[design] Ruins of Modernity

a few links and definitions by sartre...
Ruins of Modernity
Rackham Interdisciplinary Seminar

9/11 represents a watershed in world history in
more ways than one. The destruction of the
world's most famous symbolic icon of
modernity has brought to a catastrophic climax
a debate about the ways in which modernity,
broadly conceived, seems to have invented,
framed, and produced ruins. Is there a possible
elective affinity between ruins and modernity?
Ruins began to be perceived and preserved as
ruins only during the Renaissance, when the
awareness of historical discontinuities, the
demise of ancient civilizations, raised the status
of traces from the past. These traces--
architectural remnants which had long lost their
functionality and meaning--could be invested
with various attributes, historical, aesthetic,
political and otherwise. A desire for
preservation in the interest of historical
continuity barely concealed political
exploitations of ruins, in particular in the context
of revolutionary upheaval, colonial expansion,
or totalitarian aesthetic ideology.

This course will explore this nexus between
ruins and modernity from a broad inter-
disciplinary perspective and with case studies
relating to east and west, north and south.
Theoretical readings by Benjamin, Simmel,
Freud, Adorno and others.

Topics to be discussed include the
representation of ruins in Piranesi and Robert;
the uses of ruins in Romantic ideology,
constructions of nationhood, and imperial self-
legitimation; the productions of ruins in the
revolutions of 1789 and 1917; the Nazi and
Stalinist monumentalization of ruins; the German
and Soviet receptions of WW2; the status of
remmants of the Holocaust; ruins of history in
1989/91; September 11; and the re-allocation
of industrial ruins in a post-industrial age.

Pleasing Decay
by Rochelle Gurstei

The Sublime Ruin,
George P. Landow,


definitions from a concise dictionary of existentialism
ralph b. winn, philosophical library NY copyright 1960

beauty: the real is never beautiful. beauty is a value
applicable only to the imaginary. - jean paul sartre
~the psychology of imagination.

imagery: it is one thing to describe the image and
quite another to draw conclusions regarding its nature.
in going from one to the other we pass from certainty
to probability. - jean paul sartre
~the psychology of imagination.

perception: what i perceive is also what i know.
- jean paul sartre ~the psychology of imagination.


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