I think that Le Corbusier was the first architect who really understood the media of the 20th century. By the way, this was the key reserach of my PhD thesis, about architecture and communication and was the starting point of the book Private and Publicity. In the book there’s a chapter called “Publicity,” which is based on the research I did among Le Corbusier archives. It is anecdotal that when I asked at the Fondation Le Corbusier for their archives on L’Espirit Nouveau, they told me, “We have lots of boxes with material classified as L’Espirit Nouveau” and they brought the first box. I was amazed that I only found catalogues, advertising, trend magazines, etc. Researching box by box, I only found the same kind of material until I realized that it was exactly this that interested Le Corbusier. He used images of cars and planes to illustrate his articles and this point is what I found really innovative, to mix architecture with every day objects: the Parthenon with a modern car in front of it.
The work of resisting governments handouts, unregulated corporations, scandalous injustice will more and more be similar to providing information about them, if we consider the phenomena within the new media culture. Resistance will be the information about someone or many of us resisting. Resisting, in the most of the cases, will become equivalent to information about resisting. The problem would then not be how can we allow all the phenomena of injustice to occur but how can we respond to them in the frame of this condition.
From the other hand, rushing to any action thoughtlessly seems to form the drive for the world of tomorrow. We have to do an archaeology of the idealized thoughtful action of the last century and its quality. Action will more and more be equivalent to spontaneous unorganized violence due to the urgency of desperate situations; information and its circulation will found a new barbarism. In this condition knowing about things and acting against them are condemned to be included in the same pool. Thinking as a possible tank leading to intelligent actions is what we will miss more and more in this upcoming civilization. The political space is not an open space any more; it seems to be an always already archived enclosed space of the live archive which is based in the net.
A new Autonomous Architecture would be interested in accomodating differences. Difference is already there in society in terms of individualisation on many levels. What interests me today in terms of design is sameness, be it in the form of a new vernacular, a new tradition or whatever. I am not sure this can be found on the level of architecture as yet. We will first have to formulate an idea about urbanism or urban development in terms of both technology and bureaucracy. And the ideological debate will come back, be it in a different way than we’re used to. But autonomy as protest or refusal the way we did it in the eighties makes no sense anymore – if it ever did. The world goes on anyway.
from “Trauma and Disappointment” / Bart Lootsma in conversation with Pier Vittorio Aureli