HCT Debate

Adrian Lahoud


Series: MA History and Critical Thinking Debates: Dis-Locutions: Architecture and the Political Organised
Date: 27/2/2015
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

Modernity is a story about how forms of calculation grew across the world allowing more things to be measured, exchanged, and to circulate. It is a story about how certain value systems came to colonize and finally rule over others. It is also a story about changes in the kinds of things we can calculate – since they are not even ‘things’ anymore – calculation applies to attention, to knowledge, certainly to our very future – perhaps even to our souls.

Crucially, with every expansion in these systems of value and the circulations they allow, more aspects of human life become linked to seemingly distant and uncontrollable transformations, for example in our climate, our economies, and our cities. These systems are evidence of a new and special kind of power characterized by actions at a distance. We are summoned by events with no origin that are dispersed in time and in space – the so-called ‘complexity’ of modern life.

This presentation will argue that today this ‘complexity’ is the very medium for contemporary forms of power. In response we must rescue an important if under theorized architectural term and give it a new life. This term is scale, and it is the key that will allow us to recompose a new political relation to our present order of indirect violence.

Adrian Lahoud is an architect and researcher. Currently he leads the Urban Design Masters at The Bartlett School of Architecture and teaches in the Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association.

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