20 July 2008

Sante on nostalgia

I'm currently reading Luc Sante's Low Life—something I should have done when I lived in the Lower East Side before I escaped to the Brooklyn countryside. I'm quite taken by the book's critique of nostalgia, which Sante defines in his preface as a kind of false, delusional sentimentality for a version of history that might not have actually existed in the first place. There's something quite compelling about Sante's take on nostalgia, and even though his words are directed towards a specifically New York-centric brand of repackaging the past, I think the critique can easily apply to any number of architectural or urban adventures in nostalgia. Sante:

[Nostalgia] can be generally defined as a state of inarticulate contempt for the present and fear of the future, in concert with a yearning for order, constancy, safety, and community—qualities that were last enjoyed in childhood and are retroactively imagined as gracing the whole of the time before one's birth. [Low Life, xi]
New Urbanism, anyone?

16 July 2008

home delivery opens at moma

Despite evidence to the contrary (the embarrassing dearth of activity at this spot over the past several months), I've been enjoying busier-than-normal summer with the Day Job, among other distractions. I did manage to escape momentarily to attend last night's opening of the Home Delivery show at MoMA. The show is certainly worth checking out for those in New York at all this summer - it revisits the troubled history and perhaps-promising-yet-likely-also-troubled future of prefabrication in architecture. The most exciting elements are of course the pieces commissioned by the Museum specifically for this exhibition: five full-size buildings constructed in an adjacent parking lot and three speculative wall prototypes installed in the interior gallery. Should be interesting to see how the public, press, and pundits receive it all. As for this Progressive Reactionary, once I have a free moment I hope to post some more cohesive thoughts on the show. Until then...