Juche Architecture of DPRK

  That dictators generally love architecture is nothing new, and after seeing Kim Jong-Il looking at things, we’re not surprised he did as well. Though, unknown to most people was that besides being the great leader and the inventor of the hamburger, he also was a great architect. (priceless movie) He even authored the treatise On Architecture, about the art of the symbolic Juche architecture, representing the DPRK state doctrine. According to Kim, architects are both “creative workers and operations officers” whose work must get approval of the masses, “the true critics of architecture.” Yet when reading the fascinating book… Read More

ZATO – Secret Soviet Cities

The Harriman Institute in New York was recently exhibiting the exhibition: ZATO – Secret Soviet Cities during the Cold War on the dynamics between politics, urbanism, and cartographic manipulation. Unfortunately we couldn’t go there, but secret cities based on the communist ideology of ‘the Party’, for sure drew our attention. These closed cities or so called ZATO sites (Closed Administrative-Territorial Formation / Zakrytoe administrativno-territorial’noe obrazovanie) were areas for secret military or scientific research and production in the Soviet Empire. Weapons were produced there and medical experiments took place on nearly 250,000 animals to understand how radiation damages tissues and causes… Read More

Debat THEN/NOW #4

Aankomende donderdag (25 mei) zal het de debat ‘THEN/NOW #4: HET PUBLIEKE DOMEIN ALS POLITIEK MEDIUM?’ plaatsvinden in het NAi. Na een inleidende lezing van Cor Wagenaar zal Wouter Vanstiphout in debat gaan met Bernard Colenbrander, Ton Schaap en Albert Jan Kruiter op de vraag: is de stedelijke ruimte in staat uitdrukking te geven aan een glasheldere politieke boodschap die raakt aan de persoonlijke ambities van de burgers? Het publieke domein van de stad wordt gevormd door straten, pleinen, openbare en representatieve gebouwen. Ze zijn gemaakt voor gemeenschappelijk gebruik, maar het zijn ook de plekken waar de gemeenschap duidelijk maakt… Read More

Making Design and Politics: Opening statement

Yesterday, Wouter Vanstiphout joined the debate: ‘Making Design and Politics’ in the NAi. His opening statement on trust, democracy and how Making City is the one goal that should bind us all, is now published on our blog. Read it here!

Making Design & Politics

More Design As Politics at the 5th IABR! This time: the debate Making Design & Politics (pfd!), on multidisciplinary approaches taking city design into a political dimension while defining urban politics through a design approach. The debate continues where the in 2011 organized series Design and Politics: The Next Phase at the Aedes Network Campus Berlin stopped and will outline alternative approaches to making our urban environment. It takes a next step towards the realisation of this approach by considering whether and how adaptability can become its cornerstone. Besides Wouter Vanstiphout also Thomas Sieverts, Floris Alkemade and Petra Wesseler will… Read More

World Leaders and City Models

We always knew it: there’s some kind of weird chemistry between (world) leaders and city models. This time not just kim jong-il looking at things, Atlantic Cities staff writer Nate Berg gathered the evidence: 25 world leaders and heads of state showing how looking at small-scale models of big city projects can create the impression that they have some kind of control. Quite funny, but -as most lack any kind of  human activity in them- it makes you think if they actually see the difference between these utopian models and reality

Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots

Who has seen our lectures knows that Design as Politics is -just as Reyner Banham and Charles Jencks– fascinated by Los Angeles. The movies, the glamour, its rap culture and of course the Riots. Now 20 years after the violent uprising that was triggered by the savage beating of Rodney King, filmmaker and former CNN staffer Mark Ford (known from his doc about N.W.A.) released the movie Uprising: Hip Hop & the LA Riots. The film –narrated by the one and only Snoop Dogg- revisits the riots in gripping detail and documents how hip hop forecasted –some say ignited– the worst… Read More

Ill Manors

“I genuinely want to change things. This is just the first step. Let me make my point first and raise the issue, if anybody wants to talk to me about how I think we can change these things I’m ready.” With this statement the British rapper Plan B released his latest track ill manors, persuading the audience that this is not about commerce. This is the real thing! For the guardian reason to honor it with the title ‘greatest British protest song in years’. For lovers of political music -like us- almost to good to be true. The track, basted… Read More

Exhibition by Malkit Shoshan

Who thinks about the Israeli Palestinian conflict does not directly pictures a zoo and two white donkeys dyed with stripes to look like zebras. Our PHD candidate Malkit Shoshan did, resulting in the exhibition ZOO, or the letter Z, just after Zionism which is currently exposed in the NAiM / Bureau Europa. Her award-winning book ‘The Atlas of Conflict’ about the processes and mechanisms behind the shaping of Israel-Palestine during the past 100 years forms the base of this new project. The exhibition starts with page 437 of the book and unfolds in a fascinating exploration of ideas, snapshots and… Read More

Now that this Christmas thing is finally over, it’s time for serious business again: censorship. Meet Larissa Sansour, a Jerusalem-born artist with a passion, who found herself on the shortlist for the 2011 Elysee Museum Prize – which is sponsored by the crocophiles at Lacoste. Sansour was commissioned  to produce an artwork and she came up with a series of photographs depicting Nation Estate: a fictional high rise estate in Jerusalem which would house the whole Palestinian nation/state/people. Great. Right? Not really apparently – according to the reptilo-people at least. Lacoste considered her artwork to be ‘too pro-Palestinian’ and told the… Read More