Twelve and after

18 April, 2014

Planning/Design by activism

An urgent tone for the footsteps of (the Preemptive & Virtuous) Planning/Design.

By Giorgos Koutoupis

Greek version


A summary
Maybe, one should expect a plain limitation between planning/design and activism. But when this limitation is transgressed (by activism), we have a new "element" on the contemporary Planning/Design (P/D) and its perspective. Today, an activistic tone, all the more loud and imperious, conducts P/D under the banner of individual and collective "action", throughout physical and digital net-like spaces of circulation for the "active" and "civil" society.

The urgent character of the tone aims to the atonement of the social "partners", by action and activism, in anticipation of the vulnerability of "environment" and "society". This alarming condition results the spatio-temporal shrinking of planning/design processes, not only at the level of our desktops but, mainly, up to the level of the (yet known) public and democratic procedures which regard decision-making and execution of a project. An activistic and imperative operationality is stressing towards (even faster) implementation on the track of ready-made ideas, instead of critical and creative (planning/design) "research & development". Nevertheless, this tone combines urgency with ethics.

By de-politicizing the project's processes, P/D by (or under) activism becomes a best herald of "Planning/Design Ethics": the subordination of gnoseology and aesthetics beneath the sign of ethics. Thus, scientific and artistic knowledge is subjected to religious-dogmatic domain, a ("born-again") domain with concrete theological origins, prospects, and name. And the epistemological status of P/D is raised up, evidently, to a mere fundamentalistic state of mind.

The once heroic "experimental design" is appropriated by an intense, methodic, "life-size" experiment. Experiment's conditions are turned into the conditioning of the experiment -- i.e. the integration of virtuality in the circuits of preemption and virtuousness.


by Giorgo Koutoupi, architect

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