Samuel Beckett’s legacy endures, and reaches far beyond the written word. Of all the English-language modernists, Beckett’s work represents the most sustained attack on the realist tradition, dispensing with conventional plot and the unities of time and place in order to focus on essential components of the human condition.
Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure among architects, politicians and policy makers. A 2012 documentary unveiled the many witting and unwitting villains, including urban poverty, public policy enforced racial segregation, and urban disinvestment in favor of the White Suburban Dream.
Cassavetes’ Shadows “improvises” Beat Generation Manhattan, where two brothers and a sister, black but inexplicably played by two white actors, careening off track to scaled-back sketches of Charles Mingus’ saxophone jazz yearnings. Black and white neon signs blink and the old Times Square looms like the otherworld, naturalistic cordial racism separating the chosen from the downtrodden, both dreaming of making it, of creating something.
The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.
In the sobering aftermath of World War I in Zurich, Dada preached a radical-yet-whimsical philosophy of creativity, a self-styled anti-art. Random and meaningless by definition, calculatedly irrational by design, for a short time the movement spread like revolt to the US and across Europe, voicing the bizarre protest of a brave new community of artists and writers.
Architecture must move on from an addiction to spectacle and fad, adrift in a sea of meaningless forms, leaving serious design and sustainability problems unresolved, says Peter Buchanan. But to do this will require a more critical perspective from architectural academe and the media.
“Art is never chaste,” said Pablo Picasso. “Art is dangerous.” One of the 20th century’s greatest painters was born in Málaga, Spain, but Jonathan Jones argues he came into his own amid the sleaze and bohemianism of Paris – the only city that could have matched his peerless imagination.