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The Big Rethink Part 2: Farewell to modernism − and modernity too


With due respect to the elder theoretician, I am stunned to read such a naive caricature of modernity and our contemporary position within it. The proposition that we are on the cusp of departing from "modernity" displays a particularly "postmodern" affinity for the dis-associative meta-narrative: in this case, the surprisingly uncritical forecast of a harmonious, sustainable future is ensconced in an unskillful reduction of Villa Savoye. To posit any singular architectural work (even the work of Le Corbusier) as metonymy for industrial culture falls short of articulating the origin and trajectory of the modern condition. But the author knows that. So why are we so eager to declare the end of modernity when its most challenging (and promising) episodes are unfinished? Will modernity be resolved by abandoning it for some alter-utopia? There is a developing world which must still navigate real tests of modernity, but you could be forgiven for forgetting that given the author's outright dismissal of the modern experiment. Despite such appeals to emotion, we are too involved in modernity itself to recognize the dimensions of its immutability. We are sufficiently immersed in the modern/postmodern condition, so this may not be the best time to entertain a Romantic revival. "Sustainable" prognostication, specifically the type that relies on a retreat to the nostalgia of pre-modern vernacular, is barely distinguishable from the existential distress of the dawn of human culture.

Posted date

7 June, 2012

Posted time

5:52 am