Posts Tagged ‘ Education ’

Whys is Utopia fundamentally relevant to understand today

So I`ve refined the ideas I got from the decline and fall of utopia from Collage City by Colin Rowe, The Arcades project by Walter Benjamin, and Of islands and trenches by Frederich Jameson in a more civilized way than my previous rant which was full of assumptions and lacked cohesion. I`ll continue my quest in reading, next stop will be meta-modernism, but I`ll be posting more visuals/work in the meanwhile.


In the text by Frederich Jameson 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 eventually leads to 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 followed through 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. Dubai can perfectly replace the Arcades of Benjamin in an absolute exaggeration which he could not even imagine. It is the extreme place for flanerie, through its unreasonableness. The urban context presented by Dubai is so extremely artificial it can no longer identify itself with any culture, but that of the capitalist extreme consumer. When it came into being, there were no sanitation systems in place, people just threw their garbage outside their homes, until it stacked up in mountains. The only reason that happened was because of the stigma of even owning the garbage business. People were so convicted by their own arrogance that they preferred to live among mountains of salubrious waste rather than receive than to go as low as to clean after themselves. Eventually a French company took over, with only French personnel and equipment. In Dubai people become commodities, the privilege of living there is quantified by the idea that other people see you. Dubai in the grand arcade of the world would be the most expensive shop that instead of displaying merchandise, it displays naked people, naked of their culture and identity. The rest of the world observes them, and fails to see the devaluation of the human condition that Walter Benjamin saw almost 80 years ago. The phantasmagorical spectacle is absolute. But culture is so deformed there that the concept of utopia defeated itself, and instead of becoming a city of mind, it became a city of blissful ignorance, a capitalistic heaven for the blind.

I think the Walter Benjamin text completes the one of Collin Rowe, because in the end it seems that the first chapter of Collage city falls flat, with little conclusions while it Benjamin`s text appears to be a lot more relevant towards our day and age although it was written a whopping 40 years before. Benjamin could foresee the cult of the commodity which is reigning today along with the travesty of cultural values, maybe in effect to Adorno`s influence, but he did so without even witnessing the downfall of modernism during the second world war, where the leaders of totalitarian countries realized that it is not feasible to maintain a level of culture that would only serve high society, thus replacing authentic art with kitsch and serving it to the masses, as presented by Greenberg in Art and Culture. Best example is Mussolini. In 1972 John Berger talks in his show Ways of seeing about the false mystification and religiosity European art gained to compensate for what it lost when it became reproducible. The methods of reproduction worked in retrospective, turning art that was painted centuries ago into commodities that can be manipulated for any purposes. Because of that people have the misconception that they should feel in awe while standing in front of an work of art, because of its originality and its survival across the ages, which is partially true, but what the vast majority tends to forget that most European art should be viewed as a window towards the time it was painted.

Maybe the modernists failed to deliver the utopia because they never took it further, it remained based on Hegels organization of the world which is based on the Platonic conception of 2 worlds. Hegels states that there is a natural material universe and a historical spiritual one, both guided by Providence, which means a divine, therefore rational creation is still in progress. But providence should not be mistaken with God in this context, because I believe it was referring to humanity. And under this paradigm, the modernist architect took place of Providence in order to create the natural material universe( the utopia ), but in a selfish vision. Maybe If more modern philosophy would had been employed such as Nietzsche`s perspectivism, the modernists could have conserved much more of the traditional culture they were destroying in their race for utopia, while also delivering a better result, and by that I don`t mean utopia, but an at least more ameliorated version of the cultural hazard of today. Did the idea of Utopia ever change after the 20s? It actually never changed since the platonic version of it, the modernists added some depth to it and used it as a façade to butcher the traditional city, there is no difference in what Haussmann did to Paris in order to secure the city against civil wall by making barricading impossible, to what Corbusier did with Plain Voisin. Utopia did change in literature but it was a completely fictitious pursuit of perfection, but Xenokis did attack Frank Lloyd Wright and LeCorbusier altogether when he says: “The problems of urban concentration are not going to be solved by the vigorous pencil slashes of decentralization on the map, nor by advocating the dispersal of the living complexity of Paris into smaller centers which will simply reduplicate its inconvenience, but rather” adds Frederich Jameson, “by energetic attention to the general problem of communication, of exchange and information in urban agglomeration.”

The exchanged of information became instant but that only led to mass propaganda, led to a sedated society completely under capitalist control. The phantasmagorical spectacle that is a central point of the arcades project became the central point of modern life. One must be highly cynical and well versed in the arts to be able to defend himself from the unstoppable torrent of kitsch and propaganda that is attacking us from every angle, Tv, internet, magazines, smartphones etc.

Truths become more absolute than ever, the pseudo-demystification of existence is achieved at the cost of the loss of perspective, people start relying less and less on their own wits and more on what is dictated by the media. If our fathers asked themselves why do they need to read and understand whole libraries under the argument that the information is there anyway in case they needed it, our generation asks itself if there is anything to learn about when Google has the answer to anything, and if it`s not there it probably does not exist.

There are no absolute truths, even time is relative with that idea, unless we believe in them absolutely.

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.

Learning Rhino

I`ve just picked up Rhinoceros v4.0 yesterday and started learning it, this post is just a summary of my workflow, and it has not been arranged in any particular order because its 3 AM, and I`m tired 🙂 this is one day of experimenting. (rendered in max using Vray, I can also answer questions through the comments if you need some tips on how to get renders like this, I am aware that they are very unprofessional, but I`m working on it 😀 )

1lamp 2lamp 3lamp wtflamp shitty wood lamplol lamp lamlamp negura bluelamp lastlamp shadow blue lamp goolamp snakey the snake lava snake sn cromesn snake long one azure frost drake bluedrake whitesnake orangeserpent sbla LEGGO LEGOGO legogogogo red lego fallen lego legomore

LEGO chrome lego sxsx sasa glassy glass of juice empty glass crystal glassowine soda i think glasowine2 freaky glass lol glowyglass red_wine_in_arch_glass

Susan Buck-Morss: The City as Dreamworld and Catastrophe

just read this, thought it was pretty interesting, and it kind of aligned with what I was about with the whole Percy thing. Enjoy 🙂

Kevin Rhowbotham

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Urban dweller (aka Percy) with a hint of personal manifesto

The final product is here. This work is targeted at a lot of the modern urban architecture.

DSCN0344 title the word cloud DSCN0368 DSCN0365 DSCN0364 DSCN0362 DSCN0361 DSCN0360 DSCN0359 DSCN0358The main idea is that a lot of modern architecture is devoid of concept and does nothing to deal with the human condition, it is reluctant to communicate with it and suffices to cover it up. If we are the sum of our past experiences, then whole civilizations were shaped by the architecture that surrounds them. Percy is the type of human that is shaped by the current condition, while architecture instead of being a stage for life, celebrating it, it is a placeless object that can be devoid of context, concept or intellectual ambition.  DSCN0357 DSCN0356 DSCN0355 DSCN0354

It is my belief that architecture is a concept so abstract that it can never be attributed to the object, but it is the property of the human mind. Percy is feeling good dressed in random parametric shapes because he doesn`t know how to feel about it, he doesn`t know how to express about it and he doesn`t know how to distinguish architecture from buildings. The actual and extremely difficult task of the new generation of architects is to help Percy acknowledge their architecture rather than their buildings.DSCN0353 DSCN0352 DSCN0351 DSCN0350

The only reality is perception, we as architects are modeling reality, altering environments and manipulating the senses, before the 1950s or so architecture shaped the humans more than any media, but since then it was a slow but progressive losing battle with television and internet. Architecture was equal to home, tradition, authority, identity etc. We need to fight back and create places rather than spaces. DSCN0349 DSCN0348 DSCN0347 DSCN0346This is not the end of Percy, he will continue to be a work in progress, next stop is creating a 3D parametric model of him.