“How to become modern and to return to resources”.
Paul Ricoeur, History and Truth
In the conference we intended to discuss the concept and potentials of critical regionalism in the third millennium. After the fall of the first wave of “globalisation” through the economic crisis in 2008 and with the rise of ecological and other crises, it is becoming increasingly evident that “universal civilisation” needs to respect the knowledge and experiences of “autonomous cultures”, like Kenneth Frampton pointed out in his famous essay “Towards a Critical Regionalism” in 1983, almost 40 years ago. Critical regionalism here and now, which doesn’t solely represent a certain architectural theory and related spatial practices, but also a paradigmatic spatial turn from abstract space to concrete place. Critical regionalism can thus help us solve the problems of urbanisation, the relation between historic towns and suburbia, regions and states, states and continents, continents and the entire planet… Through critical regionalism, which – as indicated by the name itself – combines cosmopolitan critical viewpoint with regionalism as a sense of local specificity, universal civilization can be attuned to autonomous cultures, and all of them to nature. The various crises, which always start locally, but later become increasingly global, whether urban, ecological, financial, health-related or last but not least war crises, also have a common denominator in space and are much easier to solve with a changed spatial paradigm. By pursuing critical regionalism (Kenneth Frampton), through the phenomenology of senses (Juhani Pallasmaa), and by utilising spatial and place principles, it may be possible to guide architectural and urban development and once again establish links between the modern and the traditional, the scientific and the artistic, the technological and human, the cultural and the natural. Such urban development would no longer address only contemporary sustainability but also be able to sustain the future. We can come from “clashes of civilisations” to “the coexistence of cultures” – with a proper change we have a chance to develop this ability…
In a world where technology seems to be the driving force in our everyday living and working, where evolution of so-called “artificial intelligence” can be even more powerful than “industrial revolution”, maintaining the human touch and unity has never been more important. Working and creating together can benefit not just the design process and the work of the studio, but the growth of our own being as well.
Instead of chasing different postmodern strains of “virtual reality” and “reality shows”, where people lose themselves as in ancient labyrinths, it would be, above all, a good idea to rediscover the real. Beyond virtual-ity, we can discover the virtue-lity of real… We can think in a such subtle way as if to almost touch the thing as such and come closer to reality in its safety … We do not just need an analytical review of the objective and subjective, technological and human, outside and inside – what we really need is an insight into the spatial dimensions of a place, we need the insight in site, here and now!
Curator and moderator: Janko Rožič (ODPRTI KROG), moderator: Kristina Dešman
Debate is a part of the 3-part Conference. More here.