Pure Imagination! The Crisis of Space in Cognitive Labor, from Bigness to SmallnessMarson Korbi
If you feel God is following you, you are a believer;
what are you if you know that satellites are following you
… an actor?
—Rem Koolhaas, “?” in Countryside: A Report
Every day we deal with the problem of space. The concept of space has gone in recent times into a deep crisis. As we think about the way we inhabit the contemporary city, the concept of space has been reduced to a mere problem of container vs. content, from big to small scale and from material to immaterial things.
Let’s think about problems like the urbanization/cementification of natural territories, the scarcity of land in cities, public space related to politics and economic crisis, and the housing shortage. Moreover, let’s consider the surplus of material produced in offices and in daily life (i.e., architects produce models and digital files that will be used only once, journalists produce draft papers that will never be published), as well as the daily flow of images and texts on social media, fake news and funny memes. If we think about all those things, we will realize the uncalculable amount of time and labor spent to ‘produce’ them.
While, from this point of view, space appears only in quantitative terms, dealing with built/unbuilt and economic questions only, focusing on the mechanism of hyper-production, I argue that the crisis of space should be read by analyzing the productive processes of capitalism in order to address other spatial paradigms for architecture and urbanism.
1839, Panoramas Champs-Élysées, Paris © Roberta Gaetani
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