Sunday, March 23, 2014

22/3/2014: WLASze: Architecture v Art

It has been now some time that I have posted last my once regular WLASze: Weekend Links on Arts, Sciences and zero economics.

The break was partially self-imposed and partially a necessary response to constraints of time. The latter is easily understood, The former might not be. I found myself too bound by a formulaic search for 'new' items to cover. Something that game me pleasure of looking through pages and pages of arts and sciences related posts, yet drive me into less contemplation of works I covered and more into covering… not a good place to be.

So as I am re-thinking this post format, and yet want to return with its substance of bringing forward interesting notes on arts and sciences, here is a shorter version of the post. Enjoy.

Dezeen has a delightfully challenging post on director of Zaha Hadid Architects Patrik Schumacher's challenge to the political correctness in architecture and to the definition of architecture as art:

Schumacher is curating this years Biennale and his argument is that "Architects are in charge of the form of the built environment, not its content, " and that as such it is not "a l’art pour l’art" discipline.

Provocative? Yes. On both points. But is it true? Is form a near-utilitarian and objective aspect of aesthetic or is it also an artistic expression? Or more strongly put - is it more of an artistic expression than a utilitarian aspect?

Schumacher opines: "We need to understand how new forms can make a difference for the progress of world civilisation. I believe today this implies the intensification of communicative interaction with a heightened sense of being connected within a complex, variegated spatial order where all spaces resonate and communicate with each other via associative logics."

Sorry, but is that not the essence of constructivism as well as, stripping out subjectivity as an expression (not the driver), also Kandinsky's theory of abstraction?

And a good expression of this interaction between spatial order, resonance and communication (on so many levels that some might imply a pun) would be constructivist Moscow's Shukhov Radio Tower.

The tower is, incidentally, in the news nowadays because of international efforts, petitioning President Putin to save it from demolition:

Here is the actual letter:

There is way more to this tower than just 'form' or connection with a spatial order alone. Instead, there is subjectivity that transcends logic. Point and line in a multinational plane.

In contrast pure heightening of the sense of being linked to form - in a very rich and beautiful way that is non-artistic is in these two examples, both from Switzerland:




So is architecture 'art'? To my amateureeing mind - yes. Is it l’art pour l’art? No. But framed in the context of space it transforms... may be it is. Afterall, intrinsic value does not have to conflict with extrinsic valuation...
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