nutopia?

If an equilibrium model of social and political fairness is fundamentally flawed due to the unproductive nature of a homogeneous society (or, rather, the superior productive capacity of a heterogeneous one), would a new social ideal consist of constantly shifting power structures, a folding-over (kneading) of hierarchies that favored groups alternately such that every individual, over time, received equal opportunities and roadblocks, successes and failures? Would the social structure at any given moment be sufficiently heterogeneous to sponsor “production” (industrial, cultural, what-have-you)? And what would stop particularly “productive” configurations from persisting over time? How would this type of constant cycling be possible without the elimination of feedback loops that tend to consolidate wealth and power?

If an architecture has utopian goals, and wishes to contribute to the transformation of society towards an ideal, must it necessarily operate within the framework of the structure it wishes to destroy? Is complete occupation (full-spectrum-dominance?) the only remaining technique of subversion? If one must fully embrace consumer culture in order to critique it (Koolhaas? “Adbusters”?), at what point does sedition become suicide? Or, is the *new* utopia exactly this scenario of constant overturning, such that the parasite dying with its host is the ultimate contribution?

Comments

  • Anonymous

    The problem with this utopia (as with most utopias) is it assumes a totality — a fantasy of some complete overarching structure governing all human society. The closest thing to this global totality in human history is imperial capitalism, and the violence necessary to achieve this impossible totality is self-evident (Nazis attempted something similar). Along with physical violence, you have symbolic violence in which certain groups are banished from the symbolic realm (the spectacle) since they threaten the utopic fantasies of the totality — a la the impoverished underclass of the U.S. that people ignore unless they riot (L.A. 1992) or wind up on our TVs (Katrina).

    Interestingly, classical Marxism faces the same problem, which is really a problem with Hegel — you must negate the negation, i.e. the proletariat must liquidate the bourgeoisie for a socialist utopia. I find it funny that many “leftists” touting socialist virtues leave violent struggle out of the equation as if it was an unfortunate mistake Marxists made. Capitalists don’t give anything up unless they have to!

  • Scott Guyon, AIA

    Evan,
    The Miller House is now open as an historic house Museum. The Musuem is sponsoring an 18 house community around the building. Socially responsible and LEED certified, this commnunity is ready to begin.
    For more; go to http://www.thefoundationforadvancedarchitecture.org
    Scott Guyon, AIA
    Architect and Founder

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