One of the major benefits of an architectural education, if one is able to avoid the giant pitfalls, is the importance (hopefully) placed on a problem that has plagued mankind for almost three thousand years... that is, how to think. Now, I am not saying this is universal, as it is very easy to get sucked into the cult of construction drawings, the cult of fabrication, or, worst of all, the cult of architectural pornography and representation. While Dwell et al are extremely good at portraying the sexiness of architecture they fail utterly on the rare occasion they even attempt to represent the thought process or conceptual methodology behind a design. We all know people and projects that have been successful due to overly sexed visual or digital representation, but these frequent transgressions aside, the most important skill to attain is that of an organized, inquisitive, and relevant process of thought.
That brings me to both the name an the purpose of this blog. With the name "Exquisite Struggle" I do jokingly acknowledge the conventions of blog and especially architectural blog nomenclature. It smacks vaguely of pretension while alluding to some almost unachievable ideal. It is two multi-syllable words which seems to be almost a requirement (either that or a synthetic or overly pretentious single word). These lighthearted permutations aside, I term the "Exquisite Struggle" as the two part endeavor of first objectively viewing the world and formulating a discreet methodology and course of action and of then the parrying and unspoken advocacy and negotiations that bring such pedagogy to fruition through otherwise unwilling clients. It is exactly this second stage of Exquisite Struggle that Jean Nouvel depicts in his first conversation with Baudrillard:
"…then there are those things that remain unsaid. There is always something unsaid; that's part of the game. And what remains unsaid is, ethically, something additional, something that doesn't run counter to what is being sold or exchanged…" it is exactly this that has meaning and "signifies something vital. That's where the game is played"
(-- Jean Baudrillard and Jean Nouvel. The Singular Objects of Architecture.)
The game is the Exquisite Struggle.
It is my hope that by forcing myself to commit to a weekly writing schedule I will further unify my thoughts and benefit as much from the blog as I would hope my listeners would. I intend to approach this from a radical urbanist perspective drawing heavily on a Situationist analysis and extending my ruminations over diverse subjects while intending to draw connections between allegedly dissimilar topics. I plan to focus on art, architecture, urban life, with occasional references to articles I find noteworthy and occasional breaks to display various series of my photography and projects.
Book cited in this article:
Are Transportation Planning Reforms Coercive?
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