Sunday, May 10, 2009

Modernism is Monkey Magic

In a thoughtful essay from his new book, Militant Modernism, Owen Hatherley writes:

So modernism is proclaimed, again, to be too good for the worker (or the “underclass”), and is left for the affluent to play with. Accordingly, in the more prestigious sectors of the neoliberal world, the proclamation of the death of modernism has proven to be much exaggerated.

... Modernism might have resurged, but in much the same way that a Labour government is no longer a Labour government, it isn’t quite the same modernism. This is a modernism that is based on the distance between itself and the everyday. While the modern design of the 1920s (in Germany, or the USSR) and the 1960s (in Britain) was immersed in the quotidian, their equivalents today are the designers of corporate skyscrapers, museums and art galleries.

Modernism is dead. Long live modernism.

While it is somewhat predictable for lefties to moan about how rich people are getting all the pretty stuff (while being comfortably middle class themselves), I also think that it is high time for Modernism 3.0, a truly revolutionary modernism which is not preachy about how people should live, incorporates technology and urban gardening and I don't know, movie nights projected on walls, and is truly affordable, modifiable, creative, wild, practical, and every bit as gorgeous as Modernism 1.0.

It's coming, I can feel it in my bones.

Picture is of a modern and nifty Cole & Son wallpaper based on Piero Fornasetti's decidedly not modern illustration. Book spotted on things magazine.

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