Archive for Foucault

99 on Foucault vs Koolhaas

Read the Foucault first and then Koolhaas yesterday.  Wow. It was like going from a governmental report on current living conditions to Baudelaire enacting his own Fear and Loathing in the Las Vegas airport on Ecstasy!  Double wow.  So, why must Foucault write this way?  Too much French schooling?  I know these are lecture notes but still his books are similar – fussy with the effort to make the idea exhaustive. The principles strain. Are they really principles in the first place?  Anyway, not that I have the French in front of me, but the first principle could be introduced by a kindly English write thus: In “primitive” societies Crisis Heterotopias are privileged or sacred places [I find “forbidden” a good example of his straining after totality] reserved for individuals considered to be in crisis: adolescents …” From 51 words to 18.  I also find his propensity for sweeping statements irritating; “human perfection was effectively achieved.” Koolhaas makes his own sweeping statements but because they are couched within a poetic style the context serves Koolhass well. His sweep is akin to Times Square not the Encyclopédie. I loved Junkspace (which is weird to write). I guess I have been living under a rock because I had no idea. Wow. There are so many incredible lines. I can’t add much.  My inclination is to quote (which is funny/telling in itself). I have a video in mind. I do love the ideas in Foucault (in particular “death as illness” and “the honeymoon” being nowhere), but jeez louise, I am so glad there are writers like Koolhaas who simply ignore the philosophical crisis of feeling the need to systematize “polarities” that have “merged” into this “fervent semantics of health” with its “notional ideas of plenty” (very funny) … I could go on but I won’t …  If the bland can be amplified, the featureless exaggerated, I vote for Jimi Hendrix over LaMonte Young, that is, Koolhaas over Foucault (because after the SuperBowl I think everything is a competition – even commercials)