Roemer van Toorn “Making Architecture Politically: From Fresh Conservatism to Aesthetics as a Form of Politics” (Dissertationes 37)

By grappling with making architecture politically, finding it wanting through critical analysis, observing the exemplary and often a-political role contemporary Dutch architecture, among others, played since the 90s, it turns out the problem is not to make political architecture – all architecture is political – but how to make architecture politically.

Making architecture politically opens with an analysis of the current conjecture of Neoliberalism through the concept of the Society of the And, opposing an understanding of our condition through modes of Eitherorism. While travelling along the many interdependencies of the revolutionary conservatisms of Fresh Conservatism and Progressive Neoliberalism of Dutch Architecture in the 90s, the author discovers another route in Dutch practices of architecture as well; one that works towards a possible third of emancipation with a cosmo-political outlook through an aesthetics as a form of politics.

Under the rubric of making architecture politically this book surveys how a sense of polity – through an aesthetic regime redistributing the sensible – allows for a multiplication of connections and disconnections that engage and reframe the relations between people, the world they live in, and the way they are supposed to act and behave. Such a field of possibility concerns a multiplicity of folds and gaps in the fabric of the common experience of the human and non-human that change the cartography of the perceptible, the imaginative and the feasible. As such, it potentially allows for new modes of political construction of common objects and emancipatory possibilities of collective and private enunciation. Instead of slipping into paternalism or control, the idea of such a radical openness is characterized by indeterminacy, nuance, joy, incommensurability, hospitality, dissensus, and the multitude of encounters it could generate. It is about becomings that break open the conventional way space is experienced, thought, and distributed, one that displaces the binary dialectics of colonizer and colonized, the one against the other by introducing a third (And) that belongs to both the one and the other while opening alternative horizons.

External Reviewers: Prof. Dr. Arie Graafland (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands), Prof. Dr. Panu Lehtovuori (Tampere University of Technology, Finland)
Opponent: Prof. Dr. Arie Graafland (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
Desing and Layout: Katja Hogenboom, Roemer van Toorn, Jan van Toorn (cover)
Supported by: Umeå School of Architecture, SwedenThe Faculty for Science and Technology at Umeå University, Sweden

Dissertationes Academiae Artium Estoniae 37
458 pp, in English
Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, 2022

ISBN 978-9916-619-69-8 (print)
ISBN 978-9916-619-68-1 (pdf)
ISSN 1736-2261

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Posted by Neeme Lopp