to conglomerate in our attraction towards being where its at, where stuff happens, to concentrate, gather,vibrate just like ants over a dead rat. How can anyone build a glass box with no windows and claim it was raised in the spirit of the gestalt, it seems to be very compelling to agree at first glance: it`s a glass box, its cohesive, its consistent and no part of it is better than the whole. But that is a very fetishistic, perverse and almost juvenile way to look at it, because the object does not exist in a pocked dimension that can be observed through a tiny keyhole that exists under the architects desk so you can properly bend over in front of the creator of such a magnificent masterpiece. Whats the glass box`s relationship with the surrounding buildings ? Whats its relationship with the people outside or inside for that matter? Is it critical about its surroundings? Is it a technological breakthrough in something else than stacking glass on top of steel? Is it complex and original work of art that is critical of itself? Does it have an poetic subtext only visible to the trained eye? Is it a satirical interpretation of the human condition???maybe?? NO! Then where is the architecture, where is the frozen music, where is the abstract or the erotic? Because I don`t see it, all I see is glass boxes that shatter fundamental concepts on how life should be lived.


These maps of famous cities by Sohei Nishino encapsulate the bustle of the metropolis in the modern world. Skewed and twisted, the irregularity and flexibility of city life is conveyed through the warped pieces of the cityscape.

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Nishino’s collage represent his experience of the cities he painstakingly combed through; photographing as many places as possible, from all angles he could chance upon. The work is not about creating a precise geographic recreation of a cityscape, but instead an emotive scale is applied to the imperfect mix of monuments and landmarks, to re-create the image of the city through his own lens and his own hands.

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Suprematist art a lie?

Ok for some reason, I cannot publish the actual article so there you go an link to it, feel free to comment as you wish.Dynamic Suprematism 1915 or 1916 by Kasimir Malevich 1878-1935Ok for some reason, I cannot publish the actual article so there you go an link to it, feel free to comment as you wish.

Suprematist art a lie?

Dynamic Suprematism 1915 or 1916 by Kasimir Malevich 1878-1935

Suprematism was a current that started in Russia in 1913 founded by Kazimir Malevich, depicting compositions or constellations of basic geometric forms such as squares, circles, lines etc. But the point of this post is not to explain the current, you can wiki it or grab a book (haha). The main course is this:

The most expensive piece of Russian art ever created and sold was the Suprematist composition by Malevich, it was sold for 60 million dollars. And the question at hand is why? Why does it value that much?april 2008

They say that suprematism renounces any tangent with reality and refers or depicts “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling”.

Under Suprematism I understand the primacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth.

And I was wondering what is this so called pure artistic feeling? Where does this vision of dynamic-static geometry come from? Isn`t everything we do a reaction to an exterior factor? When did anyone do something for absolutely no reason without expecting any reaction from it? I think what they were saying is that they were not depicting an object, they were creating the object, they were objectifying the abstract. So all the compositions were their attempts of resolving graphically their spiritual conditions, which means that when they said that they produced art devoid of the concept of the object, not serving religion, politics or anything, it was a lie. They were depicting the object just as any other artist would do it, by interpreting it through their own spectrum of understanding by using constellations of basic geometric shapes. Basically what I`m saying is that they were painting in regard with their spiritual and emotional condition they were in at that particular moment, but if you ask them why they felt that way, well its obviously because of the object they dismissed so much, because of politics, religion, or waking up on the wrong side of the bed for that matter. Thus in reality there is not such a big difference between suprematist art and any other art form. Or is it?black-square-and-red-square-1915

…a blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity drew me forth into a “desert”, where nothing is real except feeling… (“Suprematism”, Part II of The Non-Objective World)

Another iconic painting was Malevich`s Black square and red square. The creative process was over-imposing a canvas to a painting of the virgin Mary and Jesus Christ as a child, and drew the squares where their faces would be. After this exercise Malevich resolved the composition. What does “resolved” mean?? What happened was that he moved the red square under the black square, and rotated it slightly. Was that the pure artistic feeling or was it a lie? Besides the fact that the painting was a recreation of an object in a different manner, what further artistic or intellectual ambition has that “resolving” of the composition bestowed upon it? I personally have no answer to it, but some people hold his art in extremely high regard, and I want to know if it is anything else besides the fact that he came up with it first. And comparing Black square and red square to the painting it was based on would be like comparing Saturn devouring his son by Goya with the one by Rubens, same image, same object, depicted by different artists in different manners, from different artistic currents.

As a final point, wasn`t art supposed to transmit feelings as well, wasn`t the point of it to be observed and emotionally relevant? White on white was a breakthrough from polychrome to monochrome suprematism? But looking at it, it doesn`t really evoke any emotional response, so why was it created? Why was an object that had the sole role of existing be created, was it just some sort of personal, emotional, visual diary? Just grab a piece of canvas and depict the way you are feeling right at that moment through basic geometry kind of thing? Well then why would his feelings be more relevant than any other person’s feelings? With a months of exercise and compositional routine, we`d have a Malevich at every crossroad, depicting his feelings through shapes.url22

I was going to write a lot more, but I don`t want to make this post daunting to read, what I truly want to start an aesthetical debate on why are those paintings valued so much, further more I`m not dismissing them or trying to undermine their value, I`m trying to communicate and understand. Was the suprematist doctrine a sincere and truthfully impactful artistic current, or was it a lie to “resolve” aesthetically pleasing compositions?

P.S. Malevich died poor.

Why am I so great ?

A bloke called Michael Chadwick asked me this question and demanded an answer, why am I such a great architect and why should people commission me?


Well I believe I`m so great not because I have decent 3ds max skills or because I can read and understand philosophy and architectural theory, or because I do massive models or for my godlike autocad speed. But because I believe in myself, I believe I am capable of any feat that any other human was capable of. I believe that the only barriers that the human mind has are self-imposed, how can the mind that its own existence is a quasi-paradox, using itself to understand itself, be limited by exterior factors? So if I am asked and motivated to achieve anything, there is nothing stopping me to do so, except of course myself. Anything that has been done before I can master in a reasonable amount of time, but the interesting part is when I do something never before seen.


And now it’s a random rant, apparently people want to know how I think, or if I`m actually capable of that.


Furthermore, existence is meaningless without the human mind, without the observer to acknowledge a phenomena, it might very well not happen. Nothing has value without any observer to bestow it upon the object. Reality is only perception but it is easily to fool ourselves otherwise. They say you dies twice, once when you stop breathing and a bit later when somebody says your name for the last time (Banksy), but that is based on deduction, empirically there is now way to test if that is relevant to the deceased because well, you only get to die once, so we don`t get to know how much your legacy matters after you die. I think everyone squirms about leaving things unfinished and about their legacy under the feeling of impending doom, best example is Alfred Nobel. Back to the subject of the rant I was on, for example there would be no architecture without the presence of the human mind acknowledge it, it would be just objects. Architectural is not an attribute of the object, but it is an abstract concept of the cognitive system.

As all things in the universe tend to equilibrium, the only noise is the human mind, yelling across the planet Earth. We are breaking equilibrium with every action we take, by investing energy into otherwise decaying materials we create the whole world around us, from metal we make screws and from rocks we make cities. We harness nature`s energies to compensate the low output of our bodies and we are able to extend the boundaries of our existence millions and millions of times over. A mate argued that the only real discovery humankind actually made was fire. As soon as they discovered fire, they were no longer using their bodies as a primary source of energy thus extending their grasp over the their environment. All of human creation goes back to that initial spark, the road seems so slow and lob-sided that people don`t tend to relate modern technology to it. We evolved in the past 100 years more than in the past 10000, it was exponential and uncontrolled, but more-so uneven, but I won`t get dragged into political tangents, at least not without a proper brew.


This rant is dedicated to Mike, I`ll post more as I feel the need to talk about stuff that just pops up :). In the meanwhile I`ll be back to finishing The Castle by Kafka, recommend to all wouldbe-humans.