Autonomy Today

Luis Rojo

Excerpt from Out-onomy, edited by Silvia Colmenares, published by DPA Prints’. Architectural Design Department, ETSAM-UPM.

In June 2016 the second Critic|all conference, in coordination with the 7th edition of the MPAA Master program, proposed reconsideration of the concept of architecture’s autonomy and its current role both in professional practice and in architecture theory.

The call issued by the conference made reference to globalization’s pragmatism and its impact over and through the economic, social, political, technological, warfare and ecological realms. And, it declared, as heir to Postmodernism and its distaste for Utopia and ideology, globalization promotes a concealed recognition of the status quo.

Certainly, if we are to re-draw once again the body of architecture – its organs or even its questioned anatomy – with the intention of discerning its identity within this global scenario, we will have to do it within the formless context of global realism and mass-media, removed from the art-object reification of architecture on which autonomy was once predicated.

Thus, if we assume that autonomy and form are programmatically relevant again, they are so within a particularly new and complex context, in which the role of architecture is more blurred than ever before, embedded in a cultural and professional context uninterested in differences, disciplinary boundaries or identities.

So we are faced with the need –if there is such need- to answer to why a debate on autonomy is relevant again today. And, necessarily and immediately after this, where do we stand today in regard to autonomy within the context of globalization, mass media and the radical interconnection of contemporary knowledge and techniques?

I will approach the task of answering both questions by outlining a certain genealogy of events that construct a sequence, a historical index of events in order to refresh our memory as well as to remind us of the recurrence of its claims.

Full content is available only for registered users. Please login or Register