Re: [-empyre-] second posting from teddy cruz

To All,

Knowing how busy everyone is, and realizing that everybody might be
incredibly burnt out after days and days of exchanges? I would like
to send very brief statements?

Maybe I should try to summarize my point of view regarding the
critical spatial practices debate?

This is what bothers me:

1.At this moment, the architecture vant-garde has become fully
complicit with an international, neo-liberalist project of
privatization and homogenization, by camouflaging gentrification with
a massive hyper aesthetic and formalist project. While architects
rush to Dubai and Beijin to build their dream castles, our
institutions of architecture representation and display have lost
their socio-political relevance and advocacy.

1a. Even though this topic might be too old already, I cannot avoid thinking of the ground zero development process as the most emblematic case study of the powerlessness of artistic and architectural fields in the context of socio-political and economic realities. No matter how much architecture thinking and form seemed to have developed at the beginning of the 21st century? It had never seemed so irrelevant and trivial in the context of an usurped public process, the economic power of the developer and a governance without vision? and ultimately under the burden of cheap metaphors?

2. In general, the work of art and architecture even the kind that is
perceived as critical, continues to remain an isolated metaphor of
the conditions of crisis?even if the work allows revealing forgotten
socio-political histories, becoming an instrument of awareness? It
always seems to stop there, a sort of reminder, a memorial site, a
poetic gesture, a cage, a game. It is ultimately unable to translate
itself into actual procedures of intervention that can generate the
conditions for transforming institutions? very seldom art construct
the conditions from which new ways of intervention in the city can

3. From me the notion of the critical (critical spatial practice)
dwells in the capacity of our artistic practices to encroach into the
rigidity of institutional thinking and the stupidity of their
procedures. In my work it's been essential to critique the
institutions of urban policy, (stupid zoning), economic power (greedy
development) as well as the narrow mindedness of academia, where
researchers are developing research only for other researches.  Here
the equation is clear: No advances in housing design, for example,
can be achieved without advances in housing policy and mortgage
structures? so the challenge is how can we also design political and
economic frameworks that can yield particular social densities, modes
of affordability and so on? how can research reach the community
activist working on the trenches? policy, design and activism can

4. The challenge at this moment is to pull things apart, to
critically understand the way certain institutions operate, only then
we can propose counter procedures that can generate new models of
possibility. Traditionally, though, the notion of the avant-garde has
proposed the opposite: that the artist keeps a 'critical distance'
from the institutions in order to critique these spheres of power
from the outside. Today, what's important is what I would call a
'critical proximity,' which in fact is the opposite: it's about us
tactically entering the institutions in order to mobilize their
resources and logics of organization. It is a very different agenda,
less this sort of fake protest or rebellion.

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