Storefront for Art
November 5, 2013
Sammy Medina and I will be attending this event tonight at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in Manhattan, on two of subjects of which we never tire of talking: architecture and capitalism. Check it out if you’re in town, and hope to see you there. The event description and details about the book are reproduced below.
Architecture and/or capitalism
Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theaters show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom — war on terror and so on — falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.
— Slavoj Žižek, Sept 17, 2011
Liberty Square, New York
Over the last few decades, capitalism has entered every single aspect of culture. If we fantasized about postmodernism being the end of capitalism in its lateness, it seems that today, on the contrary, capitalism is as agile as ever. As Žižek argues in his joke about the red ink, we do not have the tools to start imagining alternatives.
Faced with this impossibility, on the occasion of the book launch of Architecture and Capitalism edited by Peggy Deamer, Storefront presents a forum where some of the book contributors and other leading figures in the discourse around politics, economy, architecture and the city present and discuss some historical and contemporary references on how alternatives have been articulated in the past and how we might be able to articulate them today.
and Michael Sorkin,
About the book
Architecture and Capitalism:
1845 to the Present
Edited by Peggy Deamer
Architecture and Capitalism tells a story of the relationship between the economy and architectural design. Eleven historians each discuss in brand new essays the time period they know best, looking at cultural and economic issues, which in light of current economic crises you will find have dealt with diverse but surprisingly familiar economic issues. Told through case studies, the narrative begins in the mid-nineteenth century and ends with 2011, with introductions by editor Peggy Deamer to pull the main themes together so that you can see how other architects in different times and in different countries have dealt with similar economic conditions. By focusing on what previous architects experienced, you have the opportunity to avoid repeating the past.
With new essays by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Keller Easterling, Lauren Kogod, Robert Hewison, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, Robin Schuldenfrei, Deborah Gans, Simon Sadler, Nathan Rich, and Michael Sorkin.
Peggy Deamer is a professor of architecture at Yale University, New Haven, USA.
NYC, English, 2013
Limited copies will be available
for purchase at the event. Continue reading