Thinking about my final year project so far and following initial discussions with the year coordinator it is interesting to consider the social demographic surrounding my proposed building ideas. My interest has developed from my research dissertation that considered the technical modes of montage restored by Archigram in the 1960's, their projects became the literal layering of architecture, technology, environment and the social phenomena that represented the vitality of the streets and the human experience. These techniques where partly explored through Walter Benjamin’s theories pertained to the methods of mechanical reproduction and his analytical perceptions that dismantle the urban fabric and develop new understandings of the complex social order.
|Ron Herron Tuned Suburb: Oasis, 1968|
Following a critique of consumerist society through the readings of Benjamin and reflecting on the users influencing my ideas an interesting social paradox occurs where the traditional bourgeois-capitalist both creates a degenerative minority and at the same time represses it through a social/class struggle.
I believe we have become to obsessed with the majority and a bourgeois lifestyle, Benjamin sees the colossal acceleration of the tempo of living as being heralded from the tempo of production. "In this country, the main thing is to reap a huge fortune with as little delay as possible...people want to enjoy without waiting, without having to be patient". This to me is the very antithesis of how we should consider society and in particular architecture (which in Newcastle is a scary trend). Benjamin's Arcades Project focuses on the suffering of the vanquished and in doing so liberates the suppressed and celebrates their existence.
Similar ideas are discussed in a conversation between Toni Negri and Gilles Deleuze; "What defines the majority is a model you have to conform to… A minority, on the other hand, has no model, it’s a becoming, a process. One might say the majority is nobody. Everybody’s caught, one way or another, in a minority becoming that would lead them into unknown paths if they opted to follow it through."
This leads me to the theory and approach my ideas set out to navigate via an architectural investigation that suggests a romantic notion to enlighten people through a series of projects that address social issues within the city of Newcastle. By reversing the implied importance generated by capitalist society the projects would develop as a thesis highlighting the importance of forgotten fragments and minorities in our cities and the potential that can be extracted from them.