modernism Archive

  • Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure among architects, politicians and policy makers. A 2012 documentary unveiled the many witting and unwitting villains, including urban poverty, public policy enforced racial segregation, and urban disinvestment in favor of the White Suburban Dream.

    Pruitt Igoe Myth: The Death of 20th Century US City

    Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure among architects, politicians and policy makers. A 2012 documentary unveiled the many witting and unwitting villains, including urban poverty, public policy enforced racial segregation, and urban disinvestment in favor of the White Suburban Dream.

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  • Cassavetes' Shadows "improvises" Beat Generation Manhattan, where two brothers and a sister, black but inexplicably played by two white actors, careening off track to scaled-back sketches of Charles Mingus' saxophone jazz yearnings. Black and white neon signs blink and the old Times Square looms like the otherworld, naturalistic cordial racism separating the chosen from the downtrodden, both dreaming of making it, of creating something.

    Improvised Beat Generation Dreams of John Cassavetes

    Cassavetes' Shadows "improvises" Beat Generation Manhattan, where two brothers and a sister, black but inexplicably played by two white actors, careening off track to scaled-back sketches of Charles Mingus' saxophone jazz yearnings. Black and white neon signs blink and the old Times Square looms like the otherworld, naturalistic cordial racism separating the chosen from the downtrodden, both dreaming of making it, of creating something.

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  • The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.

    German Prefab House Generates Twice its Own Energy

    The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.

    Continue Reading...

  • In the sobering aftermath of World War I in Zurich, Dada preached a radical-yet-whimsical philosophy of creativity, a self-styled anti-art. Random and meaningless by definition, calculatedly irrational by design, for a short time the movement spread like revolt to the US and across Europe, voicing the bizarre protest of a brave new community of artists and writers.

    Dada as the Antidote to War and Capitalism

    In the sobering aftermath of World War I in Zurich, Dada preached a radical-yet-whimsical philosophy of creativity, a self-styled anti-art. Random and meaningless by definition, calculatedly irrational by design, for a short time the movement spread like revolt to the US and across Europe, voicing the bizarre protest of a brave new community of artists and writers.

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  • Architecture must move on from an addiction to spectacle and fad, adrift in a sea of meaningless forms, leaving serious design and sustainability problems unresolved, says Peter Buchanan. But to do this will require a more critical perspective from architectural academe and the media.

    Starchitects and Spectacle: Sustainability Solutions Needed

    Architecture must move on from an addiction to spectacle and fad, adrift in a sea of meaningless forms, leaving serious design and sustainability problems unresolved, says Peter Buchanan. But to do this will require a more critical perspective from architectural academe and the media.

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  • "Art is never chaste," said Pablo Picasso. "Art is dangerous." One of the 20th century’s greatest painters was born in Málaga, Spain, but Jonathan Jones argues he came into his own amid the sleaze and bohemianism of Paris – the only city that could have matched his peerless imagination.

    Pablo Picasso: Dangerous Art and Political Posturing in Paris

    "Art is never chaste," said Pablo Picasso. "Art is dangerous." One of the 20th century’s greatest painters was born in Málaga, Spain, but Jonathan Jones argues he came into his own amid the sleaze and bohemianism of Paris – the only city that could have matched his peerless imagination.

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  • Iannis Xenakis, the Greek composer trained as an architect, created expressive works of mind-bending mathematical complexity that according to one critic, have "all the teeming unpredictable power of a glacier, the thrilling complexity of shape and movement of a mass animal migration."

    Iannis Xenakis: Musical Sorcery Using Mathematical Totems

    Iannis Xenakis, the Greek composer trained as an architect, created expressive works of mind-bending mathematical complexity that according to one critic, have "all the teeming unpredictable power of a glacier, the thrilling complexity of shape and movement of a mass animal migration."

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  • "The Atrocity Exhibition" is J.G. Ballard’s instruction manual in how to disrupt mass media and recontextualize technology in a dystopian landscape overrun with industrial waste and technological white noise. Watch the piece on Ballard and the Motorcar, that careens across the landscape of his controversial novel, "Crash."

    J. G. Ballard: Atrocity Exhibition and the Modernist Motorcar Dystopia

    "The Atrocity Exhibition" is J.G. Ballard’s instruction manual in how to disrupt mass media and recontextualize technology in a dystopian landscape overrun with industrial waste and technological white noise. Watch the piece on Ballard and the Motorcar, that careens across the landscape of his controversial novel, "Crash."

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  • "Metropolis" hallucinates a futuristic city, a paradise of glass and steel, where underground workers toil endlessly at the giant machines that run the world above. Controlled by the autocratic industrialist, his spoilt son falls for the working class prophet who envisions some mediation between workers and managers. Noted science fiction author H. G. Wells reviews the controversial 1927 masterpiece.

    H. G. Wells on the Futurist Dystopia of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”

    "Metropolis" hallucinates a futuristic city, a paradise of glass and steel, where underground workers toil endlessly at the giant machines that run the world above. Controlled by the autocratic industrialist, his spoilt son falls for the working class prophet who envisions some mediation between workers and managers. Noted science fiction author H. G. Wells reviews the controversial 1927 masterpiece.

    Continue Reading...