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> Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2006 05:15:15 +0800
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>     from Korakora - Proyekto
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> Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006 05:18:37 +0800
> To: Plaridel Papers
> From: Fatima Lasay
> Subject: Fwd: Fatima Lasay has forwarded a page to you from Korakora - Proyekto
> Fatima Lasay thought you would like to see
> this page from the Korakora - Proyekto web site.
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> Could be of interest. A good (preparatory) introspection on a migrant
> worker's life in Japan.
> Regards,
> Fats.
> <>Lost: Notes on
> Constantino and SI, A Preparatory Study for Colonial Urbanism
> by bangkaw
> THINKING CAN be exhausting. This morning i missed the scheduled time to
> throw my currently rotting garbage from my kitchen. Thinking can be really
> exhausting. These past few days that turned out to be a composition of a
> weeklong hiatus inside my cubed apartment has suprisingly turned me into a
> miserable gunk. Exhausted. Confused. Lost. I am eating decay.
> As i sit in my red couch staring on a screen, i am thinking about Prison
> and the post-industrial architectural designs of Japanese Apartment as
> complementary to each other. The definition of Prison according to
>, says that:
> "A prison or a correctional facility is a place in which individuals are
> physically confined or interned and usually deprived of a range of personal
> freedoms. Prisons are conventionally institutions which form part of the
> criminal justice system of a country, such that imprisonment or incarcer
> ation is the legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the
> commission of a crime."[1]
> Meanwhile, an Apartment is:
> " a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building.
> Apartments may be owned (by an owner-occupier) or rented (by tenants)."[2]
> In modern urban living, the distinctive difference between a facility for
> rehabilitation and a dwelling space has blurred out its separate meaning.
> Raoul Vanegem in his critique against Urban Development particularly in
> modern France has led him into conclusion that City Planning is part of the
> Capitalist ideology in conditioning its dwellers to obey authority. Thus,
> making the possibility of regular occurence of conditioned desires in a
> Spectacle of space as a means of pacification. The apartment in other words
> is nothing but a place where individuals are physically confined. A place
> for the physical body to take rest which became part of the conditioned
> routine imposed by Capitalism.
> The penal system in Japan includes a routine similar to urban daily life.
> This includes working to earn a wage for personal consumption, vocational
> and formal education with an emphasis on learning social values.[3] But
> upon discovering the effect from this kind of conditioning process, a
> massive isolation between individuals is observed.
> Korakora -Projects Integrating Knowledge, Language and Body in developing
> projects for culture, art and technologies

I can't help wondering if there is not a logical error here in seeing the problems of urban living as a purely "modern" (post-capitalist) problem.

In this context, it might be worthwhile for the author to specify in greater detail the difference between "traditional" and "modern" urban life. Then it might be possible to make more reasoned conclusions with regard to cause and effect.

In a wider context, it may well be worth remembering that many of the world's intellectuals live (and work) in an urban environment. Indeed, the term "Civilisation" -which is generally assumed to imply a "superior" form of living is derived from the concept of living in towns -and has the same roots as "Civic" and "Civil"..... The term "Provincial" therefore implies the antithesis of being "Civilised" (and sophisticated).

Within the context of both "programming" and "culture" the concept and practice of "living in cities" must surely be of fundamental importance -because it involves large scale co-operative systems which by their very nature require a certain level of organised social coherence (or stratification) in order to facilitate planning and execution of projects assumed beneficial to the community (or sections of it).

A loss of "individual" freedom is the the price which apparently has to be paid for the benefits (if any) of communal living. Presumably, it is this tension that gave birth to the (fairly fundamental) emotional split within western society -with the "objective" rule based "Classicists" on one side and the more "subjective" and individual expression based "Romantics" on the other. Unfortunately, this fundamental division seems to have spawned a whole range of ugly children -from fascism to post-modernism: A logic based on the "law of the excluded middle" does not seem to allow for aesthetic balance between opposites and can apparently only lead to conflict, where synthesis might be more appropriate.

Personally, I cannot help wondering if "modern capitalism" is a product of a philosophically immature western culture (based on all sorts of false dialectics) -or if the excesses of "modern western culture" are the creation of "modern capitalism"..... but perhaps such a simple view of "cause and effect" is itself a manifestation of a false dialectic.

Indeed, thinking can be exhausting: Perhaps this is why much thinking -just like much urban development -often relies on building on the foundations of that which is already there. However, perhaps this is also the point where the parallel should end -because although it is often a pity to see healthy wilderness being transformed into urban sprawl, it can sometimes be worthwhile when thoughts are allowed to roam free of the constraints and assumptions of the ruined city in which they grew up......

The work of Jane Jacobs might be worth reading in this context.

 Trevor Batten
Manila, Aug 19 2006
(posted on the Korakora mailing list