Karl Sharro is an architect and writer based in London. Read his blog at Karl reMarks.
The Duchamp season at the Barbican is a tribute to the most significant of Duchamp’s reincarnations, his American revival as the godfather of a new and irreverent attitude towards art’s institutionalisation and its obsession with the nature of the medium.
To say that Raad’s work occurs in the space between truth and fiction is a cliché that doesn’t give the work the merit it deserves. A far better way of describing it is that it explores the space between the latent and manifest aspects of Lebanese culture and history.
Viewed in historic terms, this seems like an aristocratic attack on the bourgeoisie. Think I’m joking? Prince Charles is a big fan of urban agriculture, with good reason. He has large estates that he has every interest in keeping out of the reach of the masses.
Boris Johnson has used his powers to galvanise the anti-high-rise sentiment into an object of policy. So far, he has gotten away with this unchallenged. But it is incumbent on us, those who welcome the prospect of transforming London’s skyline into an exciting scene that represents the city’s dynamism, to publicly challenge this short-sighted and un-ambitious policy.
Le Corbusier had summed up one of the crucial paradoxes of his age in his dictum ‘architecture or revolution’. His preference was clearly for the former. Le Corbusier presented better architecture and cities as solutions to the problems of the industrial city and the threat of disorder that it had nurtured.
Rather than seeing the problems of those countries as a result of their immediate circumstances and in particular their relationship to modernity, many writers go searching for answers in the depths of history. It has become almost obligatory for every book about Middle Eastern politics to recount tales from the early years of Islam and conclude they have an immediate presence in the mind of modern-day Arabs.