how European languages evolved
April 20, 2015, 8:12 pm
Filed under: chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: , ,

language family
November 5, 2014, 8:14 pm
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vivid roilings
March 26, 2008, 4:37 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , ,

(plankton/the great metaphysician, by de Chirico/powder ritual)

Here is a definition of the difference between optimism and utopianism.  Which are you?  I feel surrounded by utopianists, the gentle fall of the powder from their wigs, the smell of old, their polite insistence that what existed 200 years ago is desirable!, the dark press of lack of knowledge that (we are assured) is held in confidence and for the good of all by old men.  Hell, the young men only look that way; they’re old too!

Optimism recognizes an inherent propensity or directedness in any disposition of historical things (even the post-historical “fragments” or the passive drift of cultural “plankton” to which Koolhaas alludes), a direction or propensity that may be drawn out and followed, while utopianism remains imprisoned within the moral universe of what “ought” to be, and so can call on no materiality whatever on which to impress its chimerical shape.  Optimism and danger, very simply, are affirmations of the wildness of life – of the life that resides even in places and things – while utopianism remains an affirmation of the stillborn universe of the metaphysician’s Idea: transcendent, fixed and quixotically indifferent to the vivid roilings of a historical world.

~Sanford Kwinter, Flying the Bullet, or When Did the Future Begin? from Rem Koolhaas: Conversations with Students

the divorce: appearance and performance
March 26, 2008, 3:56 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a description of how the city’s need for appearance and peformance can be totally divorced from each other.  I wonder about the inhabitants who occupy this condition of divorce.

Do they develop split personalities, which delaminate and separate? In the worst case, are they divided against themselves? Or are we in mendacity to accept the condition as genius and simplicity for the good of the metropolis?

The permanence of even the most frivolous item of architecture and the instability of the metropolis are incompatible.  In this conflict the metropolis is, by definition, the victor; in its pervasive reality architecture is reduced to the status of a plaything, tolerated as decor for the illusions of history and memory.  In Manhattan this paradox is resolved in a brilliant way: through the development of a mutant architecture that combines the aura of monumentality with the performance of instability.  Its interiors accommodate compositions of program and activity that change constantly and independently of each other without affecting what is called, with accidental profundity, the envelope.  The genius of Manhattan is the simplicity of the divorce between appearance and performance:  It keeps the illusion of architecture, while surrendering whole heartedly to the needs of the metropolis.  This architecture relates to the forces of the Groszstadt like a surfer to the waves.

-Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York