Friday, July 15, 2005

Disappearance of Politics

Reality is the consequence of conflict within human will and energy. We commonly place great importance on intention and action, with the result that social movements and the decisions and acts of power holders become the focal point of world attention. On this premise, the built environment in particular is treated as an object and medium to be fiddled with and fabricated into all sorts of masses and shapes. This kind of fiddling and fabrication is in a certain sense an excessively sedulous display of artificiality. Generally speaking, under sociopolitical functions, the principles of our environment often come from monotonous, cause-and-effect concepts, to the point that reality is changing in a predictive mode. At the same time, applied through our faith in social justice and concern, the need to change reality expands as so-called public consciousness or collective will. Consequently our living environment continues to be shaped by the optimistic beliefs of the public. Yet people stress the weakness of the human role in this world, noting for example, the futility in fighting with nature, the vicious cycle in the urban megalomania, or the hopelessness of understanding and communication, and the struggle between individuals and the state. All of these phenomena show the baffling and unfathomable nature of reality, yet people are still determined to fabricate reality for their personal satisfaction and the satisfaction of others in the unending, muddled rush. I am not saying that fabricating reality is false or empty. What I want to say is that the tangible and formalized method of fabrication is execrable. On the other hand, the intention to fabricate can be aimlessly accidental, following the intimate reactions of the experiential world. At this time, the fabrication of reality will no longer be a pre-supposition nor will it echo ethical norms. Rather it will gradually become a part of reality and develop and evolve with reality. This kind of fabrication, which may be called the 「disappearance of politics,」 can be used to replace all political methods and slogans. Most importantly, it is a way to consider spatial situations as the fundamental arena of reality and a basic paradigm for political application. In this way we can completely escape from the interior war of social forces and fully merge with the adventures of life to create a new beginning for human society. Simply said, the composition of society can escape the cage of human planning and artificial constructions. We can break the very nature of manmade constructions and try to use instead non-human, non-material knowledge and images. Social content will multiply in the flow of corporeal desire, and in the twists and revolts of spatial situations, individuals will become the essence of political activity, completing the stages of human self-revolution and transcending the collective nightmare. There is no doubt that architecture will clear the way toward the disappearance of politics. Architects no longer play a divine role and have no right to carry out any divine decrees. Nor ought they feel like representing any public opinion. Architecture is only an image of another world from an architect’s personal world. Brought into reality, the spaces become an oppression and self-indulgence that impacts every minute and second of our thoughts and feelings as it accumulates chaotically in cities. Through learning and selection, people gradually begin to live in a state of sudden encounters. This begins with the touch of a wall, walking down a bright corridor, weaving through furniture and lights, or entering a room under the eye of a video monitor, pausing to look at the face of a singer on a TV wall, touching another person and being squeezed into a small, sealed cell. Sometimes it alters the habit of sleep, passing from a dream to another city, or being submerged in a bathtub. One cannot help but swallow some unidentified stuff from the network download. Sometimes it is the degree of ease of passing between glass and air that creates the basic impression of a building. All of this imperceptibly forms the concept and reality of our lives in which architects participate but are not necessarily present. The disappearance of politics is not an alternative for politics. It is an alternative for wandering into the corner, replacing it with a fortuitous encounter on a stroll. Even a guerrilla warriors uses certain concepts to support their moves. Nihilism is a ubiquitous meeting and parting, giving rise to many dimensions, levels, and universes. Architecture thus, is endlessly through material morphogenesis in the immaterial state of non-human environments approaching annihilation. Ti-Nan Chi ( tangibleintangible, Garden City publication, 1998, pp56-61 )