Is it important that architects care about society and politics?
I was so sure that it was important. Yet, throughout my undergraduate education in Architecture and now at the end of my first semester of grad school I find myself among students that prefer the polite small talk. The polite small talk about the newest Ipod or a well crafted model seems to be so terribly petty. Are we somehow more highly evolved than the English majors protesting outside of the campus Starbucks? Are those that are involved with Students Against Sweatshops wasting their time? I'm going to see the film "Syriana" tonight---should I cancel those plans only to spend the evening in the computer lab refining my portfolio? Would that make me a better architect? There is a trend or a force among the student body that is resisting politics in schoolwork. Is this maturity and objectivity or is this something else? Is this the apathetic American spirit on my heals.
Harold Pinter's Nobel Lecture, Art, Truth & Politics recently inspired me to continue thinking about this topic of apathy among architecture students.
"Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. "--Harold Pinter
This lecture can be read and heard at the following website.
Is this cushion present here in Crosby Hall? Is the small talk keeping political thought at bay? I think it might be.
I'm curious about the culture of other architecture schools and whether or not that culture inspires students to analyze political, social and economic forces in the world. Are their architecture student activists?