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    Rem lecture turned conversation

    By Arjun Bhat
    Nov 14, '06 9:07 PM EST

    so some unexpected turn of events (rem's powerpoint presentation file becoming corrupted on his flight) turned the lecture scheduled today into an improvised discussion on the state of dutch architecture, globalisation in the post 9/11 world, and the trajectory of OMA's body of work.

    the resulting panel discussion included Rem, and two of my studio profs - Mark Jarzombek and Alexander D'Hooghe. here's the discussion, or at least what I can make out from my chicken scratch notes:

    -- find out that rems power point is down and the format will be a discussion

    -- Jarzombek (J) introduces rem, states that the audience should keep in mind 3 different frames of reference during the discussion: 1. the frame of the avante garde in Europe, 2. the frame of globalisation with regards to the scope of practice, and 3. the frame of modernism v. modernity or the idea of architecture as culture or capital (refers to the polycentric globalized force of modernity)

    then he introduces a short animation (commissioned by yung ho chang) spinning Rem as a traceur leaping from project to project. you can check out the awesome animation here which was done by two of my talented studio mates Sarah Dunbar and Casey Renner (with rem bodyshot stand-in contributions by Coryn Kempster)

    -- D'Hoogue (D): question refers to the receding of optimistic tendencies in dutch culture post 9-11.

    -- Rem (R) answer: the decline in optimism started before 9-11, states that the dutch practice is steeped in smugness and superficial creativity. there is a schism between self-image and practice. states that dutch tolerance is a form of self-tolerance. then states that this is one of the reasons OMA is considering moving to Brussels

    J question: could you comment on your commitment to europe?

    R response: architecture is not an ideal vessel to address politics, altho it has a limited capacity to do so -- after 9-11 the US detached from globalisation, this presented an opportunity for countries formerly enthralled by the US to address key issues, countries like russia, china, india, the arab nations, and europe as well. the best outcome is the renegotiation of a number of issues ranging form what is human rights (a true value or a political tool?) to copy rights.

    J question: comment on capitalist corruption in architecture?

    R response: we have not become corrupt but are merely been forced to negotiate terms with capitalist forces. we have not resisted enough politically and are helpless to find other avenues of action.

    D - comment on Lagos and the research practice as a form of accommodating cultural practice?

    R response - lagos represents a crisis coinciding with infrastructure. the scale of modernization is at the scale of beijing, etc...

    D- comment on your studies being labeled as architectural excoticsm?

    R - the New Yorker has essentially called me a tourist, and this is an indication of today's crass culture.

    Rem on the new moma cctv exhibit: people don't actually believe its a building being built, so in a way its evidence of its construction.

    D - comment on the relationship between AMO and OMA?

    R - disagree with perception that they amo is a channel to excercise unfulfilled design ambitions - rather it trys to apply architectural thinking into different domains. resulted in our interest in Preservation. states that preservation's historic origins are framed by modernism, and thereby preservation is an idea of modernism.


    i'll update the rest of the transcript later...


    • publix

      at the cornell lecture, they tried to do a similar thing with an animation of rem as a DJ in a track suit while llamas prance in the background...very interesting conversation

      Nov 14, 06 10:59 pm  · 

      jeez he already postponed it twice and his "powerpoint" file got corrupted

      Nov 15, 06 3:08 am  · 

      i'd like to think that he never had this powerpoint file in the first place and just made up that story (when do powerpoint files become corrupted on flights?).
      anyways, i like discussions better. if i want to see his work and have it explained i can open up a book.

      sweet animation by the way.

      Nov 15, 06 8:59 am  · 
      Arjun Bhat

      i totally agree with that danny - i thought whatever it was that precipitated a discussion rather than an extended show and tell was a total stroke of luck. and the animation is indeed sweet.

      Nov 15, 06 9:59 am  · 

      rem traceur
      wow! very nice work. playful and smart, two of my fav things about mit.
      so how exactly does yung ho chang commission such a 'project'...? that's pretty cool of him too.

      Nov 15, 06 10:38 am  · 

      capitalist corruption blah blah.....

      here's another quote everyone should have heard...

      rem -

      'market economies bad.
      repressive, totalitarian, human rights limiting, free speech censoring, forced labor camp sending governments good.'

      Nov 15, 06 1:19 pm  · 

      powerpoint corrupts. Absolout powepoint corrupts absoloutely. Therfore Rem's powerpoint was corrupted in flight by his coctails.

      Nov 15, 06 5:39 pm  · 
      Alexander Jack

      Rem, that was good!
      Powerpoints always seem to fail...I just use Flash and Acrobat, nice and stable.

      Nov 15, 06 10:02 pm  · 

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