Style: In Defence Of... Expressionism

Machine Books
Free sample

This series is about style.

Philosopher Georg Lukacs described the style of a piece of work as the attempt to reproduce one's view of the world within it. Looked at in this way, he says, style ceases to be a formalistic category but rather, “it is rooted in content; it is the specific form of a specific content.” After all, style is not technique, but ought to convey an intention. Sociologist Georg Simmel said that style is the aesthetic attempt to provide a “unifying encompassing context”.

This series is about the content and context of style.

Undoubtedly, it will irritate and enthuse but it is intended to be a fillip for our contemporary era in which style is often equated with fashion - where style can be dismissed in order to avoid dealing with its essence. Therefore these essays are not style over substance, but the very substance of style.

The De Stijl manifesto of 1918 argued that the liberal arts should engage in a dialogue to create a new “wisdom of life”. The robustness of these essays suggests that such an ambition still resonates. Such an exchange can still appear vital and captivating.

Each Style: In Defence Of… confronts us with new ideas for contemplation and critique. We hope that minds might be open to critically engage with each of these polemical bulletins. In so doing, we might reasonably formulate what we stand for.

 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Machine Books
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Published on
Feb 16, 2017
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Pages
15
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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For as long as humans have gathered in cities, those cities have had their shining—or shadowy—counterparts. Imaginary cities, potential cities, future cities, perfect cities. It is as if the city itself, its inescapable gritty reality and elbow-to-elbow nature, demands we call into being some alternative, yearned-for better place.

This book is about those cities. It’s neither a history of grand plans nor a literary exploration of the utopian impulse, but rather something different, hybrid, idiosyncratic. It’s a magpie’s book, full of characters and incidents and ideas drawn from cities real and imagined around the globe and throughout history. Thomas More’s allegorical island shares space with Soviet mega-planning; Marco Polo links up with James Joyce’s meticulously imagined Dublin; the medieval land of Cockaigne meets the hopeful future of Star Trek. With Darran Anderson as our guide, we find common themes and recurring dreams, tied to the seemingly ineluctable problems of our actual cities, of poverty and exclusion and waste and destruction. And that’s where Imaginary Cities becomes more than a mere—if ecstatically entertaining—intellectual exercise: for, as Anderson says, “If a city can be imagined into being, it can be re-imagined.” Every architect, philosopher, artist, writer, planner, or citizen who dreams up an imaginary city offers lessons for our real ones; harnessing those flights of hopeful fancy can help us improve the streets where we live.

Though it shares DNA with books as disparate as Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Jane Jacobs’s Death and Life of Great American Cities, there’s no other book quite like Imaginary Cities. After reading it, you’ll walk the streets of your city—real or imagined—with fresh eyes.
For as long as humans have gathered in cities, those cities have had their shining—or shadowy—counterparts. Imaginary cities, potential cities, future cities, perfect cities. It is as if the city itself, its inescapable gritty reality and elbow-to-elbow nature, demands we call into being some alternative, yearned-for better place.

This book is about those cities. It’s neither a history of grand plans nor a literary exploration of the utopian impulse, but rather something different, hybrid, idiosyncratic. It’s a magpie’s book, full of characters and incidents and ideas drawn from cities real and imagined around the globe and throughout history. Thomas More’s allegorical island shares space with Soviet mega-planning; Marco Polo links up with James Joyce’s meticulously imagined Dublin; the medieval land of Cockaigne meets the hopeful future of Star Trek. With Darran Anderson as our guide, we find common themes and recurring dreams, tied to the seemingly ineluctable problems of our actual cities, of poverty and exclusion and waste and destruction. And that’s where Imaginary Cities becomes more than a mere—if ecstatically entertaining—intellectual exercise: for, as Anderson says, “If a city can be imagined into being, it can be re-imagined.” Every architect, philosopher, artist, writer, planner, or citizen who dreams up an imaginary city offers lessons for our real ones; harnessing those flights of hopeful fancy can help us improve the streets where we live.

Though it shares DNA with books as disparate as Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Jane Jacobs’s Death and Life of Great American Cities, there’s no other book quite like Imaginary Cities. After reading it, you’ll walk the streets of your city—real or imagined—with fresh eyes.
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