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THE LAST ISSUE 2014

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CONDITIONS

THE LAST ISSUE 13 2014

CONDITIONS

INDEPENDENT SCANDINAVIAN MAGAZINE ON ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM

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INDEPENDENT SCANDINAVIAN MAGAZINE ON ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM

THIS IS THE END OF THE BEGINNING


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Editorial 1 FROM CONDITIONS #1

STRATEGY FOR EVOLUTION

This text was written the 20th of December 2008 and worked as a backdrop for when we started our quest for contributors. We thought it was interesting to leave this text as it was for you to see our initial thoughts in an Editorial 1. Our afterthoughts you can read in Editorial 2 in the back of the issue. Enjoy! The first issue of Conditions is devoted to strategy for evolution in architecture and urbanism. Evolution is a deceptive and seductive phrase, it has an appealing ring to it and something everyone wants to relate to and be part of. It is easily recognized looking back when you are able to separate actual progress from variations. Our concern is how to interpret the contemporary situation and how to maneuver and act upon the present ensuring that you are truly evolutionary. Architecture has always been a dependent discipline, never able to operate on its own. To discuss the progression of architecture we therefore cannot discuss architecture as a singular profession, but as responsive and dependent. Historically evolution

within architecture has been a reaction or reflection to changed conditions. The technological, political, economical or changes in our society have in the past been readable in architecture. But the architecture produced today seems unable to reflect or interact with the ever changing situation and is therefore seen as arbitrary. The never ending quest for newness overshadows the need for a strategy to act and ensure an actual evolution.

several options; one is evolution as a “gradual passage from one state to another, a different and usually more complex and better one”, meaning that there has not been a break from the past, but a gradual process and a development. Darwin’s theory of evolution includes natural selection and chance as key concepts implying that you survive because of coincidence or because you are the stronger. But who or what endures depends on the conditions.

The strategy, seen as a long-term plan for success, depends on your perception of evolution. There are

Evolution might also be perceived as a punctuated equilibrium. Which means that “species”


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Editorial XIII FUTURE CONDITIONS #13

THE [ARCHITECTURE] COMING INSURRECTION* ´ ´ DPR-BARCELONA [ETHEL BARAONA POHL + CESAR REYES NAJERA]

“Revolutionary movements do not spread by contamination but by resonance. Something that is constituted here resonates with the shock wave emitted by something constituted over there.… An insurrection is not like a plague or a forest fire — a linear process which spreads from place to place after an initial spark. It rather takes the shape of a music, whose focal points, though dispersed in time and space, succeed in imposing the rhythms of their own vibrations, always taking on more density.” – The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection.

The world has changed and so too the role of the architect. We’re facing new ways of thinking, of trading, of acting. On this arena of speculation, the first step when moving into this new scenario should be to realize that in the end, the crisis is just a way of governing and it’s up to us to legitimate it or not. Under the existing dominant society, which produces the miserable pseudo-games of nonparticipation, a true civic and urban activity is necessary. The re-emergence of Huizinga and Situationist’s homo ludens seems almost a need again, to discover new ways of interacting with the city. The feeling that the [architecture] coming insurrection is close, can be smelled in the air, it can be perceived from autonomous organisation of the prosumers of the new culture, aside from

existing political and ideological establishments, as we all together “can dispute institutions’ capacity to organise anything other than the management of that which already exists” [1] and because such institutions cannot prevent what they are not able to imagine yet.

The riposte of the revolutionary citizens to these old conditions must be a new type of action. Architects and related disciplines have a social, economic and political responsibility and is in our hands to give formal proposals as answers to the current situation.


30

According to the political analyst Francis Fukuyama [2], the satisfaction of certain human beings depend on recognition that is inherently unequal, and this inequality is why our implication becomes a need. How can we avoid the historical pessimism outlined by Fukuyama and

31

change our paradigms? Manfredo Tafuri pointed out in his book “Architecture and utopia: design and capitalist development” [3] “Architecture now undertook the task of rendering its work “political.” As a political agent the architect had to assume the task of continual invention of advanced solutions, at the most generally applicable level. In the acceptance of this task, the architect’s role as idealist became prominent.” We can see that this need for political implication is nothing new; it’s now time to demystify complex ideologies and work from the basis of our practice. The city is here to stay, to grow, to de-grow, to change and transform; and the role of the architect needs to adapt itself to these transformations.

crowdfunding, social money and micropayments, based on the confidence and support of the network; are here to stay. Bottom-up urban strategies can be a real catalyst for change in our cities; the use of empty spaces are setting the stage for a new commons where urban conflicts can be solved by understanding the dynamics of each community. In cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, which are being increasingly privatized, we have witnessed powerful citizen movements, and grassroots groups, including Platform of People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) and the housing groups from 15M assemblies, who are working to stop and transform the foreclosure processes, being capable of stopping housing evictions and even forcing legal framework changes.

There are so many lessons that we can learn from the convulsed, immediate past that has left cities full of the undeniable presence of the so-called “in between spaces” [physical and non-physical], where there is another field of action for architecture, so we can try to address real challenges as a response to the current economic and geopolitical relationships. In times when the word “drone” holds more importance than the word “dream”, it’s easy to understand that we need to act, and to act now. Not from our wonderful and shiny studios, but to go back to the street, to talk with people on a daily basis, to reinforce the presence of concepts such as “prosociality”, “urban empathy” and “relational”. We’re facing one of the most wonderful times since many years, because there is an opportunity to take action. It’s time to think how we should be organizing to confront what already exists while working for the world to come. The close and direct

relationship with other agents is more important than ever, because architects are just one more piece of a bigger puzzle called society. According to Keller Easterling in her essay “Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft” ŇǺʼn: “Today urban space has become a mobile, monetized technology, and some of the most radical changes to the globalizing world are being written, not in the language of law and diplomacy, but rather in the spatial information of infrastructure, architecture and urbanism.” If Easterling is describing the real “now”, we can see the importance of the role of the architect to address real changes in the urban environment.

Is this the age of the co-op? The age of Adhocracy? Maybe it is the age of conviviality. As pointed by Ivan Illich [5], “tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user.” Thus, convivial tools should be accessible, flexible, and non-coercive and we all should have access to them. While the global economy seems to be collapsing, time has come to recover conviviality as a leitmotif of our work. To transform dissatisfaction into serious proposals to start taking back the city for the citizens, to remove the distinction of public and private in the urban environment, we must learn to “feel” the city again.

But how to do that? How to address a real change? There are new tools that we can use, the growing presence of digital media as communication tools, new forms of economics and trade, such as

It must be very presumptuous to try to give answers or recipes to avoid this symptomatic crisis and to radically change the situation only from the conventional architectural practice. We must be

humble enough to open our senses and start thinking about the city in new ways, beyond our formalarchitectureknowledge in a dérive, through a playful and constructive behavior, that can drive us to work for this necessary insurrection. *

The Coming Insurrection is a French political tract about the “imminent collapse of capitalist culture”, written by The Invisible Committee, and first published in 2007 by French company La Fabrique.

[1]

Situationist Manifesto. Internationale ›¦§“¦›¡  ›¥¦—šǺħǷǿǼǶħš¦¦¢ĩľľ©©©ħ•––•ħ¨¦ħ—–§ľ sionline/si/manifesto.html [visited on January 2013]

[2]

Fukuyama, Francis. The end of history and the last man. Free Press, 1989.

[3]

Tafuri, Manfredo. Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development. MIT Press, 1979.

ŇǺʼn

Keller Easterling,“Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft” http://places.designobserver. com/feature/zone-the-spatial-softwares-of—ª¦¤“¥¦“¦—•¤“˜¦ľǹǺǻǸǾľҨ›¥›¦—–¡  § —ǸǶǷǷʼn

[5]

Illich, Ivan. Tools for Conviviality. Harper & Row, 1973.


30

According to the political analyst Francis Fukuyama [2], the satisfaction of certain human beings depend on recognition that is inherently unequal, and this inequality is why our implication becomes a need. How can we avoid the historical pessimism outlined by Fukuyama and

31

change our paradigms? Manfredo Tafuri pointed out in his book “Architecture and utopia: design and capitalist development” [3] “Architecture now undertook the task of rendering its work “political.” As a political agent the architect had to assume the task of continual invention of advanced solutions, at the most generally applicable level. In the acceptance of this task, the architect’s role as idealist became prominent.” We can see that this need for political implication is nothing new; it’s now time to demystify complex ideologies and work from the basis of our practice. The city is here to stay, to grow, to de-grow, to change and transform; and the role of the architect needs to adapt itself to these transformations.

crowdfunding, social money and micropayments, based on the confidence and support of the network; are here to stay. Bottom-up urban strategies can be a real catalyst for change in our cities; the use of empty spaces are setting the stage for a new commons where urban conflicts can be solved by understanding the dynamics of each community. In cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, which are being increasingly privatized, we have witnessed powerful citizen movements, and grassroots groups, including Platform of People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) and the housing groups from 15M assemblies, who are working to stop and transform the foreclosure processes, being capable of stopping housing evictions and even forcing legal framework changes.

There are so many lessons that we can learn from the convulsed, immediate past that has left cities full of the undeniable presence of the so-called “in between spaces” [physical and non-physical], where there is another field of action for architecture, so we can try to address real challenges as a response to the current economic and geopolitical relationships. In times when the word “drone” holds more importance than the word “dream”, it’s easy to understand that we need to act, and to act now. Not from our wonderful and shiny studios, but to go back to the street, to talk with people on a daily basis, to reinforce the presence of concepts such as “prosociality”, “urban empathy” and “relational”. We’re facing one of the most wonderful times since many years, because there is an opportunity to take action. It’s time to think how we should be organizing to confront what already exists while working for the world to come. The close and direct

relationship with other agents is more important than ever, because architects are just one more piece of a bigger puzzle called society. According to Keller Easterling in her essay “Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft” ŇǺʼn: “Today urban space has become a mobile, monetized technology, and some of the most radical changes to the globalizing world are being written, not in the language of law and diplomacy, but rather in the spatial information of infrastructure, architecture and urbanism.” If Easterling is describing the real “now”, we can see the importance of the role of the architect to address real changes in the urban environment.

Is this the age of the co-op? The age of Adhocracy? Maybe it is the age of conviviality. As pointed by Ivan Illich [5], “tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user.” Thus, convivial tools should be accessible, flexible, and non-coercive and we all should have access to them. While the global economy seems to be collapsing, time has come to recover conviviality as a leitmotif of our work. To transform dissatisfaction into serious proposals to start taking back the city for the citizens, to remove the distinction of public and private in the urban environment, we must learn to “feel” the city again.

But how to do that? How to address a real change? There are new tools that we can use, the growing presence of digital media as communication tools, new forms of economics and trade, such as

It must be very presumptuous to try to give answers or recipes to avoid this symptomatic crisis and to radically change the situation only from the conventional architectural practice. We must be

humble enough to open our senses and start thinking about the city in new ways, beyond our formalarchitectureknowledge in a dérive, through a playful and constructive behavior, that can drive us to work for this necessary insurrection. *

The Coming Insurrection is a French political tract about the “imminent collapse of capitalist culture”, written by The Invisible Committee, and first published in 2007 by French company La Fabrique.

[1]

Situationist Manifesto. Internationale ›¦§“¦›¡  ›¥¦—šǺħǷǿǼǶħš¦¦¢ĩľľ©©©ħ•––•ħ¨¦ħ—–§ľ sionline/si/manifesto.html [visited on January 2013]

[2]

Fukuyama, Francis. The end of history and the last man. Free Press, 1989.

[3]

Tafuri, Manfredo. Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development. MIT Press, 1979.

ŇǺʼn

Keller Easterling,“Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft” http://places.designobserver. com/feature/zone-the-spatial-softwares-of—ª¦¤“¥¦“¦—•¤“˜¦ľǹǺǻǸǾľҨ›¥›¦—–¡  § —ǸǶǷǷʼn

[5]

Illich, Ivan. Tools for Conviviality. Harper & Row, 1973.


96

Editors Joana da Rocha Sá Lima Tor Inge Hjemdal Anders Melsom contributors Many thanks to the distinguished contributors to the last issue of Conditions! Art direction and design Skin Designstudio / www.skin.no typeface design Corvus Corax by Skin Designstudio/Stefan Ellmer Ur (Beta) by the famous Stefan Ellmer Photographer Nina Hauki Print Fladby AS Editorial office Conditions Magazine Fjordveien 16, 0139 Oslo, Norway Buy single issues www.conditionsmagazine.com 15€ + shipping and handling Subscription www.conditionsmagazine.com subscription@conditionsmagazine.com 4 issues: 60€ + shipping and handling Cancellation policy Cancellation of subscription to be confirmed in writing 1 month after receiving the last issue of your subscription period. Subscription not cancelled on time will be automatically extended for 4 new issues. Advertisement advertisement@conditionsmagazine.com Distribution Interpress, IPS Pressevertrieb GmbH www.conditionsmagazine.com ISSN: 1891-2672 CONDITIONS #9 and #13 have been made possible with the support of: Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB The editors of CONDITIONS have been careful to contact all copyright holders of the images used. If you claim ownership of any of the images presented here and have not been properly identified, please contact CONDITIONS and we will be happy to make a formal acknowledgement in the future issue. Copyright 2014


The [architecture] coming insurrection.