Viewing posts tagged modernism

Build High

Some tumblr jottings, curated with pictures.


Modernism.  The International Style.  Mies Van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, etc. 



A clean, white world of clean white buildings and glass boxes.  Machines for living in.  Born of the utopian hopes of early Modernism.  Destined to become the opulent apartment blocks and corporate skyscrapers of Chicago capitalism. 




Based on a dream of optimised people in an optimised world.  You had to be perfect to live in a glass box.  And the glass boxes were going to make people better, cleaner, fitter, healthier, more productive, and now this sentence is (tellingly) becoming the lyrics from that Radiohead song.  Because that’s where that kind of top-down utopianism ended up; the dream of Modernism became the malaise of late-C20th/C21st modernity. 

Prora, the elephantine Strength Through Joy holiday camp.  Nazi Butlins.


Whatever the admirable radicalism - and there is much admirable radicalism in Modernism - it culminated in a convergence with the Nazi fantasies of order and hygiene (even as the Modernists were hated and driven out by the Nazis) and, in the end, with the corporate capitalist fantasies of perfect and rational utility.  The ...

A Found Object

"A close equivalent to Brutalism's avant-garde quotidian is in the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.  Banham makes a more than punning connection between the techniques of concrete brutalism and those of musique concrete, in that both are based on the use of manipulated found objects, both have a disdain for harmony but not for structure.  The Workshop applied musique concrete to TV jingles, soundtracks, mundane everyday sound.  What made both so valuable is that they were so totally immersed in everyday life.  Switch on the radio or walk out of the door to find yourself in a new world."

- Owen Hatherley, Militant Modernism



The Real McCoy and the Forgotten (Sacrificial) Lambs

I continue to round up my Timelash II stuff with these bits 'n' bobs about the McCoy years.  There will eventually be separate posts on some of the 'big hitters' left out below.


Paradise Towers

Very Whoish ideas. Lots of clever use of language, from the street names to the slang which incorporates degenerated formal rules, to the Caretaker lingo full of subsections and codes, etc. 

It suffers from 'Mysterious Planet' disease in that the production looks good but nothing looks right.

Mel's apparently monomaniacal fixation upon the swimming pool is decidedly odd.  But, if you approach this as children's television (which is clearly what it thinks it is) then you can enjoy it as a surprisingly sophisticated story about social entropy.

Brings to mind Le Corbusier and his notion of houses as "machines for living in"... which always had a tinge of the authoritarian about it, amidst all the utopianism of early 20th century modernism (which also always had a hidden inner core of mysticism beneath all the pseudo-rational stright lines, etc). The insistence upon a buried notion of virtue (you had to be a certain kind of healthy, high-minded, thin, modern-minded, puritanical ...

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