The Brick and the Balloon: Architecture, Idealism and Land Speculation
I want to think aloud today about a fundamental theoretical problem—the relationship between urbanism and architecture—which, alongside its own intrinsic interest and urgency, raises a number of theoretical issues of significance to me, although not necessarily to all of you. But I need to ask for some provisional interest in those issues, and in my own work in relationship to them, in order to reach the point of being able to formulate some more general urban and architectural problems. For instance, an investigation of the dynamics of abstraction in postmodern cultural production, and in particular of the radical difference between that structural role of abstraction in postmodernism and the kinds of abstractions at work in what we now call modernism, or if you prefer, the various modernisms, has led me to re-examine the money form—the fundamental source of all abstraction—and to ask whether the very structure of money and its mode of circulation has not been substantially modified in recent years, or in other words during the brief period some of us still refer to as postmodernity. That is, of course, to raise again the question of finance capital and its importance in our own time, and to raise formal questions about the relationships between its peculiar and specialized abstractions and those to be found in cultural texts. I think everyone will agree that finance capital, along with globalization, is one of the distinctive features of late capitalism, or in other words of the distinctive state of things today.
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The Aesthetics of Singularity
Can postmodernity still define the present age, or is the concept now obsolescent? In a major retrospect and re-evaluation, Fredric Jameson reflects on the cultural logic of globalization and its temporalities. Art, cuisine and financial derivatives as one-off ideas and events; global politics and counter-possibilities as land-grabs, or occupied space.
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Between the dizzying technologies of the First World, and social disintegrations of the Third, does the concept of utopia still possess a meaning? Fredric Jameson on the resistant negations of fantasy-based systemic critique.
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The all-purpose G-word, as slogan and euphemism, needs taking apart. Fredric Jameson dismantles its different components—technological, political, cultural, economic and social—and reassembles them into a coherent target for collective resistance.