Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Log 11

Cynthia Davidson (ed) Log 11 New York: Anyone Corporation, 2008.

The 11th issue of log comes in black. The change though is not only in the color. It looks like the latest issue of the east coast based journal tries to point towards a ‘new’ direction in architectural theory. Not a surprise since theoretical discourse in architecture today is in a state of recession.

Log 11th’s attempt is metacritique. The idea of metacritique of course is rather vague by itself but the articles in this collection are trying to define the framework and to provide some examples. In that context one of the main points made here is the need to re-invent the political and social aspects of architecture which translates into a turn towards critical theory (it is no surprise then that in the footnotes we finds several references to thinkers like Adorno and Habermas). A return of critical theory in architecture today wouldn’t be of course very innovative; it would rather be a step backward. However, what makes things more interesting here is what in the editorial is called a “positive critique” referenced with Nietzsche’s double affirmation and proposed as an alternative to negative dialectics. I am not sure that after reading all the articles it becomes clear how affirmation and dialectics can go together but at any case there are several interesting articles selected here - like Georges Teyssot’s text on Aldo van Eyck’s Threshold (Aldo van Eyck’s Threshold: The Story of an Idea), Paul Hegarty’s On Fire: the City’s Accursed Share, Ana Maria Leon’s research on Tafuri and Klein diagrams (the Boudoir in the Expanded Field) and Pier Vittorio Aureli’s ideas about the ‘political and the formal in architecture’ (Toward the Archipelago) - that definitely promote critical thinking.
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