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17/10/2017

Verslaafd aan architectuur

Een artikel over de betekenis van de Biertempel discussie voor de architectuurcultuur in België

05/10/2017

Wafels, bier en architectuur

Een artikel naar aanleiding van de herbestemming van de Beurs in Brussel tot biertempel naar ontwerp van Robbrecht & Daem Architecten.

18/09/2017

Creatio ex nihilo

Column #1 over de oorsprongsmythen van de architectuur

03/08/2017

Zorg dragen voor architectuur

Artikel over gebruik en postproductie in de architectuur naar aanleiding van het Jozef Plein in PC Cartias (Melle).

20/06/2017

Do Good architectuur

Artikel over de rol van ontwerp in zorgarchitectuur.

18/03/2017

Sprak er iemand over healing environment ?

Lees hier over de bijdrage van Charles Jencks en de postmoderne architectuur aan de ontmanteling van de kliniek.

22/02/2017

Pic Nic Architectuur

Een retroactief manifest voor Pic Nic the Streets als bijdrage aan de architectuurcultuur in België. Version Française

13/02/2017

Wraak op de commons

Een artikel over het nakende einde voor Agrocité en de toekomst voor architectuur onder zelfbeheer.

03/02/2017

Architectuur van de schaamteplek

Wie grip wil krijgen op de problemen van in psychiatrische ziekenhuizen, begint bij het ontwerp van de isolatiekamer.

22/12/2016

Van Utopia naar Wuustwezel

Er zijn weinig termen die zo’n beladen betekenis hebben in de architectuurgeschiedenis als utopie. Version Français

21/12/2016

Relational Architecture

Read about the production proces of the Kanunnik Petrus Jozef Triest Square in the Psychiatric Centre Caritas, Melle. Article in DutchEnglish / French

12/12/2016

Hoeveel samenwerking kan architectuur verdragen?

Artikel over de tentoonstelling 'Ensembles. Architectuur en Ambachtschap' in deSingel en Vlaams Architectuurinstituut.

15/10/2016

Bouwstenen voor het psychiatrisch centrum van de toekomst

Lees meer over de visieontwikkeling rond het psychiatrisch centrum van de toekomst gepubliceerd in Psyche.

03/10/2016

Eco-politiek in Brussel: Bas Smets en de Brussels Urban Landscape Biennial

Artikel over het nut en nadeel van landschapsarchitectuur als instrument voor regionale ontwikkeling in Brussel.

28/09/2016

Architectuur vol van verlangen

Artikel naar aanleiding van de opening van het Kanunnik Petrus Jozef Triest Plein in Melle.

26/09/2016

(Re)Politicize!

Proud to present the A+261 issue on architecture and politics - Dutch and French edition.

21/09/2016

Architectuur met schaduw

De 20ste eeuw baarde vele duivelspacten tussen architectuur en politiek. Opvallend genoeg wordt de architectuur van het Italiaanse fascisme tot op vandaag geprezen omwille van haar abstracte vormentaal. Dergelijke rehabilitatie is de architectuur van het Derde Rijk nooit te beurt gevallen. België heeft zo zijn eigen kleine trauma in de relatie met de politiek.

24/06/2016

Ingebedde architecten

Lees meer over de architectuur van oorlog en vrede

07/06/2016

Vakmannen aan het front

Een recensie over de bijdrage van Bravoure in de Architectuurbiennale van Venetie.

04/06/2016

Toiletemmers in Werelderfgoed

Er is iets curieus met de inrichting van de gevangenis van Merksplas, waar enkele weken geleden een opstand uitbrak. De geschiedenis van de site reflecteert een utopisch beeld van de gevangenis van de toekomst, de manier waarop omgegaan wordt met die geschiedenis symboliseert dan weer de gemiste kansen.

04/12/2015

FPC Gent: geen markt, geen gevangenis

De opening van het Forensisch Psychiatrisch Centrum in Gent zorgt na één jaar werking voor een grote opluchting - zelfs bij voormalige critici. De juiste vraag is niet of aanvankelijke bezorgheid terecht was, maar wel of de opluchting niet een beetje voorbarig is? 


28/10/2015

Het penitentiair verdriet van België

In de bouw van het gevangenisdorp Haren vormen de lokale en regionale overheid samen front met de actiegroepen tegen de federale overheid - of toch niet? Hoe kunnen we de knoop tussen activisme en politiek ontwarren?

23/10/2015

Een psychiatrisch centrum bouwen we samen

Ook architectuur heeft zijn plaats op de Vlaamse Hersteldagen. Doe mee op 18 november in de Vooruit.

01/09/2015

Eindelijk een kennisplatform voor humane gevangenisarchitectuur

De website www.prisongear.be presenteert het onderzoek naar een humane gevangenisarchitectuur.

07/04/2015

Ontmanteling van de psychiatrische kliniek

Lees de gevalstudies over zorgarchitectuur in Vlaanderen gepubliceerd in Psyche

22/10/2014

Een sterke leefomgeving begint met ruimteregie

Wat deelt een onafgewerkte verkeersinfrastructuur in Godsheide, een vervallen vierkantshoeve in Grote Spouwen, een gesloten mijnkatedraal in de Eisdense Tuiwijk en een geplande gevangenis op Domein Riegersvliet?


21/08/2014

Wie is er bang van het Bouwmeestercollege?

Iedereen lijkt het roerend eens dat de Vlaamse architectuur zonder de Bouwmeester overgeleverd is aan de wetten van de markt en de willekeur van het politieke bedrijf. Lees de opinie 'De Bouwmeester en de onheilsprofeten'.

20/12/2013

A humane prison is coming to your neighbourhood

As part of the Conflict & Design Triennial the knowledge platform Prison Gear presents design studies that pave the way for a humane prison in Leopoldsburg, Belgium.

16/12/2013

Een humane gevangenis komt naar je toe

Als onderdeel van de Conflict & Design Triënnale presenteert Prison Gear twee visieontwerpen voor de toekomstige gevangenis op het militaire domein Reigersvliet in Leopoldsburg.

09/10/2013

Limburg City / Stad Limburg

Read the memorandum of the Limburg Europa Workshop / Lees de projectnota van Atelier Limburg Europa

15/09/2013

The dismantling of the psychiatric clinic

Read the case studies on care architecture in Flanders

21/08/2013

Wat is ontwerpend onderzoek?

Drie vragen over ontwerpend onderzoek, drie antwoorden vanuit de Noorderkempen.

10/04/2013

Heeft een gemeenplaats ook een gemene waarde ?

Commentaarstuk bij het Architectuurboek n° 10: Radicale Gemeenplaatsen - Europese architectuur uit Vlaanderen

03/02/2013

Is onzichtbare psychiatrische zorg mogelijk?

Review van de opstart Pilootprojecten Zorg door de Vlaams Bouwmeester

06/11/2012

Limburg heeft ambitie / Limburg has ambition

Presentatie van de Startnota Provinciaal Bouwmeester Limburg / Presentation Initial Memo Limburg Government Architect

12/10/2012

Hoeveel vernieuwing kan de gevangenis verdragen ?

Lees hoe de modernisatie van de gevangenisarchitectuur in handen van Stéphane Beel begon en eindige bij het Ducpétiaux-model.

12/07/2012

San Gimignano aan de Zenne

Lees de column naar aanleiding van de Keukentoren van XDGA

11/04/2012

Sociaal-realisme of zelfcensuur

Met Jonas Staal schreef BAVO een pleidooi voor een nieuw sociaal-realisme in de kunst. Sociaal-realisme is broodnodig in het tijdperk van de hysterische reproductie.

21/02/2012

Nu ook een schreeuw om architectuur!

Niet occupy-en, maar de gevestigde orde verleiden om in crisistijden te investeren in leuke projecten. Lees hier meer over de Studio for Unsollicited Architecture.

20/01/2012

Gesloten architectuur is ook humaan

Lees meer over Fleur Agema's gevangenismodel

21/11/2011

Waarom kunstenaars niet fascistisch genoeg zijn

Lees het artikel in het decembernummer van Rekto:Verso.

12/09/2011

De Culturele Elite

Lees de bijdrage.

29/08/2011

Artist Participation in South Africa

The international PR campaign to showcase Rotterdam's robust policy on artist participation is now also tapping into the emerging African art markets.

17/06/2011

Denkverbod op liberale kunst

Column over de stellingenoorlog naar aanleiding van de aangekondigde bezuinigingen in de cultuursector.

07/06/2011

Maak liberaal kunstbeleid liberaal

Lees BAVO's advies aan staatssecretaris Zijlstra met betrekking tot de noodgedwongen keuzen die de cultuursector in Nederland te wachten staat.

18/03/2011

International promotion campaign of the Office for Artist Participation kicks off

The City of Edinburgh will be the first to host an international promotion event of Rotterdam's innovative cultural policies for enforcing the participation of artists in heightening a city's competitiveness and securing social peace on the local level.

28/02/2011

Culture and Contestation

The essay 'Neo-Liberalism with Dutch Characteristics: The Big Fix-Up of the Netherlands and the Practice of Embedded Cultural Activism' is published in the book volume 'Culture and Contestation in the New Century'.

19/01/2011

Art and Activism

BAVO's essay 'Artists... one more effort to be really political!' is published in the volume 'Art and Activism in the age of Globalisation'.

20/10/2010

Boek verschenen: Too Active To Act

Het boek biedt een kritische analyse van de maatschappelijke betrokkenheid van culturele actoren in Nederland in de afgelopen tien jaar.

THE UNCREATIVE CITY

Plea for an uncreative city - a selfinterview

project: THE UNCREATIVE CITY

date: 24/05/2008

author: BAVO

source: administrator

status: article

In the ‘Plea for an Uncreative City’, you make a remarkable argument. You say that the creative industries, given their instrumentalisation in the function of certain political-economic processes, should make efforts on behalf of ‘uncreativity’. Aside from the question of what it means to be uncreative, I wonder in the first place if it’s meaningful to assume a conspiracy theory. Okay, creative talents are often taken in by crude manipulation on the part of political and economic interests. They’re often asked to live in buildings to prevent them being squatted, and are used to creating a bohemian climate. This can appear to the outside world as if the creative industries are the lapdogs of real-estate agents and the government. But don’t forget that this only a half-truth. In reality, these groups are more often than not at each other’s throats. Where does this fury toward the role of the creative industries come from?

First of all, we’re not so much talking about ‘certain political-economic processes’. Creating a bohemian climate, creating differentiated living environments, and bringing light, creative forms of production back to residential areas are, each and every one, must-dos in the field known as ‘urban development’. As you know, ‘urban development’ is supposed to be the natural successor to ‘urban planning’. We believe this is only true if you start by assuming a neoliberal ideology. We explain this in the Plea.

Fine, but my question was about criticism of the creative industries…

Well, you can’t simply separate this background from criticism of the complicity between the creative industries and the current neoliberal regime of creative urbanity. So, to answer your question: you must distinguish between objective and subjective complicity. We can speak of subjective complicity when a creative actor – a visual artist, a designer, an architect – consciously participates in the current use of culture as a means of ratcheting up the spectacle value of public space. Or of simulating democracy there by, say, organising participatory events when you don’t believe in them. This often happens: you hear architects say that the focus groups brought in by city governments don’t measure anything and are hardly taken into consideration during a project’s final calculations. In this case, the creative actors are endorsing the dominant definition of creativity. Or at any rate, they are failing to see its problematic character. But uncritical types like these are easy for a critic to dispense with…

But what about the group that consciously opposes such uncomfortably uncritical cooptation? When we talk about the creative industries, we’re also talking about people who put their professional activities in the service of society in a very engaged way. They are the model of concerned citizens.

This is a much more difficult category to criticise. We definitely believe that many people in the creative industries are doing their jobs with the best intentions in the world – and thank goodness. In the many reactions we received to the ‘Plea for an Uncreative City’, one category stuck out. Specifically, it was the group that wholeheartedly approved of our criticism of the neoliberal misuse of creativity on the one hand, and on the other made clear that their own participation in these policies did not conflict with their own assumptions. After first expressing their unhappiness with the current ‘neoliberalisation’ of creativity in no uncertain terms, they proceeded to give an account of their own furious battle with these powers. One emphasised that he had received no subsidies for his contributions. Another argued that their progressive initiative was mainly a thorn in the side of governments and project developers and gave an account of the heroic battle they had fought to realise their plans as well as possible. Still others were proud of the way in which they had opportunistically secured government subsidies: if you stay good friends with the city council on the official level, on the substantial level you can keep doing your own thing.

Heartwarming, isn’t it?

It is here that our notion of objective complicity is relevant. We argue that the absence of a relationship with government – or the presence of a negative relationship – does not mean that the cultural forces in question are not objectively complicit in the creative-city regime. By this we mean that, however much resistance an alternative cultural initiative might have encountered, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it functions very well within the urban economy as proof of the city’s high creative factor. In spite of themselves, many alternative cultural projects are communicating to the outside world that the city possesses a happening urban subculture – which is precisely what the city managers would like to see happen in their attempt to attract investors and highly qualified workers. Creating a bohemian climate has everything to do with conscious, concerned citizens who go their own way and don’t allow themselves to be slotted into the system just like that. This is objective complicity: even if as a creative actor you are ignored by the government or market, you have no ambition whatsoever to work with them, and your only link with them is a meagre subsidy that you’re opportunistically using for a progressive goal… your creative activity can still fit perfectly into their urban development strategy.

Okay, but that is part of the strategy that’s being applied: using the system’s own means against it.

It’s not that easy to undermine a system from the inside. You must not forget that objective complicity is separate from subjective attitudes. With all due credit, in practice, most heroic stories about ‘subversion from within’ are nothing more than a bunch of words that serve to cloak one’s own actions in innocence. A lot can be said about ‘subversion from within’, but you have to take into account all the conditions – where, how, and in order to do what? If you don’t, you might as well forget it. With that kind of strategy, you’ll inevitably end up in the position of what Immanuel Wallerstein, speaking about racism, called the unpaid agents of the ruling order. In the case of the creative industries, we’re talking about the unpaid agents of the ruling neoliberal order.

Are you saying that the creative industries should simply assume their own strength? Would it help if we just stopped lying awake worrying about the cooptation of the term ‘creativity’ by city managers? Maybe then it would become clear that their creativity is just a farce.

This strategy, too, is quite popular among cultural activists. We are, however, as sceptical of the strategy of indifference as we are of the strategy of working from the inside. The argument is that cultural forces that dislike the dominant discourse about creativity should simply keep searching for alternative forms of creativity. History will decide which definition wins. This position strongly resembles that of the ‘multitude’, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri describe it in their manifesto Empire. The multitude, they argue, is the new revolutionary subject, and in its struggle it should not relate itself too closely to the existing political channels or economic systems. By realising its own desires in the first place, sooner or later it will effortlessly make the existing order superfluous and irrelevant. This oppositional strategy sounds great, and yet it is naive. It does not see how, in practice, subversive, creative actions that situate themselves miles away from political, ideological or economic games and do their own thing precisely confirm the dominant discourse about the creative city.

You have already argued that. How does it further the discussion?

Well, by saying that regardless of which strategy you employ, you must always keep in mind that the ruling ideas are not those of the rulers. It was Slavoj Zizek who improved upon Marx with this formula. Without doing violence to reality, we can say with confidence that this is also true for the creative city. After all, doesn’t everyone agree that it wasn’t the city managers who invented the creative city? Meanwhile, they have also come to understand that they themselves are not creative, but are only good at bringing in profits – hence their endless search for ‘authenticity’. In this, they show that they know that a creative city arises out of an ‘underground’ cultural scene. How can you then announce with a straight face that your ‘indifference’ is helping you to advance your revolutionary struggle? Let’s be honest, you’re just laying the groundwork for the city marketeers who ‘see it all coming’ from the margin.

Once again, you make it sound as if a seamless collaboration exists between the creative industries and the city managers. How do you explain the rising frustrations on the parts of both parties?

The city managers’ frustration is of a totally different order than that of the creative industries. The creative industries’ frustration is mainly a symptom of the struggle over who will claim ‘authorship’ of creativity. To a degree, the city managers join in this struggle – hence the continuous conflict. But as everyone knows, authorship isn’t everything. Concepts are temporary in nature and are strongly determined by certain material or political circumstances. So don’t count yourself rich if you have authorship: what’s ‘in’ today is tomorrow’s worthless historical artifact. You’ll make yourself look ridiculous if you don’t come up with something creative every now and then. It’s more important to be quick as a flash to exploit every piece of creativity that appears on the scene – after all, creativity is just a disposable product. The city managers’ frustration is concentrated on these quickly changing conditions. So it’s of a totally different order than that of the creative industries. It’s more of a worry about access to new sources of energy. So if city managers drop a creative group, it’s more out of ‘disinterested interest’. Rest easy: in spite of all the conflict, the city managers will always be back; they’ll give you a fatherly clap on the shoulder and encourage you to be a bit more authentic in future.

That changes the perspective somewhat…

You can be sure of that: it calls for a rethinking of the label ‘creativity’. We’re not arguing for ‘uncreativity’ just for fun. It’s more about setting aside the prevalent compulsion to be creative and creating a conceptual space in which we can think about the fate of the creative industries themselves. We must stop complaining about the recuperation and cooptation of so-called authenticity by the existing order. We all know those mantras, and they often can’t disguise the fact that they’re simply proof that the creative industries themselves don’t know which way to turn. Can we please have a little self-knowledge and self-criticism? The designer Daniël van der Velden was absolutely right when he said that the ‘creative industries’ label is very dangerous because it obligates designers to be permanently creative. It supposes that as a designer, artist, or whatever, you can never stop being creative. You must pull something novel out of your hat again and again, because this is part of the nature of creativity. If ‘creativity’ still has any meaning for the creative industries, then it’s about time it unleashed its creative ability on breaking through all this crude blackmail for what it is.

References

In this self-interview, we take up some ‘frequently asked questions’ concerning the ‘Pleidooi voor een oncreative stad’ (‘Plea for an Uncreative City’), which comprised part of the Reinaart Vanhoe exhibition Neo-beginners in TENT, Rotterdam Center for the Arts, in September 2006.

Published in: Geert Lovink et al. (eds.), The Creativity: A Free Accidental Newspaper Dedicated to the Anonymous Creative Worker, Part I, p. 16