Atlas of Places
The architect, even if he does not necessarily wear the political hat, is confronted with the need to question the meaning of what he does, on the framework in which he exercises, on the style he elaborates, and the values he represents. This is why his work is always a political position, as it questions norms, including those of aesthetics. Any aesthetic, as Charles Baudelaire said, is both moral and political - and vice versa. Any stylistic choice is a standpoint, a point of view on what is, what is hoped for, what is refused.
This means that when an architect gives form to his perception, to his understanding of the world, and to what he wishes to state, he does not intend to be harmless, to consolidate consensus, but to put it into perspective. When he does not disturb anything, when he does not arouse any suspicion on the established order, it is because his work is thin, if not similar to the techniques of advertising or communication. This is what appears in the works of certain stars of contemporary architecture, which are put in place in the consolidation of the values upheld by the elites.
When he actually practices his work, the architect is an actor of society, whatever his political convictions may be. His work cannot be summed up as a technique, much less a copy of a successful model, because he is summoned to question the representations in progress, and to confront them both with their truth and with what he thinks and feels; he breaks, disturbs them, and raises the possibility of divergent realities. It proposes a gap, a doubt: thus it creates disorder, literally, in our representations, and arouses in us new aspirations.
This second series, of an ongoing research, aims at mixing different visions, old and new, disturbing our too familiar reality in order to accentuate faults and opportunities. The dissensus that emerges can be tragic, comic at times, but it can also be a strong statement: the architecture that demonstrates as insufficient what is presented to us as the only possible reality begins to invent the future. It cannot change the world, but it can help us awake to the necessity to doubt it and maybe, change it.
“Courage consists, however, in agreeing to flee rather than live tranquilly and hypocritically in false refuges. Values, morals, homelands, religions, and these private certitudes that our vanity and our complacency bestow generously on us, have many deceptive sojourns as the world arranges for those who think they are standing straight and at ease, among stable things”
– Gilles Deleuze, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1972