e-flux Architecture is pleased to announce the return of Superhumanity, in collaboration with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, with Superhumanity: Post-Labor, Psychopathology, Plasticity, featuring contributions by Chin Jungkwon, Common Accounts (Igor Bragado and Miles Gertler), Arisa Ema, Hong Sungook, Yuk Hui, Kim Jaehee, Catherine Malabou, Hannah Proctor, Erik and Ronald Rietveld, and Mark Wasiuta. Superhumanity: Post-Labor, Psychopathology, Plasticity will be published as a book later in 2018, in both English, by Actar, and Korean, by Moonji.
In his short text “Louis-Philippe, or the Interior,” Walter Benjamin wrote of the new split between work and home in the nineteenth-century:
“Under Louis-Philippe, the private citizen enters the stage of history… For the private person, living space becomes, for the first time, antithetical to the place of work. The former is constituted by the interior; the office is its complement. From this spring the phantasmagorias of the interior. For the private individual the private environment represents the universe. In it he gathers remote places and the past. His living room is a box in the world theater.”
Industrialization brought the eight-hour shift and the separation of rest and labor, night and day. Post-industrialization has folded work back into the home, the bedroom, and even the bed itself. Already by 2012, more than 80% of young professionals in New York were working regularly from bed. Phantasmagoria no longer line the walls of private space, but are inside electronic devices. The whole universe is concentrated on a small screen. The bed floats in a sea of information. And as if in response, office spaces are being domesticated with sleeping pods. The bed has become the privileged site for global action. Or is it the beginning of withdrawal? With predictions about the end of human labor no longer treated as futuristic, a new horizontal architecture has taken over in a radical collapse of the distinctions between private and public, work and play, rest and action, sleep and labor.
“Every age has its signature afflictions,” writes Byung-Chul Han in The Burnout Society. We can add that each affliction has its architecture. The age of bacterial diseases—particularly tuberculosis—gave birth to modern architecture, to white buildings detached from the “humid ground where disease breeds,” as Le Corbusier put it. The age of smooth surfaces, big windows, and terraces to facilitate taking the sun and fresh-air cure ended with the discovery of antibiotics, and particularly streptomycin in 1943 (the first antibiotic cure for tuberculosis).
In the postwar years, attention shifted to the mind. The same architects who were once concerned with the prevention of tuberculosis became obsessed with psychological problems. The architect was not seen just as a doctor but as a shrink, and the house not just a medical device for the prevention of disease, but for providing psychological comfort, or what Richard Neutra called “nervous health.” The twenty-first century is, according to Han, the age of neurological disorders: depression, ADHD, borderline personality disorders, and burnout syndrome. What is the architecture of these afflictions? What do they mean for design?
The twenty-first century is also the age of allergies, the age of the “environmentally hypersensitive,” unable to live in the modern world. Never at any point in history have there been so many people allergic to chemicals, buildings, electromagnetic fields (EMF), fragrances… Since the environment is now almost completely man-made, we have become allergic to ourselves, to our own hyperextended body in a kind of autoimmune disorder.
Beyond an artistic, architectural, and social movement that took place in the first decades of the twentieth century, constructivism is a philosophy of history. It believes, in short, in the present, yet counterintuitively: as something radically contingent. Habits, patterns, values, thoughts, and beliefs: while effusing an aura of permanence, none are fixed, nor are they necessarily desired.
Constructivism is fundamentally humanist, in that takes the human itself, however it may be constituted, identified, or defined, as the ultimate object of design. It is in this sense that Soviet architecture—in conjunction with a massive state apparatus that allowed for the instantaneous and capricious geographical relocation and function reassignment of bodies—sought to dismantle patriarchal institutions such as the nuclear family and gendered labor by creating housing with kitchenless residential units as small as seventy square feet in size; an area too small for anything more than just one person.
The human is, if nothing else, plastic. It changes, and as much as we might like to believe otherwise, that change most often comes not from within, but without; from the spaces and climates we live in to the objects, information, and people, we surround ourselves with. The question of the human is not just a question of what it is, but what it can, and should be. Design cannot help but design the human, and the human cannot but help design. Design is—design must, therefore, be the answer. So what, in the famous words of Cedric Price, is the question?
Khaki Collection at Anaise
3686 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Visit and preview the collection as well as new arrivals and some MARYPING x piece a conviction jewelry styles.
“Fashion presents a particular environmental challenge due to its emphasis on constant change and planned obsolescence. According to a recent Cambridge University study, garment production and care represent a major pollutant as a result of great energy expenditure and the use of toxic chemicals. Meanwhile, the number of clothes manufactured and consumed has been steadily increasing as prices have declined due to lower manufacturing standards and labor conditions. 1 This phenomenon is in part related to the rise of fast fashion, which changes much more quickly than seasonally-based designer fashion. ””
“Rethink” seeks to directly question the fashion cycle and its dependence on fast and constant change by suggesting a paradigm shift in how we think about fashion. Artists such as Andrea Zittel and Tiprin Follett of the smockshop, Kelly Cobb and Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, as well as the design company Slow and Steady Wins the Race promote a slower fashion tempo by suggesting novel ways to produce and consume fashion. Their practices foster the creation of meaningful networks and relations through clothing as well as challeng – ing the seasonality of the fashion trade. They remind us that fashion “is about a richer interaction between designer and maker; maker and garment; garment and user. A strong bond of relationship is formed which permeates far beyond the garment manufacturing chain and influences the way our clothes are designed and used. ”
4 Slow and Steady Wins the Race makes non-seasonal quality designs that, in line with a product design model, are avail – able year-round for a number of years. Inspired by the local food movement, Kelly Cobb ’s collaborative project under – scores the labor-intensive nature of making clothes by pro – ducing a suit with material and craftspeople located within 100 miles of her home. Zoë Sheehan Saldaña also emphasiz – es the labor involved in producing a garment by recreating Wal-Mart garments by hand. She later returns her handmade version to the store for resale in lieu of the ones she originally purchased.
-Francesca Granata + Sarah Scaturro
OCC Market at Coming Soon
December 18-23, 2017
Opening 12/18/17 5:30-7:30
37 Orchard St.
A shoppable exhibition of obsessive collections curated by Sight Unseen and Tetra co-
founder Monica Khemsurov, OCC Market opens December 18 at the Lower East Side
design boutique Coming Soon. Ten object enthusiasts in design, food, and fashion were
asked to contribute “Obsessive Compulsive Collections” consisting of at least 8
variations on a single archetype, including Sabrina De Sousa of Dimes (peppermills),
Daphne Correll of Correll Correll (Mexican candles), and Mary Ping of Slow and Steady
Wins the Race (clip-on earrings). Some contributed two, resulting in 12 collections that
will be on view and available for purchase in Coming Soon’s subterranean project space,
We amassed a collection of various vintage clip on earrings sourced from eBay, Etsy, and thrift shops. We went in search of timeless, sculptural, architectural, and unusual
takes on the clip-on, whether it be a 1960s Space Age Lucite starburst shape, or
modernist silver-tone half-cylindrical bars. Our favorites are the 1950s pea-soup colored
earrings with a pivot point connecting 3 blade-shaped pieces of Bakelite that you can
wear closed or spread open. We haven’t seen anything quite like them, but we wish we
designed them ourselves.
Check back regularly for what we are reading and researching.
The holiday season is upon us, and as we take stock of all we have to be thankful for, it’s important to remember this is also a season for spreading joy. The National Book Foundation works year-round to make sure that the power and excitement of great books are available to all, and you can be a part of that mission today.
In the meanwhile, please #donate to the National Book Foundation. Thank you Kimball for spearheading the call to arms.
“The happy ending still beckons, and it is in hope of grasping it that we go on.” – Annie Proulx, author and recipient of the National Book Award medal for lifetime achievement