Rem Koolhaas


full article -free registration required-: artforum

"The implicit authoritarianism of the digital regime sits in strange tension with a world that is slowly waking up to the realization that the neoliberal universality announced after the upheavals of 1989 will not happen. Instead, political correctness is now a system shared by East and West: It is the official ideology for the twenty-first century. A perverse new human-rights charter (improved, limited, achievable, value-free) is about to unite all peoples, all regimes, and is, by definition, popular. As a substitute for the French Revolution’s liberté, égalité, fraternité, a new universal trinity has been adopted: comfort, security, sustainability. This new trinity will impose an inescapable and irreversible diktat on every domain, and architecture will embrace it with masochistic enthusiasm. It is not hard to predict how radically this trinity will affect our discipline in a wave of faux conscience, sweeping away all anterior practices of architecture, and with them the evidence that generations of smart artists, architects, clients, rulers, and craftsmen had already understood the inherent intelligence of buildings and cities for millennia. There seems to be little possibility of merging the knowledge accumulated over centuries with the narrow range of practices considered “smart” today. Perhaps the fundamental opposition we now face is between architecture’s long-established power to articulate the collective and the digital’s apparent ability to merge with the self."

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