lundi 12 octobre 2009

# MANIFESTO /// Eduardo McIntosh

Eduardo McIntosh (picture Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi)


Setting the scene
The Law of (-1)

There is sometimes a minuscule flame burning inside people who do Architecture. The feeling in the back of their brain that something is terribly wrong with the world. A “splinter in their minds”. For many this feeling of wrong-ness, dissatisfaction and helplessness can never be explained, for its nature is concealed by The Law of (-1).

We need to understand that life is WAR, that we all are driven by the will to power, and that the lofty ideals of the “magnanimous human spirit”: equality, justice, freedom, etc are in practical terms absent from us, for we are not human spirits, we are flesh and bone. Quoting from Nietzsche's Beyond good and Evil: "Even the body within which individuals treat each other as equals ... will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant—not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power."

We need to understand that in a WAR everything is permitted, and that deceit is the strongest weapon (the first deception is to convince us that there’s no WAR being waged) and that its power is waged against us in every aspect during every second of our everyday life...we live through a parade of constant deceit. That is how we voluntarily become slaves, how we are lazy enough to not distinguish 1 from (-1). Not acknowledging the rules of the game, not even being able to see that there’s actually a game going on (WAR) is what makes Revolutionary Architecture a naïve endeavor

Here some examples of how The Law of (-1) is so pervasively and efficiently wielded upon us, telling us a tale that actually masks an opposite reality:

-How the United States Federal Reserve is actually totally the opposite (-1) of what its name implies: the Fed is a privately governed bank which’s sole interest is not federal well being but its proprietor’s own well being. Its mission is to regulate private banks, and yet it is the biggest most powerful private bank. How in the most hypocritical way the 100, 20 and 5 notes printed by the Fed show the images of citizens who were openly against institutions like it:

Benjamin Franklin:
“The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the Revolutionary War."

Andrew Jackson:
“Controlling our currency, receiving our public moneys, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence... would be more formidable and dangerous than a military power of the enemy.”

Abraham Lincoln:
“The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but it is the Government's greatest creative opportunity...The taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest, discounts and exchanges...Money will cease to be the master and become the servant of humanity. Democracy will rise superior to the money power."

-How the 2009 Nobel Peace prize was awarded to the commander in chief of the most powerful army on earth, even after he has failed to keep his campaign promise of ending occupation in Iraq and furthermore, has started himself a new war in Afghanistan. Thus, this year the Nobel Peace prize was contradictorily (-1) awarded to the leader of the most powerful army in the world which is currently engaged in a war with one of the weakest. (Also it deserves pointing out that the deadline for submitting candidates came just 12 days after he entered the White House)

-How we feel so socially magnanimous when we design housing for the poor, but we don’t take real steps to end poverty (-1). How we want to give the poor pretty dwellings to sedate them and prevent them from uprising, but we don’t want to really end poverty, we only want to keep the poor from waking up and taking back what was stolen from them by law.

-How we make sure every project we make has a ‘green’ aspect, while we refuse (-1) to tackle the real socio political roots of the environmental problem. (Not produce more, but rather consume less and distribute more evenly)

Moving forward by seemingly moving backwards
Embracing The Law of (-1)

Nowadays generalization is a sin widely avoided because of the sovereign law of political correctness (exercising political correctness could be interpreted as following ‘the correct opinions’ which suggests that there is a fixed ‘one and only’ way of thinking. Could a Status Quo manipulated ‘political correctness’ be the (-1) of Freedom of thought?). For this reason, ‘Every’ and ‘All’ will be interchanged for ‘Some’ in the following examples of The Law of (-1)

Some priests are pedophiles
Some judges break the law
Some peace makers wage wars
Some safe keepers of your money steal it
Some people who say they want to make you smarter make you dumber
Some people who say they want to liberate you enslave you
Some people who say they want to give you democracy decide every aspect of your life

Some people say or sell themselves as exactly the opposite of what their real intentions are. So why don’t SOME OF US apply The Law of (-1) to our architectural endeavors. Let’s multiply our true desires by minus one to keep our real intentions hidden. Let’s create a façade for ourselves of being the most ardent followers of the Status Quo of our profession. Let’s strive to be socially oriented, technologically ingenious, politically correct, democratic, environmentally friendly, elegant, parametric, generative, responsive, et al….(all the jargon that actually keep us distracted from making projects that actually mean anything or have any chance to make a change) . Let’s operate under this guise within the empty carcass of our architectural profession (soon to be accompanied by the half eaten remains of architectural academia). Lets do all of this while we wage war outside of (the orthodox definition of) architecture (for the war inside has long been lost). Let’s not forget we can construct our own unorthodox clandestine operational field.

The danger of hope and the illusion of choice
Seen the un-see-able and becoming ourselves un-see-able

Let’s not forget either that the cause of Revolutionary Architecture is a lost battle. Let’s not covertly fight in order to have hope, let’s not covertly fight trying to have a choice, for no hope or choice really exist, only the illusion of them. Let’s covertly fight because even though there’s no escape, at least this way we know of our condition of slaves and we are aware that we are being raped mercilessly by the same custodians who we appointed to guard us... Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This manifesto Is not written in allegiance to the Left or the Right, the Capitalist or the Socialist, Republicans or Democrats, for these factions are within themselves neither left or right, capitalist or socialist, republican or democrat…they are always the smoke screen puppet show put in front of us to keep us from seeing the ever present invisible third parties. This manifesto could actually be summarized as a wake up call to learn to see the un-see-able and to learn the art of becoming our selves un-see-able.

Revolutionary Architecture is ineffective when it’s visible. It itself becomes part of the problem, for it gives hope, and hope makes the masses think: “don’t worry somebody is out there doing something about it” plunging us all into inaction.

The true Revolutionary Architecture should be an architecture of sedition. It’s not carpet bombing, it’s smart bombing. It’s not broad strokes, it’s surgical intervention. It’s not diluted in a building, it’s concrete in an idea. For, as Aldo Rossi states “In a certain sense, there is no such thing as buildings that are politically ‘opposed’, since the ones that are realized are always those of the dominant class” (The Architecture of the City)

That is why, if the aim of some of us is to see architecture having real power to influence society in a positive way (again for some others this might not be an aim), Just imagining the future is useless because 99% of the time these ‘new futures’ are just personal interpretations of ‘what smell is floating in the air’ thus the most talented ‘imaginers’ are just the ones who have honed their olfactory organs the best, meaning that what we think of avant-garde and innovative and revolutionary is just a projection of the Debordian Spectacle. Then, the remaining 1%, which manage to escape from the traps of trying to find ‘the new’ and really develop projects which tackle issues at the root, (and not as a band aids) still fail to achieve any real revolutionary power in the end, for this 1% only create hope and the false illusion of choice (actually becoming the (-1) of revolution). Thus, the desirable scenario would be that that 1% which is lucid enough to work outside the pressures that homogenize us (even though we might think nowadays architectural production is incredibly heterogeneous) does so undercover.

And more importantly this 1% of truly alternative visions of the future should be delivered riddled and tangled in a shell that seemingly fits the smell of the other 99% to pass undetected, to grab the fluttering attention of the masses. But once the bait has been taken, this 1% should not give hope for free. (It should not give hope at all) it should compel its viewers to go through the tedious task of un tangling its true meaning…just to show then that there’s no hope. For hope is the drug that keeps us inanimate. Furthermore there’s no way to make any person interiorize this due to the fact that since our early childhood the word HOPE has been imbued with the most sensual connotations. For this reason a momentary glance at a project is not enough. Successful Revolutionary Architecture should be a journey, an undercover deceitful journey, which pretends to comply but actually lays the seeds of dissent.

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