Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire by Mark Wigley

By Mark Wigley

*A very, really nice colour scan.*

From the preface...

To flip one’s gaze upon New Babylon at the present time, on the shut of our century, is to come across one other global, the place shock and the excitement of the eyes mingle with innumerable questions, insights, and speculations. New Babylon used to be the point of interest of continuing Nieuwenhuys’s job from 1956 to 1974. those very concrete dates surround the construction of work, drawings, collages, lithographs, scale versions, and texts, forming the corpus that we now rediscover at Witte de With, heart for modern artwork. This rediscovery is influenced by means of a severe method of the current, trying to stay away from a purely historic description of occasions from a earlier which, even if contemporary, is still charged with major paradoxes.

Constant is an artist who, with New Babylon, turns into one of many significant visionary architects of this century. either those domain names curiosity us at the present time: the artwork and its intentions, the expression and its content material, the picture and what it conveys, the textual content and the pedagogical process within which it's inscribed. The problem is to provide an artist whose advanced, hybrid paintings unearths no effortless category — particularly within the current time of ideological flux, which permits us to tricky new arguments and to shape judgments.

New Babylon constitutes the final finished formula of an concept of the recent guy, or larger, of a social house that enables for the emergence of an different guy, of a brand new lifestyle in group, in society. New Babylon is engaged with man’s adventure of the area — and hence with the functionality of artwork — but in addition with politics, with the values and tools that we forge for our interplay with the area. Deeply rooted within the avant-garde culture which, on the outset of this century, produced such a lot of proposals for the renewal of society, New Babylon bargains a pointy distinction with the shut of our century, whilst the skill to visualize the area in a different way has considerably declined. the following, then, is a primary fascinating query: what this day is still of our skill to reinvent the area?

With this exhibition and monograph we search to create a double impression. First, to provide the joy of considering an oeuvre of remarkable caliber which, due to the fact its final entire presentation within the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1974, has in basic terms reached the general public via fragmentary displays (at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with the exhibition at the passage of a f ew humans via a slightly short second in time: the Situationist foreign, 1957-1972 in 1989; and on the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona, with the exhibition Situationists. artwork, Politics, Urbanism in 1997). moment, to recuperate and assessment the effect that New Babylon may have within the current, the place radicality, conviction, and audacity are infrequent.

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Extra info for Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire

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J. Habraken, Hart- for many years. Occasionally they would be published alongside each other. ’ Another important alliance with the architectural community was made in 1961 when a W hile aspects o f Friedman and Constant’s projects appear form ally similar, they saw colleague o f the Paris-based architect Yona Friedman sent him a copy o f Constant’s Aachen fundamental ideological differences between their w ork. In response to Friedm an’s first lecture. ’ Vast gridded space-frames would accommodate endless project carried out the critique; it remained a ‘functional city’ emphasizing private dwellings variations o f life-style dictated by the users; functions would be continuously displaced and avoiding the newly emerging condition o f mass culture: ‘It is not sufficient to transform throughout.

One could not say that a dogmatism or ideological fanaticism prevented certain solutions or experiences. ’ Constant, ‘ Manifest van de e x ­ perimentele groep,’ Reflex, no. 1 (1948), pp. 2-6. Translated as ‘Manifesto,’ in K. Stiles and P. , Theories and Do­ cuments o f Contemporary Art. A Sourcebook o f Artists Writings (Berkeley: University o f California Press, 1996), pp. 204-208. 1 80 Constant, ‘Integratie?... ,’ Forum (August 1959), p. 184. Part o f the text was used on a Liga invitation to their 1959 exhibition at the Stedelijk M useum.

79 ‘The masses, trapped by their respect for aesthetic concepts imposed from outside, do not know that they too are capable o f creation. This will be awaken­ ed by an art which makes suggestions but does not spell anything out, an art which moral and constructionform an inseparable unity. One could not say that a dogmatism or ideological fanaticism prevented certain solutions or experiences. ’ Constant, ‘ Manifest van de e x ­ perimentele groep,’ Reflex, no. 1 (1948), pp. 2-6. Translated as ‘Manifesto,’ in K.

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