Chronicle | From academicism to foresight

Why a prospective and architecture section? Because we must respond to an expectation too long dissatisfied, because we suffer from a time that is polarizes especially on the present and the short term and so little on the future, and because, more simply, we like to look at the distant future the Eyes in the eyes. Prospective chronicle of Jean Magerand and Claire Bailly. This chronicle appeared in the first publication on CyberArchi on January 25, 2007 of the Academicism to the weary foresight to see almost total indifference, in the face of the great mutations of our time, we were naturally led to denounce, to Many times, the status quo, the consensus, the unique thinking, the "politically correct", in terms of design. In particular, we spoke of the presence and salience of a modern-fossil-modern-academicism. We have already explained at length about our discreetly reactionary era, comparing it, among other things, with the one that bore the 19th century academicism (see Jean Magerand and Elizabeth Mortamais towards the Hypermediale city, the L'Harmattan, 2003). We fustigeons the gap that has gradually widened between the technical and scientific avant-garde, and the thinking of the designers. It is to be seen that nowadays, in terms of landscaping, the language of wood, the soft consensus, the "good tone" and the "modern good taste" are commonplace. They spread civilised speeches and feel that everything is going for the best in the best of the worlds. These crossings are very often useful for personal careers but they have never been very conducive to disseminating new ideas. We will therefore advance, in the back of foresight, a critical statement that seems indispensable to us in the period of civilizational revolution that we are experiencing today. Of course, foresight, used as a tool for evaluating the present, is the wide open door to controversy and polemics of all kinds. But precisely, our intention is to work in the "debatable", in what may be questioned; We want to open the debate. The word is loose! Indeed, from our point of view, what is really lacking today, in architecture, in landscape or in urban planning, is a real contradictory debate that can simply exceed the "I aime-j'aime not", learnedly explicit, that we suffer too Often. This is the specific part of a "point of view" heading; It is always a question of reviving the idea that anything that is consensus is not necessarily a truth-bearer. It is also a question of questioning our certainties which seem to be best established, even (and above all), if these habits are decades old. The symptoms of academicism at random from recent news, the aborted candidacy of Paris at the 2012 Olympics is not without exhaling this scent of misunderstanding and obscured debate and all this in a device where urban and architectural have a Importance. This "loser" illustrated, in the words of the international press, the syndrome of the old tourist pebble and implicitly, in Hollow, the obsolescence of the French "modern thinking" in terms of development. Although the opinion of the Olympic Committee is still subject to caution, the fact remains that the advanced argument on the lack of prospective view of the Paris project is difficult to counteract. This consensual argument for the French candidacy, however, seemed overwhelming throughout the preparation of the planning operations. In hindsight, however, this international disapproval does not fail to question us about this sanction for lack of vision for the future…. Even though it must be admitted that Tony Blair played his political charms to subtly the "games". But on the merits, the criticism is nonetheless true of the fixed vision of the French project. This slap still remains misunderstood by the Francilienne political class. How could sports-decision-makers have suspected the Parisian developments of being pastist projects while policies scrupulously followed the advice of their most enlightened technocrats, experts and specialists? The latter, as usual, had advised them to insert beautiful modern projects, respectfully installed in the Parisian heritage fabric. What they respected scrupulously. How, after having taken out the heavy artillery of architects resolutely turned to "modernity", and more respectful of the existing urban fabric, can we come to reap criticism lambasting the archaism and the pastism of France? How could this stratagem generating infallible urban quality, and so effective usually, have failed? In any case the communication services of the French application cannot be suspected of weakness. Unanimously, the international press welcomed the actions of accompaniment, communication and promotion, which were perfectly orchestrated and successful. A modernity that is dying in the aftermath of a long academicism latent? Therefore, doubt is hardly permissible, it is indeed a certain idea of modernity, yet internationally sanctioned so far, which has been put in question. It is therefore necessary to question the very relevance of this modernity. It is necessary to conclude that it is necessarily there that the root causes of the image criticized were born. It is to be seen that it is the very nature of this modernity that has helped to trigger the sanctioning mechanism of the Olympic Committee. In the context of a questioning on contemporary foresight, this sanction appeals to us as to the profound discomforts and misinterpretations that have settled, little by little, in the approach of the city, of the town and of the territories, but also of Architecture and landscape. Indeed, a certain policy of the city, articulated around a typo-morpho-historicalist thought and reinforced with great reinforcement of beautiful modern Architecture, has probably found there its limits. She is most likely to hear the death knell of her Parisian power, but also French and international. It is this thought, far too sure of itself, that is in the spotlight. It is evident from her that the criticism, based on the Parisian pastism, has arrived (by surprise, and in general disbelief), and by extension on a certain French conservatism. It must be admitted that, as a result of the absence of a real substantive debate, our intellectual tools in the areas of development have taken an old shot. We have probably too long confused logic of history, Historicalism, Passéisme…et, paradoxically, modernism. Always wanting, at all costs, to give the absolute priority to an enlightened conciliation hybridizing heritage and modernity, we had to forget on the road something essential. Let's note that today, overall, urban, landscape or architectural thoughts, contrary to the epochs of high modernity, are completely cut off, except in a marginal way, from the great movements of avant-garde thought that Through contemporary science, technology and philosophy. This cut is discreet because it is partly camouflaged, in France at least, by a multitude of grand prix of town planning, landscape, architecture, rewards of all kinds and starisées architectures that constitute a modernity re-constituted of any part, i.e. an artificial avant-garde. Far from us the idea of questioning the institutions. In fact, without a bad conscience, we cannot castigate these practices of promoting architecture. They allow to sell from time to time a "name of architecture" to a foreign power as it would be sold a TGV or an Airbus. These provisions maintain a positive image of France and contribute to its notoriety. So we can only rejoice. Moreover, these events have the merit of creating the event around the world of landscaping and educating decision makers about the need for quality and that's good. For all that, it is not, and far from the need, this necessary powder in the eyes that restores a real debate and solves the problems of the background of architectural, landscape or urban thinking. At most, these demonstrations are an opportunity to constitute, if not content, at least of meaning. But this word, even if it is fashionable, has very little impact on the Civiliationnelle mutation of which it is still very difficult to grasp the deep meaning. The necessary self-criticism of an ageing modernity the analysis of the production of designers shows that any consideration of civilizational modernity has gradually disappeared from the architectural or urban modernity that has become consensual in International level. At best, there are still some attempts to respond to cyclical dysfunctions. Often, only a speech of modern aesthetics manages to overswim in the dominant words. Exit the love between architecture and advanced scientific knowledge, essential symptoms of the great moments in the history of architecture. Today, the avant-garde-true and Utopia are definitively banished from the speeches of the designers. At most some conceptual borborygmes, here and there, betray the presence of the current societal mutation. The only old utopia that still remains with the soul pegged to the body is that of social housing… that we cannot even produce for the poorest. For the rest some reminiscences of the years 70, crazy years of architecture, are still trying to make us digest the pill of banality and commercial consumption as Ultimate utopia. The present would then be the intended purpose of our future. It is certainly necessary to go and look for the causes of this "utopia of Non-Utopia" in the traumas of recent history that architecture has experienced. In fact Archigram, Hans Hollein, Superstudio and other Archizoom have finally reduced modern architecture to a vanguard of the avant-garde, thereby causing the destruction of the concept of avant-garde, by reaching the "zero degree" of architecture Building. Perhaps it is also necessary to incriminate postmodernism and other décontructivisme accompanied by a cohort of small transient modes that have never been able to climb the slope and propose sustainable thoughts, that is, enshrined in a Fundamental cultural device, as did the great C.I.A.M. (International Congress of Modern Architecture) today obsolete. In any case, for a long time, true foresight seems to be the last concern of the world of landscaping, all occupied by most of its intellectuals to try to give an immediate answer to the multitude of problems that society raises Contemporary. In this society which seems to have lost its landmarks, architecture, among other things, has been cut off from the "noble technique" i.e. technique as an expression of the profound consciousness of its time. It has become the simple product and object of today's know-how when it is not yesterday. Confusing technicity and technical thinking, the fields of design have been folded on the one hand on a culture of objects, materials and materials "flashy", produced by the industrial world, and, on the other hand, on a technique linked in a narrow way to The construction. Ready-made techniques are now chosen for their plastic qualities to the detriment of the testimony they could bring about our true contemporary technicity. From Technique as an essential expression of a civilization, as a pillar of modernity, we have gradually moved to a multitude of techniques dragged by force, among other things in architecture. The latter is more and more often confused with the construction of unusual buildings, see absurd, too often governed by the only syndrome of "Have you Seen me?" erected in masterpiece. Today, aesthetics shows the technique on the facade, transcends it in scenographic devices and makes it beautiful as an artist's canvas. The aesthetes are content… For all that beauty is, too often, equally foolish; Out of her beautiful portraits on glossy paper, exhibited in professional journals, she often does not have much to say about the world around us. It speaks in voiceover, by doctrinal formulas curse "to the coin" and which say a lot about their conceptual conception. Quality, or more exactly aesthetic quality, has replaced the quality of the apropos. Recurrent pathology of creative thinking that, in history, is regularly subject to bad academic relapses. How else would you want to tell an architecture something appropriate in its time, when architectural thinking has almost totally rejected any projection to the future? How can we evolve when we live conceptually from day to day and end up having, for the sole solution, the answer intelligently and aesthetically to the questions that you inintelligently ask the whole time? How can we change the debate when the objective is not to question the very relevance of the questions to be answered? In the absence of questioning, the confusion then settled between futurology, science fiction, foresight, modernity, scientism, avant-garde, anticipation, utopianism (confused with unreality) and authentically contemporary. The new ecological-technical challenge yet the context and support of the application of our designers ' know-how are mutating and require urgentissime anticipation. In particular, reports are increasingly tense between the planet and human installations. All the essential and vital questions of today are inexorably sending us back to the need to foresee and control a future of medium and long term. The trend towards global warming is now sufficiently explicit. The increasingly easy movements make us the nomadic-polluting and plunderers of the planet that denounces modern ecology. We travel as we breathe but tomorrow the oil crisis and/or global warming can settle us again. Industrial modes of production have become so powerful that they can saturate the earth and distort or even destroy most of the ecosystems. Biofuel crops are likely to invade the fields on immense territories. These space-hungry crops will transform the majority of the arable surfaces into green service stations while irreversibly mutate the still natural environments and banaliseront the countryside landscapes forever. Nature is therefore in full deterioration and requires a new approach to land management. The technical mutation if the creative thinking is impervious to the true technical mutation, society, it, is inexorably forced to a hasty evolution, under the pressure of new techniques. Today the information is processed in real time and the planet is the size of a suburban garden. Globalization destroys employment, redistributes maps, creates wealth and misery, generates urban explosions and slains entire cities. The economy is increasingly intangible, elusive, incomprehensible and seems to be playing out forecasts. It is true that the acceleration of technology completely modifies our universe beginning with that of work. The organization of work, the workplace, working conditions are shaken in unison, but also family life, leisure, Culture and all that is more generally the city and the environment. The evolution of information and communication shatters the "dwelling"; We are still a little bit at home, in our mailbox, when we consult our email from Quebec or Seoul. We are in the permanent intimacy of personal discussions with our loved ones, even when we are away from them. We store close to click the multitudes of information that we consult and reorganize remotely. The man in the process of mutating into this cultural mutation imbued with new constraints and stress, then raises the question of a less violent environment. In this quest for a better world, which we totally assume, camp the man of the third millennium, the one we will be tomorrow. "Homo a little Informaticus", undoubtedly possible. But also a man not reducible to a modulor, that is to say that will not be modular or standard but unique and irreplaceable. A man whose memorization power is making a leap, as in the invention of writing. A man able to access in real time billions of information that reformat his potential knowledge or even his ability to self-defense against institutions and pressure groups. A man closer to the control of rights than the law gives him. A man at the same time semi déïfié, able to act at a distance and able to manipulate the sums of data that only the geniuses could apprehend so far. A man as semi-slave to his techniques and prey to his self-destruction. A man who lives differently from us. A man who can be assured that in no way can he be satisfied with the modernity which is ours, nor the habitat, the work or the city as we envisage them today. Obsolete tools to predict and draw the outline of this new and emerging environment, arises the question of the nature and power of the methodical tools necessary to continue to inhabit the planet, that is, to develop it, while maintaining Vital balances and tolerable and sustainable living conditions. Thinking about the city or about architecture once had the "power" enough to solve the problems of the facilities necessary for the survival of societies. They were working to give each of them a satisfactory framework of life, in a virtuous device, proposing, as technical progress, more and more comfort and safety to individuals. But the system has reached its limits and is no longer capable of curbing the destructive implosion movement in which the entire earth is being reentered. Our conceptual tools are no longer sufficient to make the development of the planet coherent and its survival. Our ingenious tools of landscaper, architect, urban planner, patiently implemented by the spatiality of the modern movement, are no longer really operating in the face of the complexity of the phenomena of planetary mutations. The need to formulate new directions effectively, the accumulations of new complex production constraints generate an accumulation of new developments, with equally complex implementations, inducing their own reactions Difficult to predict, analyze and control. This new context on the horizon is therefore far from neutral and will require the development of appropriate methods, eager for high-grade tools. Our current approaches and methods of theorizing, design, landscape treatment, architecture or urban planning have become to these complex developments what Flint is Laser. Faced with this world that is frayed, in the face of the one that is formed, it is necessary to conceive and produce the new organization. Our new practices of designers will therefore enter into renovated processes, themselves caught up in the turmoil of territorial, human, geographical, societal and, of course, social and cultural upheavals. The recovery in hand and the protection of the mother planet will require a very upstream work to identify, foresee, project, a human occupation of the territories that preserves livable cities. They are therefore new methodical tools, able to reconcile the demand for progress and respect for the planet, that it is necessary and urgent to implement. The modern movement had to invent tools of analysis and treatment of the territory to master the Wilderness and to install its modernity on the whole planet. Today we have to repair the harmful errors of this modernization, which is both violent and carried out lightly. We have to propose new modalities of organization and distribution of human activities in the territory. We are in the vital obligation to consume cleanly and reject the same. Our ultimate goal is to let future generations of the planet "as clean as we would have liked to find it when we arrived". This complex set that we have to implement, in order to develop a clean and healthy living environment, requires a real-time awareness of phenomena that escape the scale of the neighbourhood, the city or even the region. We also have to invent new tools for re-organization of the Territory that are more adapted to the requirements and complexity of a macro-ecosystem that has become fragile. The obligation of a prospective debate the need for a prospective debate goes well beyond a simple desire to groom our know-how. It is therefore useful and urgent to shake the "jaded long-term vision" that reject Utopia and the vanguard; Enlightened or professional technocrats listened to. It is a question of doubting those who have as a thought only certainties and who still believe in the "great evening of modernity finally completed". Alas, for the nostalgic, modernity, like nature, has no point of equilibrium, it can only be a dynamic equilibrium, that is, in a permanent state of rebalancing and in perpetual state of incompletion, in perpetual imperfection. It is because our grandfathers have thought the opposite that we are now fighting a self-destruction of own civilization note. There, between the lines of this section begins therefore a modest questioning about our becoming. We are heading towards a broad and imprecise future. Our goal is to collect even minimal clues. We know the nature of the package; Most of the people who live below the poverty line, a planet that begins to give signs of poisoning, a sense of collective concern and individual unrest, that invade contemporary society, an extension Buildings to the detriment of farmland, a strong social regression after the period of the glorious Thirty…. For our part, we became addicted when we patiently began to think, with the students, in the future of our daily life. We approached this problematic within the prospective group and within the new Master of architecture "stories and prospective" of the School of Architecture of Paris-la-Villette. We have just been able to take the measure of the difficulty. In return we begin to glimpse the fabulous perspectives that are opening up to all development specialists in the decades to come. Our prospective perspective will therefore feed on the great civilizational mutations that take place before our eyes. We are well aware that, under this heading, we will only have a small overview, in view of the general problem. Moreover, the quality of development and construction is only one of the indicators of our societal health. He cannot solve alone "all the misery of the Earth", even if he can contribute to it. Through the creation of this chronicle, we also call, and above all, our wishes, the establishment of a genuine ambitious strategy of the state, in the field of research on foresight. In particular, a healthy look towards the future must be formulated explicitly and affirmed by all those involved in the areas of design within the central administrations. We have an urgent need for a forward-looking policy on the medium and long term to effectively anticipate the risks of irreversible upheaval. As well as the scientific fields, the areas of development need a dynamic teaching and research sector and therefore decently funded. This is the unavoidable condition if we are to have the means to take care of the 21st century living environment. In no way can effective work on the future be satisfied with a false modernity. It is urgentissime to create technological devices capable of helping us to live better the planet, to better respect the natural balances. What is worth in this adventure, so that it is beneficial to mankind as a whole, is therefore the creation and use of new methods, but also and above all the Constitution of a new common noble Culture, around these new Technical. This collective intellectual heritage is indispensable to acquire in order to succeed in re-building and rebalancing our environment. Let us also point out that the new techniques are of course not an end in themselves and they will not solve everything by their simple use. They are a way to help us better manage in real time the disturbances we produce. They can be the key to new rebalancing necessary for our survival. Let us remember, at the risk of repeating ourselves, that the development, the construction, the agriculture considerably format our environment. The thought of architecture, urban planning and landscape, whose purpose is to produce a coherent re-organization of the environment, therefore presents a paramount stake in this inevitable control of planetary ecological phenomena. May the areas of development participate usefully in this epic and may this section bring its modest stone to the building. Claire BAILLY (landscaper and urban planner) and Jean MAGERAND (architect, urban planner and landscape artist, PhD in Information Sciences), teachers at the Paris-la-Villette School of Architecture.