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critical theory

This tag is associated with 10 posts

What’s wrong with the future

The book The New Digital Age by Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen was published this week. I’ve been reading the Kindle edition. As with other books of this genre, there’s much we’ve read before, but it’s of interest who is saying it. Google is after all a major … Continue reading

The eye of the beholder

Most liberal-minded people think they should tolerate the values, customs, and codes of others. People have different moral standards and we have to respect their views. The same applies to aesthetic values. Some regard Holman Hunt’s “The light of the world” as beautiful. For others the painting is sugary and vulgar. And it’s a commonplace … Continue reading

Urban occupy

The term “Occupy Movement” is more powerful than “Occupation Movement,” even though it’s less grammatical. Some text editors have automatic proof-reading functions that warn writers against using “hidden verbs.” The verb “to occupy” is more direct and active than the softer noun form “occupation” that conceals the verb. Verbs simply expressed are the language of … Continue reading

Conservative hermeneutics

What can architecture and design learn from theology? Rowan William’s announcement last week that he will step down as Archbishop of Canterbury has revived discussion among activists within the Anglican Church and elsewhere as to whether Williams is in fact a liberal or a conservative. He’s certainly not an “ultra,” or what he describes as … Continue reading

Architectural unconscious

The unconscious is one of those great architectural metaphors. It suggests a layer beneath the visible edifice, a foundation that supports the parts above ground. The unconscious (sometimes referred to as the subconscious) is also the structure, mostly invisible, residing behind the cladding. The unconscious is the incomprehensible complexity concealed by the smooth veneer of … Continue reading

No way logo

It seems that large numbers of youths raided shops for branded sportswear (Adidas, Nike) and electrical goods in the disturbances of 7-9 August in England (Reuters, Telegraph). If any of them missed the lesson that crime really doesn’t pay, the kids at least discovered that certain crimes don’t scale up. Antisocial behaviour and gang riots … Continue reading

All watched over by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand fascinates architects. It’s one of the few novels (and films) with an architect as the central character. Loosely modelled on the heroic figure of Frank Lloyd Wright, it elevates and glamorises architects and buildings, or at least supposedly original and authentic highly creative iconic architects … and architecture.

Otaku architecture

Otaku is a Japanese word for a category of individual, typically a youth, who is obsessed with anime (Japanese animations), manga (comics), and other pop culture forms. He or she prefers to be alone, may be lonely, lacks social skills and stays at home. The otaku keeps unsociable hours: staying up for 40 hours then … Continue reading

Electronic commerce, philosophy and the Greek city

Much has been said of the parallels between the network economy and the agora (or forum), the centre of commerce of the ancient cities of Greece and the Roman empire. There are further spaces that feature prominently in ancient philosophy: the stoa (that bounded the marketplace or agora), the academy, the garden, and the household. … Continue reading

Hermeneutics and ethics

Some ethical problems: uneven access, inflated claims of egalitarian access, presumption of growth, the deception of conspicuous simulations, the primacy of calculative reason, and obsessions with devices rather than the socio-technical systems of which they are a part. The critical theorists (see Wired-up Words) identify potent areas of critique, but a hermeneutical perspective presents an ethical … Continue reading