Friday, June 1, 2012

these fabulous ruins (cont.)
"The role of pop culture is interesting here, because it’s both more and less modernist than the capital-intensive world of city-planning and architecture. Hippies, even the smartest of them, basically hated modernism and saw anything in concrete as an appalling monstrosity; but then they partly grew out of Mods, who were called ‘Modernists’ for a reason. Pop goes retro before architecture, in the late ’60s, but its anti-modernism was very different. Postmodernists like to drag Pop into their arguments, but it doesn’t wash for me; the difference between architects like Robert Stern or Leon Krier repudiating everything that happened after 1914 is a very different matter to, say, a producer in the ’80s sampling (and distorting, and making new) something made in the ’60s. Pop kept the momentum of modernism up until comparatively recently – something like Grime was obviously Modernist, an insurgent, futuristic force, and rave, pirate radio and so on strike me as implicated in everyday life and urban space in a modernist, if not always optimistic, way"
 -- Owen Hatherley, with some sharp thoughts about modernism versus postmodernism, both in his main beat (architecture) and in culture generally

oh and look Owen's got a new book out next month (incredible work-rate he maintains -- New Ruins was out not even 2 years ago!), viz:

A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain (forthcoming on Verso)

An anatomy of failed-state Britain, by the author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
What happens when ruination overtakes regeneration? Following on from A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, Owen Hatherley investigates the fate of British cities in the desolate new world of savage public-sector cuts, when government funds are withdrawn and the Welfare State abdicates. He explores the urban consequences of what Conservatives privately call the “progressive nonsense” of the Big Society and “the localism agenda,” the putative replacement of the state with charity and voluntarism; and he casts an eye over the last great Blairite schemes limping to completion, from London's Shard to the site of the 2012 Olympics. Crisscrossing Britain from Aberdeen to Plymouth, from Croydon to Belfast, A New Kind of Bleak finds a landscape left to rot- and discovers strange and potentially radical things growing in the wasteland.

[i didn't even notice there was a 2011 sequel to "Pow"]

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