Twelve and after

02 March, 2013


Without borders and without hesitations (intra et extra muros).

By Giorgos Koutoupis

Greek version


A summary
A symptom of the Syndrome of Globalization is the phenomenon of the Designers-without-Borders (D-w-B). Is it an emergent phenomenon among other synchronous ones? Or is it only an implosive routine for a profession (and an episteme) without object henceforth? And, as much as there is no more real object (for the planning/design), of course there are only objectives -- needless to tell them preemptive & virtuous.

D-w-B appear as a "swarm" of subjects from all over the networked planet, in an indeterminable professional or labor status, which is mainly tele-acting in order to promote its awareness-concern-action on planning/design items. Could these energetic and active planners/designers be considered as belonging to a social "class" or "stratum"? Which is their specific position in a "mode of production", when their most visible ambition is their extremely limited access to the postmodern cast of the "elite" -- or "stars" of architecture, design and others?

A co-emergent phenomenon is their (almost exclusive) occupation in the media-academic-entrepreneurial complex of (international or multinational) architectural competitions on "ideas". Young architects (till their age of 40-plus, at least) are struggling -- no more as a fine choice, but as the only and least possibility -- under the emblem of (a declared) "Crisis" (without end), for the objectives of the Preemptive & Virtuous Planning/Design. A ...nice outcome is the awards and prizes awaiting for their (architectural) competitions.

The (unpaid) labor and contribution of the D-w-B are, mainly, a net-work: networked, workshopped and photoshopped; a specific kind of tele-acting, with "tools" like google...earthing or wiki...pediment. This networked "crowd" is not exactly or yet immigrants, but "visitors" or "passengers" of the Fourth World (announced by J. G. Ballard). Hence a sense, not exactly of atopia, but of highness, such as high building, high technology plus high-tech (nevertheless) ecology -- and the implied (high) securitization. These are, also, the socio-economic standards (as "ready-mades") for the unrestricted, unbordered, planner/designer's positive involvement into the big enterprise of hyper-capitalism.

In fact, competitors and prizes are premediating (Grusin) and preempting the virtuous "message" that dictates the phantasmagoria of their projects. The D-w-B' trafficability, along and through the strict physical and electronic patterns of social behavior and planning/design activism, is guided by strong doses of voluntarism and volunteering. So, the diffusion of their labor status goes with the declined epistemological one of their discipline, as well as with the return to (or rebirth of) the theological fundaments of their Profession (as a "Calling" or "Beruf"): a moral (self-)commitment, a "call to action" -- from where? from whom?

D-w-B, then, with specific bio-political characteristics, from and for everywhere all over the global village: with a missionary attitude for the planet and the "community", and without restrictions (because they are convinced) for the spreading and implementation of their evangelical message. Which also means: an invocation of "just" and "virtuous" capability to intervene (preemptively) and implement (without hesitation) their apolitical, counter-political, stance.

Finally, (a state of) urgency and (a mood of) preparedness are constituting the flip-side of the new optimism without progression -- i.e. salvation.

by George Koutoupis


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