Margaret Crawford: The Situationist in relation to consumer society (February 16, 1994)

John Kaliski introduces Margaret Crawford.

Crawford proposes to discuss architecture’s relationship to consumer society and the avant garde’s relationship to architecture, illustrated by the Situationist International movement—especially Guy Debord and Ivan Chtcheglov—and the development of the shopping mall.

Crawford explains the appearance of the shopping mall in the USA, describing the mall architectural typology, illustrated by many examples. Crawford states that both the Situationist International and the mall are consequences of economic phenomenon: the postwar explosion of the postmodern capitalism, consumer goods, mass production, mass consumption etc.

Crawford introduces the work of Victor Gruen, prominent shopping mall designer during the 1960s, who believed that the reorganization of shopping and commerce at an urban scale, would restructure daily life in the cities.

Crawford describes the ending of the Situationist movement in France in 1972. She notes that all
the Situationist and Chtcheglov’s ‘s ideas reappeared in several mall designs, constructing the metaphorical city. She points out examples like West Edmonton Mall, and The Cesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. She concludes that “the Situationist dream has been copied in the mall and then served back as a commodity for consumers.”

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