Daniel Libeskind (October 20, 1982) Part 1 of 2

Daniel Libeskind argues that architecture is in crisis, and that this has nothing to do with style. He cites the story from the Odyssey of how Ulysses bound himself in order to hear the song of the sirens, to which his colleages were deaf, to illustrate the situation of enlightened leaders and workers that has existed throughout history. He sees this as the relationship between theory and practice in architecture, freedom and enslavement. Libeskind believes the sirens have taken over contemporary architecture, and are causing architects to act without thinking.

Libeskind likens contemporary society to another famous story, Jonah and the whale. For Libeskind, we are stuck inside a comfortable condition not wishing to be responsible for our actions. He goes through the different ways in which this condition has been depicted, and treated from the renaisance until the nineteenth century by art and philosophy.

Libeskind looks at the separation of the body and the mind. He cites Galileo Galilei and Ren? Descartes, who separated causality from natural laws. Libeskind believes that while the science and medicine has taught us rational thinking, rational thinking leads us to forget about humans and communities.

Libeskind argues that modern art is not a new development, but a continuation of the separation of body and mind instituted by Galileo and Descartes. In previous art the two are collocated, while in modern art the body disappears and only the mind is depicted. Likewise, nineteenth century architecture exhibits a disconnect between the between creations of the mind, with the latest materials, and the traditional architectural form as body. The duality between body and mind set the stage for modernism.

Libeskind laments the separation of body and mind, and objects to a rationality of the mind that is used to ignore the needs of bodies. This kind of rationality leads to everything that is immoral, starting with the Crystal Palace and ending up in Auschwitz. He accuses both Walt Disney and Robert Venturi of cultivating anesthetic mindlessness. As an alternative, he cites Carl Jung’s Bollingen Tower, built as a remembrance of his ancestors, and rejecting technology as alienating and deadly.

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