[01:] The frequency with which we are confronted with crises has recently shortened dramatically. The magnitude of these crises has increased reciprocally. The global crisis at the beginning of the 2020s is characterised not only by its medical causes but also by its spatial consequences. Already during their first days in the home office, architects have sought to imagine and share images of a post-COVID architecture in response to this crisis. Manfredo Tafuri, who was already considered one of the most important architectural theorists of the second half of the 20th century during his lifetime, probably sees this as an illusory undertaking. Already 50 years ago, he attested that architecture was retreating into a kind of autopoietic self-isolation due to its increasing economic subsumption. Driven by fears of becoming superfluous as a profession, it was losing itself in formal and ideological escapades. The "drama of architecture" - to paraphrase Tafuri - is that it nevertheless continues to hurl flashes of inspiration from its enclosed Olympus. These answers, translated into images, completely elude the actual questions posed to them - and even more so the reasons for which they were posed.
Thirty years later, at the beginning of the 21st century, the artist and Munich academy professor Stephan Dillemuth goes even one step further with his architectural critique. Fukuyama's end of history was followed by massive shifts in the balance between economic and executive positions of power. According to Dillemuth, this favoured the rise of new, global elites and their corporations. Associated with this, counter-enlightenment tendencies have produced a celebrity culture that resembles a court state, and architects [and artists] have degenerated into mere cheerleaders. Even socially active, politically oriented practices - this is a view that Dillemuth and Tafuri are likely to share - can be seen melting away into "decorative patterns" in the "ornament of power". Stephan Dillemuth gave this "style epoch" the name "corporate rococo."
Where we speak of crises in the plural, Antoni Gramsci arguably saw the symptoms of a single, great and comprehensive crisis. This crisis, he argues, arises during the so-called "interregnum," a time when "the old" is dying and "the new cannot (yet) be born." In the emphatic public debates of the election campaigns that have just ended in the German-speaking countries (Upper Austria, Germany and Berlin), we could see that there is by no means a consensus on what is "the old" and "the new," and if so, to what extent - indeed, even on the general relationship of this polarity. As a first orientation guide, the question should always be asked: "Who" designs/plans/builds "what" for "whom," "why," and "how?" And most recently, it could be observed, especially among younger and aspiring architects, how against the backdrop of the aforementioned debates, quite in the sense of Tafuri, they increasingly began to take an interest again beyond the "how" in its conditions and the structures surrounding.
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