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ARCHITECTURE POST MORTEM edited by Simone Brott, David Bertolini, and Donald Kunze

[From the Asgate web site] Architecture Post Mortem surveys architecture’s encounter with death, decline, and ruination following late capitalism. As the world moves closer to an economic abyss that many perceive to be the death of capital, contraction and crisis are no longer mere phases of normal market fluctuations, but rather the irruption of the unconscious of ideology itself. Post mortem is that historical moment wherein architecture’s symbolic contract with capital is put on stage, naked to all. Architecture is not irrelevant to fiscal and political contagion as is commonly believed; it is the victim and penetrating analytical agent of the current crisis. As the very apparatus for modernity’s guilt and unfulfilled drives-modernity’s debt-architecture is that ideological element that functions as a master signifier of its own destruction, ordering all other signifiers and modes of signification beneath it. It is under these conditions that architecture theory has retreated to an “Alamo” of history, a final desert outpost where history has been asked to transcend itself. For architecture’s hoped-for utopia always involves an apocalypse. This timely collection of essays reformulates architecture’s relation to modernity via the operational death-drive: architecture is but a passage between life and death.

This collection includes essays by Kazi K. Ashraf, David Bertolini, Simone Brott, Peggy Deamer, Didem Ekici, Paul Emmons, Donald Kunze, Todd McGowan, Gevork Hartoonian, Nadir Lahiji, Erika Naginski, and Dennis Maher.

Contents: Introduction: ‘the way things are’, Donald Kunze; Driven into the public: the psychic constitution of space, Todd McGowan; Dead or alive in Joburg, Simone Brott; Building in-between the two deaths: a post mortem manifesto, Nadir Lahiji; Kant, Sade, ethics and architecture, David Bertolini; Post mortem: building deconstruction, Kazi K. Ashraf; The slow-fast architecture of love in the ruins, Donald Kunze; Progress: re-building the ruins of architecture, Gevork Hartoonian; Adrian Stokes: surface suicide, Peggy Deamer; A window to the soul: depth in the early modern section drawing, Paul Emmons; Preliminary thoughts on Piranesi and Vico, Erika Naginski; architectural asceticism and austerity, Didem Ekici; 900 miles to Paradise, and other afterlives of architecture, Dennis Maher; Index.

ARCHITECTURE AND VIOLENCE edited by Beshir Kenzari

[From the Actar web site] In today's turbulent times few subjects deserve a closer scrutiny than the interactions between violence and constructed environment. Modernity's contradictory histories laid bare the fact that it is impossible to consider architecture simply a benign, passive victim of humanity's violent vices. Built space is as capable of incarnating violent acts as enacting them, disciplining and silencing the subject in the process. In this compelling volume, some of the most incisive thinkers of contemporary architectural theory make manifest the intricacies of interrelations between architecture and violent events. Employing a wide variety of perspectives and methodological approaches, the authors examine some of the most dramatic and unexpected instances of these vexing relations. LOOK INSIDE.


[Mary Robinson, "Forward"] We should reflect more on the increasingly inter- connected and interdependent world we live in. Places that a century ago would have taken months to reach by boat can be reached in hours on a plane and at a price affordable to many more people. Changes in financial markets on one side of the globe instantly ricochet around the planet. Decisions taken in one country or at a supra-national scale affect jobs and well-being in another. This is the world we have inherited sixty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reminds us of the work still needed to implement those shared values.


Exploring the emergence of a societal imperative to enjoy ourselves, Todd McGowan builds on the work of such theorists as Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek, Joan Copjec, and Theresa Brennan to argue that we are in the midst of a large-scale transformation — a shift from a society oriented around prohibition (i.e., the notion that one cannot just do as one pleases) to one oriented around enjoyment. McGowan identifies many of the social ills of American culture today as symptoms of this transformation: the sense of disconnection, the increase in aggression and violence, widespread cynicism, political apathy, incivility, and loss of meaning. Discussing these various symptoms, he examines various texts from film, literature, popular culture, and everyday life, including Toni Morrison's Paradise, Tony Kushner's Angels in America, and such films as Dead Poets Society and Trigger Effect. Paradoxically, The End of Dissatisfaction? shows how the American cultural obsession with enjoying ourselves actually makes it more difficult to do so. [From SUNY Press web site]

Table of Contents
Introduction: Psychoanalysis after Marx
1. From Prohibition to Enjoyment
2. The Decline of Paternal Authority
3. Embracing the Image
4. Shrinking Distances
5. Interpretation under Duress
6. The Appeal of Cynicism
7. The Politics of Apathy
8. A Missing Public World
9. Explosions of Incivility, Aggressiveness, and Violence
Conclusion: From Imaginary Enjoyment to Its Real Counterpart

THE HUMANITIES IN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN edited by Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, Jane Lomholt, Nicholas Temple, Renée Tobe

Offering an in-depth consideration of the impact which humanities have had on the processes of architecture and design, this book asks how we can restore the traditional dialogue between intellectual enquiry in the humanities and design creativity. Written by leading academics in the fields of history, theory and philosophy of design, these essays draw profound meanings from cultural practices and beliefs. These are as diverse as the designs they inspire and include religious, mythic, poetic, political, and philosophical references. This timely and important book is not a benign reflection on humanities' role in architectural design but a direct response to the increased marginalization of humanities in a technology driven world. The prioritization of technology leaves critical questions unanswered about the relationships between information and knowledge, transcription and translation, and how emerging technologies can usefully contribute to a deeper understanding of our design culture. [From the Routledge web site]