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Occupying Architecture's Expanded Field

Occupying Architecture's Expanded Field The appearance of Occupy in the winter of 2011 in city after city around the world demonstrated the rise of discontent in a world of globalized capital, consumerism and wealth accumulation by - as Occupy put it - the 1 percent. Occupy followed a succession of anticapitalist and antiglobalization protests since that in Seattle in 1999, and anti-roads protests before that. Perhaps the tactic of occupation has deeper roots, too, in a taking over of the means of producing society (as in antifascist factory occupations in France in the 1930s). Given this expanded field of political action outside institutional structures, are there dissident tendencies within architecture now that architecture, too, occupies an expanded field of cultural production? Occupy challenges the system through its use of direct democracy, but are there ways in which architecture can contribute to such a movement or is the profession tied to institutional validation and the wealth of its clientele? I begin by setting out two contexts for the enquiry: the architectural everyday of the 1990s as an expansion of architecture’s field; and the earlier model of an expanded field, introduced in art history in the 1970s, which uses the prefix “not-” to align a practice to adjacent fields. I ask how to read Occupy, and then question the relevance of architecture to anticapitalism and the democratic deficit. I argue that architecture needs to ask again how it contributes to social and political life, observing that while Occupy occupied spaces it had no need for building design. At the same time, there are practices - such as Elemental in Chile - which genuinely coproduce new sociocultural models of urban habitat. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architecture and Culture Taylor & Francis

Occupying Architecture's Expanded Field

Architecture and Culture , Volume 2 (1): 19 – Mar 1, 2014

Occupying Architecture's Expanded Field

Architecture and Culture , Volume 2 (1): 19 – Mar 1, 2014

Abstract

The appearance of Occupy in the winter of 2011 in city after city around the world demonstrated the rise of discontent in a world of globalized capital, consumerism and wealth accumulation by - as Occupy put it - the 1 percent. Occupy followed a succession of anticapitalist and antiglobalization protests since that in Seattle in 1999, and anti-roads protests before that. Perhaps the tactic of occupation has deeper roots, too, in a taking over of the means of producing society (as in antifascist factory occupations in France in the 1930s). Given this expanded field of political action outside institutional structures, are there dissident tendencies within architecture now that architecture, too, occupies an expanded field of cultural production? Occupy challenges the system through its use of direct democracy, but are there ways in which architecture can contribute to such a movement or is the profession tied to institutional validation and the wealth of its clientele? I begin by setting out two contexts for the enquiry: the architectural everyday of the 1990s as an expansion of architecture’s field; and the earlier model of an expanded field, introduced in art history in the 1970s, which uses the prefix “not-” to align a practice to adjacent fields. I ask how to read Occupy, and then question the relevance of architecture to anticapitalism and the democratic deficit. I argue that architecture needs to ask again how it contributes to social and political life, observing that while Occupy occupied spaces it had no need for building design. At the same time, there are practices - such as Elemental in Chile - which genuinely coproduce new sociocultural models of urban habitat.

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References (39)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2014 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
2050-7836
eISSN
2050-7828
DOI
10.2752/175145214X13796096691526
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The appearance of Occupy in the winter of 2011 in city after city around the world demonstrated the rise of discontent in a world of globalized capital, consumerism and wealth accumulation by - as Occupy put it - the 1 percent. Occupy followed a succession of anticapitalist and antiglobalization protests since that in Seattle in 1999, and anti-roads protests before that. Perhaps the tactic of occupation has deeper roots, too, in a taking over of the means of producing society (as in antifascist factory occupations in France in the 1930s). Given this expanded field of political action outside institutional structures, are there dissident tendencies within architecture now that architecture, too, occupies an expanded field of cultural production? Occupy challenges the system through its use of direct democracy, but are there ways in which architecture can contribute to such a movement or is the profession tied to institutional validation and the wealth of its clientele? I begin by setting out two contexts for the enquiry: the architectural everyday of the 1990s as an expansion of architecture’s field; and the earlier model of an expanded field, introduced in art history in the 1970s, which uses the prefix “not-” to align a practice to adjacent fields. I ask how to read Occupy, and then question the relevance of architecture to anticapitalism and the democratic deficit. I argue that architecture needs to ask again how it contributes to social and political life, observing that while Occupy occupied spaces it had no need for building design. At the same time, there are practices - such as Elemental in Chile - which genuinely coproduce new sociocultural models of urban habitat.

Journal

Architecture and CultureTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2014

Keywords: expanded field; Occupy; codesign; housing; Lefebvre

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