Still Dreaming: Space After Spectacle and the Indifference of Architecture
Susan Buck-Morris, in her book “Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West,” observed that the end of the Cold War was marked by the passing of the dream-forms of modernity — capitalist, socialist and fascist — as sustained through the experience of the built environment. If, following Walter Benjamin, we understand the awakening from the dreamworld to be premised on the conscious realization of its utopian fantasies, then what hope remained now, she asked, in the absence of any dreamworld? Douglas Spencer takes up this question through an analysis of the seemingly indifferent and post-spectacular spaces of contemporary architecture and urban space, offering, in response, an analysis that explores both its historical and its phenomenological implications.
Spencer is a lecturer in landscape urbanism and history and critical thinking at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He also serves as a PhD supervisor at the Architectural Association, University of East London and the Royal College of Art. He is the co-author of “Critical Territories: From Academia to Praxis” (ListLab, 2014) and author of “The Architecture of Neoliberalism: How Architecture Became an Instrument of Control and Compliance (Bloomsbury, 2015).
Part of the ISU Department of Architecture 2017-18 Public Programs Series, “For Other Architectures.”