Friday, 21 August 2015
'The house is gone'
In the period of real domination, the concentration of workers into the battery-like interiors of mass produced residences was achieved by applying the principle of a command infrastructure developed within factories, barracks, asylums, storage depots. But in the satellite towns of the metropolis, it is now the relatively wealthy who occupy 'prohibitively' priced, space-efficient apartments made available as the city's surplus populations are expelled towards an absolute periphery of satellite redundancy and separation. Executive flats are repackaged workers' tenements, decorated with pseudo-balconies, 'architectural' cladding and fluorescent motifs to disguise the optimising principle behind what are otherwise nothing but city-scaled 'container facilities'. Even so, the subjective condition of 'functionalised' occupancy continues to prolong its earlier habit of defending a (now much reduced) private interior, the status of which is simultaneously eroded and undermined by the architecture. The factory-farmed occupant must, by conscious effort and practiced habit, screen out the results of the building's processes which collect and concentrate both the noise and gaze of rival neighbours, who are equally suspended, pecking at each other's eyes, in a communal state of remote proximity. When the poor were hemmed-in on all sides by disciplinarian city planning, the profusion of luxuries which filled the space afforded by the wealthy served their revolutionary purpose as orientation points for a life to be lived entirely otherwise - the wholesale demolition of the 'workers' quarter' was then entirely comprehensible if it was to be undertaken in accord with a migration across town towards the leafier districts. But the abolition of the qualitative separation between rich and poor, the reduction of all dwelling to that of the optimisation of containment, leaves little of the world, and that the remains of earlier epochs, which may be considered worth the effort of expropriation. The space available for living is now so objectively degraded, both emptied of, and hostile to, any plausible social content, that the practice of 'occupation' has itself become obsolete.