Out of Time? Herbert Lachmayer

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Out of Time?

Herbert Lachmayer

"The world ... also stands in the latency of nothingness. Also meant with hidden [is] a state wherein the distant birth of a new one is circumvented…"1 (Ernst Bloch)
The unanimously expressed thesis of the "end of utopia"2 has prevailed for some time now in current academic discourse and feuilletons. Joachim Fest, for example, refers to it in Der zerstörte Traum. Das Ende des utopischen Zeitalters (The destroyed dream. The end of the utopian era)in 1991 as does Richard Saage in his short work of 1992, Hat die politische Utopie eine Zukunft? (Is there a future for political utopia?)3 Yet if we really do live in a post-utopian era, then the question still remains of how the social and also individual utopia resources have dispersed. What happens, for example, to the dimension of the future as an occurrence that is yet to come, when the utopian moment in the chronology of the social – i.e., the historical – no longer exists? Must we bid utopia a final adieu in the twenty-first century as well? What concept of actuality and what type of awareness of life can we associate with the present and its problematic directness, or more precisely, its authenticity, if there is no socio-cultural consciousness keeping a society in motion – if what is left behind of the former "principle of hope"4 (E. Bloch) is merely a "hopefully" left over for optimists. What does it mean for the complex and also antagonistic development of a technology dominated, liberal but also at the same time conservative-traditional or even fundamental agglomeration of societies when the u-topos – the historical "non-place," or more precisely, "not-yet-place" – is regulated and dominated only by the efficiency parameters of a neo-liberal achievement-oriented society? For architecture – which as a mass product is already committed to the serially producing building industry – what comprises the avant-garde quality so lastingly shown in the modern era; in particular in the modernity of the twentieth century?
Architectural utopia is always social utopia too. The use of the term "utopia" in relation to architecture refers to two derivations from Greek: eu-tópos meaning "happy home," and ou-tópos, which could also be translated as "nowhere home." In modern European culture, the concept can first be found in Sir Thomas More's major work, Utopia5 (1516) – written in Latin. In this work, More describes fifty-four cities on the fictitious island of Utopia, which he distributes in a uniform network throughout the island, with the remark, "If you know one of its (Utopia's)6 cities, then you know them all." In the Renaissance, ideal social arrangements and worlds were drafted as counterworlds, as rediscovered and manifested in the concept of the ideal city. By "ideal city" we can "understand the paradoxical attempts to realize a utopia, the urban gestalt as its visible expression … an archeology of formed utopias"7 – as Hanno Walter Kruft describes in Städte in Utopia. Since the fifteenth century we find an impressive series of exemplary models and also realized ideal cities, such as: Pienza (1459), Sabbioneta (1554), La Valetta (Malta, 1566), Palmanova (1593), Grammichele (1693), Noto (1693), Freudenstadt (1619), Richelieu's ideal city "Richelieu" (1631/34) – prompted by Tommaso Campanella's vision of a "città del sole"8 (the Dominican Campanella's description of an ideal city layout), San Leucio bei Caserta (1756), Chaux (1779), the Shaker settlement in Hancock (Massachusetts, 1786), and others.
In the ensuing time, the model of the ideal city also became a trademark as an exemplary concept of a social utopia when attempts were made to elevate the "good life" within society to a common norm. Thus in France, the Grand Nation of the Enlightenment, the ideal city – as drafted in a reformist manifesto by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux9 (1804) or the social reformer Charles Fourier10 (1822) – became elevated to the model for a new social contract as a continuation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Contrat Social11 (1762). The idea that a reformed society could only be realized and confirm itself in the concrete construction of a (radically) reformed city, can be found again in the designs of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As a more conservative countermovement to the progress-oriented ideal cities, in 1896 Theodor Fritsch conceived a "city of the future,"12 with which he wanted to make available a better foundation for urban construction. In his theory of the garden city Fritsch propagated an intact world in which the destructive elements of industrial civilization are pushed as far as possible to the peripheries of the city and are thereby also socially repressed. In England, Ebenezer Howard pursued his idea of the garden city movement, significant in its historical efficacy, The Garden Cities of Tomorrow, 13 which was congenially picked up and implemented for a villa quarter in Berlin by Hermann Muthesius – whose significant writings also include: Das englische Haus14 (1904-1905) and Landhaus und Garten15 (1907). Both architects were entirely skeptical of industrial society's negative effects, convinced of the disadvantages of dense settled urban developments and at the same time inspired by them. In opposition to such anti-technology and anti-industry concepts, which are ultimately expressions of anti-urbanity, in 1901 the French architect Tony Garnier developed the project of an imaginary "Cité industrielle,"16 in which the idea of a humane and rationally planned industrial city was declared the ideal city of the modern era. Ludwig Hilberseimer's Großstadtarchitektur17 published in 1927, is also based on a similar approach. Three years previously he had already drafted a plan for a city with pane-like high-rise buildings, the "Ville Verticale." Until the end of the 1920s, Le Corbusier was busy with exemplary plannings of "ideal cities:" Ville contemporaine pour trois millions d'habitants (1923), Plan Voisin (1925), Plan Obus, Algiers (1930), and La Ville Radieus (1930). His largest contract was the planning of an entire city in India, Chandigarh; the overall planning and architecture for the capitol complex – courthouse (1951-1956), administration building (1952-1956), and the parliament building (1953-1963). At the beginning of the 1930s' milieu of pan-European thinking, came the eccentric "Atlantropa" project by Herman Sörgel. The idea was that lowering the water level of the Mediterranean by about 180 meters would create an immense land gain for the entire Mediterranean area. In the context of this major project there arose, among others, projects by Lois Welzenbacher (New-Marseille and the major power station Gallipoli, 1930) and also concepts by Hans Döllgast. At this point we should also note the world's fairs, which occasionally have a certain model-like affinity to the concept of the ideal city – for example, the 1939 World's Fair in New York. The most spectacular city-planning project of the 1950s was undoubtedly "Brasilia" as the new capital of Brazil. The overall plan was by Lúcio Costa (1957). From 1956-1961 Oscar Niemeyer was the chief architect for the planning of the capital; he designed all of the important public buildings. At the center is the capitol building, built from 1958-1960, at the "Square of Three Powers." Yona Friedman worked out a comparably revolutionary vision of a city between 1958 and 1965 with "La Ville Spatiale." Friedman documented this highly efficient idea of urbanity, also valid for the so-called Third World, in his two most important books, L'Architecture Mobile18 (1958) and It's Your Town, Know How to Protect It19 (1975). Paolo Soleri developed his model city "Arcosanti" in the desert of Arizona (from 1970). In the 1980s with "New Urbanism," a rather backward urban development reform movement began, initiated around 1980 with the building of "Seaside" in Florida, followed by "Celebration," pretentiously called the "model city of the twenty-first century," based on plans by Robert Stern in 1994 and likewise realized in Florida. These highly controversial city phantasms for the well-off middle and upper classes united contemporary comfort and traditional urban development (historical ground plans) with regional architectural styles. In recent times, projects in the form of "urban research" have replaced the city utopias. The Netherlands has played a decisive role in this, primarily Rem Koolhaas. His Delirious New York20 has been a cult book since 1978 and his "Harvard Project on the City" has become an icon for a younger generation of architects. His "MUTATION Project" was presented in Bordeaux in 2000/01. Also worthy of mention are both the research and realized constructions of MVRDV, who caused a furor with "Metacity/Datatown"(1999), among other projects. In keeping with the period, the concept of the ideal city is no longer influenced by utopia. Instead, with digitization and the model-like availability of virtual worlds, it follows a type of "new discovery of the city in the era of global networking," as prophetically announced in the subtitle of the book "Virtual Cities"21 by Christa Maar and Florian Rötzer. In this confrontation of technologically-oriented architectural visions, a "digital urbanism" controversially faces "digital de-urbanization – "asymptomatic architecture" and more. And finally, we should point out the innovative architectural developments since the 1960s: "Archigram" (Ron Herron, Peter Cook, David Greene, Michael Webb, Warren Chalk, Dennis Crompton), Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, Haus-Rucker-Co, Zünd Up, New York Five, Ludwig Leo, and others, and in the following generation, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Bernhard Tschumi, Ben van Berkel, etc. Also Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel, Morphosis (Thom Mayne), to mention only a few important names, reflect a constantly inspired architectural avant-garde – above and beyond the postmodern – which is constantly casting a visionary glance at urban utopias, innovative aesthetics, and urban concepts. Despite apt categorization such as "deconstructivism," etc., high-quality contemporary architecture has, for the most part, renounced all-inclusive ideologies.
How can architecture follow the apparently utopia-less information society (not only of the highly industrialized "First World") and its globalizing civilization dynamics with spatial manifestations if building is no longer done for eternity – as previously manifest in the megalomaniacal and bizarre claims of national socialism (Hitler's and Albert Speer's gigantesque architectural fantasies for Linz and Berlin), Stalinism, or the building activities of Ceaucescu and other totalitarian despots who wanted to make their marks on the millennium. Architecture is increasingly aware of its imminent temporality – the calculable length of its production time and use, and also foreseeable decay or demolition – not only in terms of its building materials, but also in the media society as a producer of everyday cultural symbols. In this respect, in today's increasingly image-driven society the legibility of architecture and urban planning is meaningful for everyday urban life following the demise of traditional orientation patterns based on a long-standing understanding of the city. This also applies to design whereby the manifold applications of the concept extend far beyond the mere design of the area or surrounding area and have captured a comparatively universal, and also questionable scope of usage such as: organizational design (instead of corporate culture), socio-design (instead of politics), psycho-design (instead of religion or therapy), etc. All of these branches imbued with design competencies – architecture, city planning, etc. – are faced with a great challenge, more so now than ever before. This challenge is both in their functionalist role and in creating social identity; especially because work and people's free time has been subject to a fundamental – not only technologically determined – structural transformation. In terms of technology, digital control possibilities have naturally also influenced the machine house and city, even when one is no longer faced with their "inner life" – also in this lies the fulfillment of an architectural vision.
In today's working world, holding a lifelong career role is increasingly a thing of the past. Much more, professional life and the required skills have been divided into a multitude of professionalized special abilities. The identity of the individual in our society has also corroded and been transformed into standardized "identifying fragments," each of which lead a person, in relation to a project, to extremely different forms of work and life: patch-work, patch-life. To survive in this type of working environment of outsourcing, flattened hierarchies, and constantly changing contractual situations, etc., not only multifarious specialization is required, but also that proverbially demanded universal flexibility, which must also simultaneously be augmented with a highly developed communicative, social, and general competence in order to remain viable in a constant re-orientation – a challenge which is primarily mental and which many are unable to deal with at all times and places. Even before the spurt of technological-digital development and its current neo-liberal form of achievement-oriented society (and its seemingly non-ideological pragmatism of success often at the cost of social justice), there was already a radical dissolution of distinctively conventional outlines of a career, of so-called monosequential careers signifying; school, training, job, marriage, family, pension, etc., standing in a linear sequence of stages of life that were still worth striving for and, in a certain sense, were still self-evident in the "welfare state" after World War II and in the then inherent ideas of social security. Architecture and design have to react in a highly sensitive and innovative manner – with a huge mortgage on expectations – to such a rapid, radical change of society and everyday culture. New forms of work and organization in independent and dependent occupations, mixed forms of part-time jobs and autonomous project work, etc., also require new spatial qualities, functionally and aesthetically, which no longer correspond with the cliché of the traditional workplaces of conventional offices.
Dislocated working models that can abstain to a large extent from the physical presence of workers open up undreamt-of perspectives for architectural layouts and design. Constantly changing scenarios of project-oriented networks of authorities and decision makers demand communication spaces completely different from the classical open-plan office or the individual workstations of bygone days. The progress of information and communication technologies, whose means of functioning remains largely unseen, calls for design and architecture to create new symbolic contexts interpretable in everyday cultural terms – and here is where today's designers can find an entirely utopian challenge. Naturally, this concerns not only the working world, but to the same extent a new layout for living areas, as long as they are not totally subsumed by the consumer dictates of an extensive offer of designed leisure (from serially prefabricated interiors to consumer-oriented stereotypes of the "leisure world" in the form of goods). It is precisely the already problematic private sphere that demands an ambitious ambience to remain visually present in the desire for distinctive or prestige-conforming recognizability. Today's life projects (as a single, in temporary relationship with life-stage partners, or as a small family) are often also mixtures of work and leisure time realms which are narrowly woven together through the real, economic, and career determined conditions for life and survival. Architectural visions must satisfy these current issues; they occur in the here and now. Postponing their realization for the future is just as anachronistic as conjuring up an anticipated utopia of a state of happiness that is postponed until a far distant time. For the young generation facing challenges very early on in terms of their education and career, the dimension of the future is largely implemented into the present. Visions and promises of happiness are not accepted as constantly postponed horizons of expectations. For the younger generation, visionary and utopian potential must be foreseeable and to a certain extent graspable as an opportunity for change; naturally, one should be prepared to analytically and dynamically comprehend the present in its contradictory inconsistency. In that, the utopian time capsule can be preserved in the present, activated, and first and foremost it can become effective through critical knowledge and productive fantasy. Seen in this way, we cannot speak of a loss of utopia for our era, but rather, more so of encapsulated utopias that are equally stored and displayed in the sediment of an amorphous forward-pushing and forward-pushed present – thus, latent utopias.
The talk of "the end of utopia" as a popular thesis of the 1990s leads to slogans such as the "post-utopian era" or the "utopia problem." Utopia seems banished to a historical museum for ideological constructions of history. But the goal cannot be to merely deliver a theoretical proof of different concepts, but rather, also to maintain a certain concept of the utopian as subversive and system transcendent. That is possible when there is no denial of the aporetic and deeply contradictory core of utopian thought. It is precisely the inconsistence expressed therein that causes a utopia elevated to a totality to become set in dogmatism and thereby fail. Utopia can only maintain its vitality by withdrawing from its own ascertainability and from an exclusively factual world. This model of a "critical utopia," as argued in different variants by the Frankfurt school, was committed to a concept of utopia, which for Theodor W. Adorno, for example, remained beyond the reality of the now, thereby enabling a specific glance at the future, and is nonetheless not genuinely a thought after modernity. Adorno's main work, Negative Dialektik,22 is in no way theoretically opposed to postmodern political theory. Against the dogmatism of redemption and against the arbitrariness of a fantasy that affirms social relations, a "critical utopia," can stand its ground, "in accordance with the command to beware of utopianism" on two counts: namely through the ban on images (no "touching up" or "painting over" socially harmonized states of happiness, located beyond all contradictions of the ruling society) and the ban on definitions (no practical formulas for the lifting of real shortcomings are to be expected or prepared from a critically reflected utopia). Adorno's "Negative Dialectics" has proven itself as a consistently presented figure of thought that confronts radicalism and its associated autonomy without making a cheap compromise.
As a result, the essential function of utopia is the critique of what is available and existing. Utopia can no longer be an ethos in the sense of right or wrong – critical utopia makes evident the necessity of self-reflection. It remains in the status of self-critique, but also aporia, the understanding of its always presupposed contradictoriness. In utopian thought it is essential to critically maintain and reflect on this, but never to dogmatically level it off. If this contradictoriness is leveled off, then utopian thought loses its power to produce a self-reflective distance to reality and thereby to the ruling and dominating relations of society. Walter Benjamin, in an early text, Theologisch-politisches Fragment23 (1937/38), sets his utopia concept in the context of an enlightened unorthodox view of the messianic. "Seen historically, it [the kingdom of God, a type of religious utopia]24 is not the goal, but rather, the end. Therefore, the order of the profane [worldly utopia]25 cannot be constructed from the idea of the kingdom of God … The order of the profane has to arise from the idea of happiness. Everything earthly strives for its downfall in happiness; however, only in happiness is the downfall destined to be found." For Benjamin, in this treatise "profane order" is a sign of the "coming of the messianic kingdom," or at least its "quietest approach." The fact that all happiness leads to the downfall of the earthly, is for Benjamin the condition for becoming fully aware of the "direct messianic intensity of the heart" – the core of this utopia – through unhappiness, "in the sense of suffering." The end of Benjamin's treatise arrives at an extremely radical point: "Because nature is messianic from its eternal and fatal transience." To strive for this, also for those stages of humanity which are nature, is the task of world politics, whose methods have to be nihilism."26 The promesse du bonheure, the promise of happiness that is even written into democratic constitutions, becomes a clichéd utopian ritual, which must seem almost cynical to a great deal of people affected by neo-liberal achievement stress – almost a return of political correctness from earlier days. Jean Améry, in his essay Reformation oder Revolution27 (1972), attributed the concept of utopia with a characteristic feature whereby the ideal and the real are productively bound in their discrepancy: "In grasping the concept of utopia we cannot do without dialectics. Utopia is an inherently contradictory idea: we must understand it as utopia and at the same time seek it as a reachable reality. If it is understood exclusively as the never-point in time in the land of nowhere, then it loses the its historical-motorial power. Utopia cannot be an illusion…"
The statement: "Utopias always appear in utopian/anti-utopian discourse," is positioned as an argument in such a way in the foreword to the anthology Utopie und Moderne,28 (1996) edited by Rolf Eickelpasch and Armin Nassehi, that the claim of utopia-less-ness must then be questioned when, from the view of a pragmatism that conforms to reality, every idea of a "critically-designing utopia" is supposedly exposed or eliminated. The crossing of utopian and anti-utopian theses and countertheses finds frequent expression in opposites with contradictory content: the technical progress of industrialization versus exodus from the city (from the late nineteenth century through the 1980s), centralist social utopia versus individualistic self-realization, radical revolutionizing of social conditions versus evolutionary structural changes in democracies, etc. In modern times utopias appear in the form of an enlightened belief in rationality and progress, with the claim of being able to construct rationally the social – and it is here where the tendency toward utopia can escalate into totalitarianism. Utopia is in a way comparable to myths in the history of technology: certain myths of long distance communication (telepathy, hearing voices, inner voices of consciousness, etc.) are destroyed through technological progress such as the telephone. Marcel Proust ornamented the later banality of the telephone in mythological-literary form in his novel In Search of Lost Time with the description of women telephone operators as "modern nymphs" in the "underworld" of the telephone connection center.29 On the other hand, the same technological progress produces new myths vividly demonstrated by science fiction literature since Jules Verne and the American tradition since the 1920s through to today's film and television. The absorption of myths by technological innovation corresponds with the production of new myths (by a fantasy exploding through technology), just as the loss of utopia can in no way calm the desire for a transformability of existing conditions that is critically projected into the future. Cultural pessimism directed against utopia (from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Arthur Schopenhauer) since the end of the nineteenth century (from Max Scheler to Karl Schmitt to Odo Maquard) has usually appeared as a counter reaction to the unspoiled belief in progress. Among other scenarios, it designs apocalyptic horror visions of a totally industrialized world and a totally controlled mass society (Regeln für den Menschenpark30 Peter Sloterdijk), in which the danger of the hubris of technology, the overestimation of philosophical rationality, cogitation in general, the natural sciences, and market interests are beseeched. For these skeptical to cynical thinkers, utopia is not a philosophically legitimate topós, but rather, simply a dystopia (synonymous with anti-utopia), which rests on manipulative deception or self-deception.
From the fading – or disappearance – of utopia from everyday use in today's strong word-dominated language on the one hand we can derive the actual manifest or even irreversible loss of utopia and on the other argue for an era of latency of utopia – as though we were dealing with a sleeping utopia, so to speak. "Latency"31 appears as a central concept in the philosophy of Ernst Bloch when he says that a "tendency" for the "realm of freedom" is inherent to history: latency is the "utopian underpinning" of this "tendency." Naturally, this is not given à la "the finished heaven of the hereafter" ("Experimentum Mundi") or of its "latent God" (The Principle of Hope). However, in the style and diction of Jacques Lacan, latency can mean "articulating it:" "According to its nature, the object is an object found once again. The fact that it is lost is the consequence – however subsequent. And thus it is found again, without our knowing of its loss other than from this rediscovery."32 This object, this thing – one could say that it is in a "state of latency" – functions only in view of a certain expectation and with a certain orientation of the subject. This means, however, that it is not only latent, but also affectively occupied. Every utterance says more than what is said; every word refers to a possible multitude of meanings, thereby has a great number of meanings. The task of psychoanalysis is to comprehend this (unconscious) extra in the subject's spoken word, to decipher the orphaned surplus of meaning to which the actual speech of the subject refers, the "latent signifiers." For it is in this extra that the "true" ego of the subject hides. Through it, the subject's desire articulates itself and this is precisely what psychoanalysis can make appear for brief moments. For Sigmund Freud, the point of view of the consciousness-representation of psychic conditions became a central category of thought for psychoanalysis. It leads to the concept of the unconscious, this instance in Freud's topology of the personality which accommodates all latent contents of the psyche. Freud used the term "latent" and its complementary term, "manifest," explicitly in dream theory. Here, "latency" attained the general meaning of unconscious. The true meaning of a dream is unconscious or latent and only accessible with the help of a suitable psychoanalytic procedure explained in Die Traumdeutung33 (1900). Sigmund Freud uses the term "latency" as a key term in cultural history and also as a central concept in his psychoanalytical interpretation of the sexual development of the individual, in which the history of human civilization is, as it were, repeated. The hidden and repressed levels of this cultural development offer ever new occasions for the poetic creativity of rediscovering these contents of human history: "The more undetermined the tradition has become, the more useful it is for the poet."34
A possible advantage for utopia in a state of latency – in a time of heavily discussed, if not mourned, loss of utopia – might exist because the utopian kernel of our analytical thought and aesthetic behavior is stored at the center of a critically directed power of imagination – and must no longer be placed – ideologically bold and simple as a declaration of intent – programmatically before all notions and ideas. In today's media public, utopian declarations are, anyway, collectively obsolete, irrelevant and unasked, and as claims for the future they are only relevant in so far as they conform to the reality principle in the world of facts and files. Progress deposits outsourced to future anticipations are not taken seriously and land in the niches of sectarian rituals of bizarre nostalgia. Cultural concepts that are often accompanied by the compulsive aim of bringing happiness to humanity, hardly have a chance of resonating in the survival pragmatism of neo-liberal society – the age of manifestos is over. Nonetheless, politics, business, and media continually and on a massive scale create pseudo-utopianisms of drastically manipulative efficiency – seen in this way, the relentless goals of achievement-oriented society; of consumption, the discrepancy between rich and poor, the dominance of the power monopolies, etc., are offered and sold to global mass society as though they were actually organic ideas of humanity's aims (genetically conditioned) – everything that is good and expensive. Critical utopia, as a latent power of resistance to being overtaken by the deeply brutal machinery of civilization and its political, economic, and social omnipotence, can no longer be exhausted in moral statements and the resulting differentiation and exclusion.
For architects, designers, and urban planners, it is essential to place the analytical research of socio-cultural contents of a task assignment before the design, as the formal-aesthetic decisions have to be due to inspirations which have already transformed the critically reflected content of the task to illustrative forms and images. The motto is not intellectual analysis versus architectural creativity, but rather a critical grasping of social effects of the task – naturally taking into consideration the functional and use-relevant requirements of the client's wishes, if they are major corporations or powerful market players. Going against the trend is also a trend; the compromises often run ahead of the resistance. Perhaps a new form of critical vision or utopian behavior exists in the production of a distance in view of a mercilessly expanding de-spacing of our urban worlds to a nightmarish architectural agglomeration in the name of prestige; a worldwide constant replay of the consumer mile and the obligatory cultural quarter in the urban all-everywhere of the cities. The contemporary figure of the artist, and also architect, pursues his or her latent utopia in a productivity that has turned subversive, making architectural statements but not making themselves dispensable through rejection. Where the constructed mass architecture creates emptiness, the longing always arises – at least vaguely – for alternatives with living contents. Accentuating this unsatisfied yearning through radical spatial interventions in a mass society (that is not only urban), is the task of a new architectural avant-garde which owes its critical potential to the emphasis of a latent utopia. Placing explosive counterworlds in the world of the established, with no speculation on fulfilling them in the distant future, allows the revolutionary moment of this new utopian form to sparkle.
Utopia in a state of latency makes us aware of the role of the architect, which refers to an exemplary construction of individuality, through which the question of the subject (not only the one of history, but also the individual subject) is asked anew – after the subject has so often been declared dead. This issue of the subject in a time that is void of utopias as well as subjects makes the dimensions of time – past, future, present – equally virulent. In the treatise, Liebe Dein Symptom wie Dich selbst!35 (1991), Slavoj Zizek writes: "The subject is confronted with an occurrence from the past that it wishes to change, it returns to the past, intervenes in the events and finds out – not that everything is unchangeable, but rather – that it is first through his or her intervention from the future that the past events will have been!" Zizek is not interested in time as a whole, but rather the confrontation with time as a future construction, the resulting paradoxes and the attempts to solve them. Perhaps through that, a certain individualism will be more comprehensible, which as a creative dealing with oneself is turned into something productive, when the psycho-technical corset of architects' production habits is removed – spatially conceptual fantasies are set in motion and can become explosive as ideas. The revolutionary position of architects in the future will possibly consist of following the changes in the dimensions of time asynchronously, so to speak, in that they will be capable of working against them. The era of the static in the spatial creation of architecture is over, although static must function now more than ever as a requirement of construction technology. Nonetheless, one still allegorically associates an accelerated utopia with the ancient image of the island of Utopia from which both Thomas More's and Oscar Wilde's fine pens drafted the unquenched yearning of humanity. In his essay The Soul of Man under Socialism36 Wilde, as an actively decadent poet, brought one of the perhaps most vivid and bold descriptions of Utopia into the literary picture: "A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias." We owe the dash of escapism and adventure (not only in the mind) to that emptiness in latency, that productive nothing, which – if missing – extradites one to the omnipotence of the factual and locks one up in it. When the split, the trick of a distance from the nothingness in the world of virtual and real coercions is successful, the utopian appears ghostly beyond the mirror. Today, as before, it is disastrous and false to label this profane poetic self-transcendence of artistically inspired architects as utopian, as though it could be announced in a program. Latent utopia withdraws irrevocably from all formulas and therefore cannot revive from these any strategy for remembering.
1. Ernst Bloch, Das Prinzip Hoffnung, 5 volumes, Frankfurt/M. 1959; cf. Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope, 3 volumes, Cambridge/Mass. 1995.

2. Joachim Fest, Der zerstörte Traum. Das Ende des utopischen Zeitalters, Berlin 1991.

3. Richard Saage (ed.), Hat die politische Utopie eine Zukunft?, Darmstadt, 1992.

4. Ernst Bloch, Prinzip Hoffnung, 3 vol., Frankfurt/M. 1959.

5. Thomas Morus, De optimo reipublicae statu, deque nova insula Utopia etc., Löwen 1516.

6. Author's note.

7. Hanno Walter Kruft, Städte in Utopia. Die Idealstadt vom 15. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert, Munich, 1989.

8. Tommaso Campanella, "La città del sole," in: Scritti scelti di Giordono Bruno e Tommaso Campanella, Luigi Firpo (ed.), Turin 1968, pp. 405-464.

9. Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, L'Architecture considerée sous le rapport des l'art, des mœurs et de la législation, Paris 1804.

10. Charles Fourier, Théorie de l'unité universelle or Traité de l'association domestique agricole, Paris 1822.

11. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Contrat Social, Amsterdam 1762; cf. ibid., The Social Contract, Penguin, 1968.

12. Theodor Fritsch, Stadt der Zukunft, Leipzig 1896.

13. Ebenezer Howard, The Garden Cities of Tomorrow, London 1902.

14. Hermann Muthesius, Das englische Haus, Berlin, 3 vol., 1904-1905.

15. Hermann Muthesius, Landhaus und Garten, Munich 1907.

16. Tony Garnier, Une cité industrielle (1917), Riccardo Mariani (ed.), New York 1990.

17. Ludwig Hilberseimer, Großstadtarchitektur, Stuttgart 1927.

18. Yona Friedman, L'Architecture Mobile, Paris 1958.

19. Yona Friedman, It's Your Town, Know How to Protect It, Strassbourg 1975.

20. Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York, New York 1978.

21. Christie Maar and Florian Rötzer, Virtual Cities, Basel a.o. 1997.

22. Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialektik, Frankfurt/M. 1966; cf. Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Continuum, 1983.

23. Walter Benjamin, Theologisch-politisches Fragment, Gesammelte Schriften II/1, Frankfurt/M. [written 1937/38].

24. Author's note.

25. Author's note.

26. All quotations from: Walter Benjamin, Theologisch-politisches Fragment, 1937/38.

27. Jean Améry, Reformation oder Revolution, In: Merkur 26, 1972.

28. Rolf Eickelpasch und Armin Nassehi, Utopie und Moderne, Frankfurt/M. 1996.

29. Marcel Proust, Die Welt der Guermantes 1, in: Ibid., Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit, vol. 4, Frankfurt/M. 1979; cf. Marcel Proust, Guermantes Way, in: Ibid., In Search of Lost Time, D.J. Enright (ed.), Modern Library, 1993.

30. Peter Sloterdijk, Regeln für den Menschenpark, Frankfurt/M. 1999.

31. Ernst Bloch, Latenz, Tendenz, Utopie, Frankfurt/M. 1977; cf. Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia, Stanford Univ. Press, 2000.

32. Jacques Lacan, Seminar VII. Die Ethik der Psychoanalyse, Weinheim/Berlin 1996; cf. Jacques Lacan, 7. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960, Jacques-Alain Miller (ed.), New York 1992.

33. Sigmund Freud, Die Traumdeutung, Leipzig/Vienna 1900; cf. Sigmund Freud, Interpretation of Dreams, James Strachey (ed.), Avon 1983.

34. Sigmund Freud, Der Mann Moses, Amsterdam 1939; cf. Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, Katherine Jones (ed.), Random House, 1987.

35. Slavoj Zizek, Liebe Dein Symptom wie Dich selbst!, Berlin 1991; cf. Slavoj Zizek, Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out, Routledge, 2001.

36. Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, Fortnightly Review, 1891.

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