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A Critique of Everyday Life

Henri Lefebvre’s magnum opus: a monumental exploration of contemporary society.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume One: Introduction. A groundbreaking analysis of the alienating phenomena of daily life under capitalism.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume Two: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday. Identifies categories within everyday life, such as the theory of the semantic field and the theory of moments.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume Three: From Modernity to Modernism. Explores the crisis of modernity and the decisive assertion of technological modernism.

Verso Books: Henri Lefebvre’s three-volume Critique of Everyday Life is perhaps the richest, most prescient work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, the Critique was a philosophical inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France and is considered to be the founding text of all that we know as cultural studies, as well as a major influence on the fields of contemporary philosophy, geography, sociology, architecture, political theory and urbanism. A work of enormous range and subtlety, Lefebvre takes as his starting-point and guide the “trivial” details of quotidian experience: an experience colonized by the commodity, shadowed by inauthenticity, yet one which remains the only source of resistance and change.

This is an enduringly radical text, untimely today only in its intransigence and optimism.

Text and Images via Verso Books

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The Center for Design and Geopolitics

D:GP begins with the supposition that the heavy carbon economies inherited from industrialization have reached an unsolvable impasse, and must at their core must be redesigned, reformed and replaced. Furthermore, as it is now amplified by planetary-scale computation, industrial modernity is now so radicalized that its ubiquity is matched only by its imminent dissolution. But other conditions are possible. They have to be. Computation does not (necessarily) replace what comes before it, but under the right circumstances it can and does, and under more rarified conditions still, it should. Deep systemic crises invite three interrelated and apparently opposing responses: modernism, inertia and fundamentalism: fight, hide, and flight, accordingly. Toward this D:GP recognizes the emergence of another, alternative modernity. Where industrialization provided heaviness, expansion, production, and consumption, our successor modernity is one of lightness, contraction, subtraction and restoration. It is an interfacial modernity not of identity and maximalization, but of externality and transference. Where industrialization was a modernity for tabula rasa, today a subtractive modernity curates a world that is infinitely full. Its radicality is not drawn from the historical or geographic momentum of a “new world,” but rooted in the precarity of globalizations that are as irresolvable as they are interconnected.

The Center for Design and Geopolitics is a think-tank based at Calit2 and the University of California, San Diego devoted to using Art and Design to develop new models for how planetary-scale computation transforms political, urban and ecological systems. D:GP was founded in 2010 by Visual Arts professor, Benjamin H. Bratton.

Text via D:GP