Toward a Minor Architecture
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Architecture can no longer limit itself to the art of making buildings; it must also invent the politics of taking them apart. This is Jill Stoner's premise for a minor architecture. Her architect's eye tracks differently from most, drawn not to the lauded and iconic but to what she calls "the landscape of our constructed mistakes"--metropolitan hinterlands rife with failed and foreclosed developments, undersubscribed office parks, chain hotels, and abandoned malls. These graveyards of capital, Stoner asserts, may be stripped of their excess and become sites of strategic spatial operations. But first we must dissect and dismantle prevalent architectural mythologies that brought them into being--western obsessions with interiority, with the autonomy of the building-object, with the architect's mantle of celebrity, and with the idea of nature as that which is "other" than the built metropolis. These four myths form the warp of the book.Drawing on the literary theory of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Stoner suggests that minor architectures, like minor literatures, emerge from the bottoms of power structures and within the language of those structures. Yet they too are the result of powerful and instrumental forces. Provoked by collective desires, directed by the instability of time, and celebrating contingency, minor architectures may be mobilized within buildings that are oversaturated, underutilized, or perceived as obsolete.Stoner's provocative challenge to current discourse veers away from design, through a diverse landscape of cultural theory, contemporary fiction, and environmental ethics. Hers is an optimistic and inclusive approach to a more politicized practice of architecture.
are mute, communication is an illusion, and telephones reduce language to noise. As the Chairman explains to K., “All those contacts are merely apparent. . . . Here on our local telephones we hear that constant telephoning as a murmuring and singing, you must have heard it too. Well this murmuring and singing is the only reliable thing that the local telephones convey to us, everything else is deceptive.”10 Unlike the setting of The Trial, which approximates the texture of a European city (Prague
completed expediently. The patterns in the plaster are not deliberately ornamental; but the plasterer’s act of swirling the trowel is significant. It authorizes a latent secret code constructed without any apparent subversive intent. Inscribed onto the wall, this pattern is mere and mute; but once drawn from the wall, it has assumed a politicized text.26 The text was latent until it was pulled from the wall, read and decoded. The words read and riddle both come from the Old English rædan —“to
and loops that slice through cities and carve the once-fluid landscape into segments, malls and megastores in their vast seas of asphalt. In the cities, office towers with too little purpose and too much space; in the suburbs, wasted interior acreages of foreclosed homes and office buildings barely finished before the IPOs collapsed.” All this they see as available. 106 9304.indb 106 1/31/12 1:49 PM Here is an infinite amount of hope, even for us. So much space is available!—an
relationship between the forces of capital, intent on profit 116 9304.indb 116 notes to pages 14–18 1/31/12 1:49 PM through development, and the power of a local community (though unnamed, it is Bolinas, California) to resist this force. 32. “. . . still unknown sounds that come from the near future—Fascism, Stalinism, Americanism, diabolical powers that are knocking at the door.” Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka, 41. 11 The Myth of the Interior Epigraph The eight blue octavo notebooks
1–12. 27. Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale (New York: Anchor Books, 1986), perhaps more than any other work of fiction, brings these two worlds together. In a fascist patriarchy that calls itself the Republic of Gilead, all women are assigned to various roles of subjugation. The setting is described as an ordinary American suburb of the 1980s. It is the juxtaposition of these two conditions that gives the novel much of its power. A more satiric and explicit image of