Is public life separate from the private realm, does the private realms of our minds manifest itself into the domestic domain and do the people create public life or the state.
Up until recently, I would have like to think that public and private where just antonyms, complete opposites that coincide separately. Once you leave one domain to enter another, you leave everything behind. It would make sense that you wouldn’t want your diary being out in the open or you bringing work home, but if we are being honest with ourselves life is not as clear cut. Working overtime does exist and tumblr defeats a private diary.
Which leads to the thought, can we separate our private and public lives? However through our actions, imagination and memories we see how the line blurs as we put our desires and ambitions into space. Our ethnicities, gender and social status affect how we transform our understanding of space as relationships, a relationship between the private and public.
Our will comes from within; an internalised thought which manifests itself as an action. Our thought may not match others and in such our uses for spaces may not match its purpose (The sound systems in Kingston, setting a street party where ever they pleased.)The state creates an ideal of the best way of using public space (Utopia), but majority of the time it doesn’t correlate with everyone and one might feel to rebel. These social groups create forms of rebellion such as gangsta rap (maybe not the best kind) acting against a system that unfairly treats a particular social group due to their race in these public spaces and therefore reacts with brute anger. Also I am apart of architectural campaign called ‘My City Too!’ who feel due to our age we do not have a say in the way the built environment is designed, so we rebel by showing the government we do care by getting more young people involved.
However, just as the people may have thoughts of public space should be used, the leaders in charge tend to think that there isn’t a problem; they believe that they have created the perfect state for the people (which makes think that Utopia may work as state, but fails for the individual). These leaders want future generations to remember when they believe they have done good by the people however some will humble themselves and admit their mistakes when the people have said they have had enough and let future leaders know not to take this path. The humbleness of the Vietnam War memorial and size shows that the public did not agree with what the state was doing, therefore their actions informed the way the state wanted that moment in time to be remembered. Compared to Franco who clearly believed in the concept of “Polis”, meaning the people have to choose him (the state) over their private life’s and wanted to let the people (and himself) know that he was a fighter against republicanism and communism (even though we all know a complete different story). Same in architecture, designer’s actions influence public space however why is it a lot of these actions don’t happen and remained just as ideas (state influenced perhaps)
Which then directs on to the “will” behind our actions and the place where our memories live, our imaginations? In our minds we create a utopia, whether you believe me or not, one point in life you have thought how things can be done differently and how you would like to envision the world you live in. However what we imagine is not necessarily “original” and generally influence by the public space we live in (culture and trends). Archigram is clear example of designs influenced by 80’s pop art or the googie architecture ear influenced by American car culture, which shows that these ideas of utopia does not just come out of nowhere and the people can influence these ideas not just the state, how the public space enters our minds and the perfect place where these ideas enter our minds is the work place.
Work is key to urbanisation, without then the process can’t exist. Urbanisation draws people in from the country to inner city for work (“and a better life”). Now, these people who are now in near vicinity with each other, can now are easily allowed to communicate ideas. Public space is the breeding ground for the exchange of thoughts and ideas which would have remained private if this space didn’t exist. An example is the soviet workers club where people where workers were allowed to socialise, learn and spread Marxist-Leninist ideas of revolution. Just like the slave plantations of Haiti, or the capital of Tsarist- Russia when workers are in a small environment, and they collectively realised they being mistreated, their general reaction is to revolt. This public space (known as a social condenser) was essential for these working class, slaves or serfs to progress; left divided these groups may have never moved up through society, work brought these people together.
Relating back to work and utopia however, architects have grouped together in larger numbers compared to pre-industrialised past and due to urbanisation, more architects are grouping together to make firms. Meaning more ideas are being share; however, Koolhaas believes that too many architects are creating too versions of Utopia but they are all clashing not merging therefore creating Junkspace. A quote from a website (About.com,2012) says the Koolhaas said “As more and more architecture is finally unmasked as the mere organization of flow—shopping centers, airports—it is evident that circulation is what makes or breaks public architecture…” and according to Junkspace is that human traffic in circulation stops us from achieving a potential utopia. But after reading invisible cities does it matter if we have so many crazy visions of utopia, should we let the laws of physics stop us from trying to manifest the Meta physical into the public domain.
Should we let our race, culture, gender etc stop us from coinciding peaceful, if everything outside our homes public and if so can we explore it and visualise it according to our imaginations like that of Marco Polo. I think from listening to your lectures that we create public life, through our actions, memories and imaginations, it’s not just a space but it’s what we do with the space collectively. Public life is not created by the state but its people who have private lives and ideas which benefit or improve the state, so the concept of Polis and people choosing the state/public over private life can’t really happen today, because the line isn’t so clear cut.
Who is Rem Koolhaas , 2012. About [online] Available from: http://architecture.about.com/od/architectsaz/p/koolhaas.htm [Accessed on: 10/05/2012]