random thoughts on architecture history theory and criticism

five dreaded questions at archilectures

1. the non-question: i’m so amazed at my own thoughts, i’m going to share some of them with you. there’s no question at the end of this one. guy (or gal) just keeps rambling on and on until someone finally interrupts “and your question is…?”

2. the obscure question: i should have given this lecture instead of you. therefore, i must show you up by asking how could you not mention some obscure fact that only i know about, which is key to all understanding of the topic you just discussed. no matter if it is actually tangential/irrelevant to the topic at handthe important thing is that i know about it and you don’t.

3. the networking question: i want to work for you, therefore i must impress you with my incisive question but must also convey that I’m brilliantly talented and by the way here’s my website address. or anyone in the audience, really. i need a job.

4. the crazy question: i’m the guy (for some reason this one is always a guy) that comes to all the lectures. i’m actually retired/homeless/crazy but really interested in anything architecture (and any field in a 5-mile radius). however, since this interest is based in my crazyness, i’m going to take it THERE (cia conspiracy theories, hippie 70s nostalgia, big brother paranoia).

5. the silent question: i actually have a question, and it might even be insightful and smart. however, since I’m crazy insecure, I’m just going to just sit here quietly and then post it in my website later along with some snark (me).


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chronicle of deaths foretold

1831, victor hugo announces that print will kill architecture. labrouste responds by designing a killer library.

1936, walter benjamin announces mechanical reproducibility will kill aura—or the notion of the original, in any case. at the same time, he makes a lot of his readers nostalgic for a lost aura they have just become aware of.

1964, marshall mcluhan announces that medium doesn’t kill but does take over the message. the message, overshadowed, despairs.

1979, the buggles announce that video has killed the radio star. on mtv. in my mind and in my car, we can’t rewind we’ve gone too far.

1980s. peter eisenman announces the end of the classical, the end of the beginning and the end of the end (1984). thousands of architects skip simulacra for perspecta. rem (not that one) thinks it’s the end of the world and we know it (and they feel fine). francis fukuyama announces the end of history (1989). marx and hegel turn over in their graves.

2010, architectural education is killed by the internet video. also, big kills rem but plots with oma and colin rowe comes back from the dead to tell us peter eisenman is still alive.

ps. image: one pencil’s paltry revenge

pps. also 2010, nicolas negroponte announces the book is dead, long live the narrative.

Filed under: ., benjamin, big, death, eisenman, evil, lists,

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