Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire

By Mark Wigley

*A very, really nice colour scan.*

From the preface...

To flip one’s gaze upon New Babylon at the present time, on the shut of our century, is to come across one other global, the place shock and the excitement of the eyes mingle with innumerable questions, insights, and speculations. New Babylon was once the point of interest of continuing Nieuwenhuys’s task from 1956 to 1974. those very concrete dates surround the production of work, drawings, collages, lithographs, scale versions, and texts, forming the corpus that we now rediscover at Witte de With, middle for modern paintings. This rediscovery is inspired by means of a serious method of the current, looking to steer clear of a in basic terms historic description of occasions from a earlier which, even supposing fresh, is still charged with major paradoxes.

Constant is an artist who, with New Babylon, turns into one of many significant visionary architects of this century. either those domain names curiosity us at the present time: the paintings and its intentions, the expression and its content material, the picture and what it conveys, the textual content and the pedagogical process during which it's inscribed. The problem is to provide an artist whose complicated, hybrid paintings reveals no effortless class — specially within the current time of ideological flux, which permits us to tricky new arguments and to shape judgments.

New Babylon constitutes the final finished formula of an idea of the hot guy, or higher, of a social area that permits for the emergence of an different guy, of a brand new approach to life in neighborhood, in society. New Babylon is engaged with man’s event of the area — and therefore with the functionality of artwork — but additionally with politics, with the values and tools that we forge for our interplay with the realm. Deeply rooted within the avant-garde culture which, on the outset of this century, produced such a lot of proposals for the renewal of society, New Babylon deals a pointy distinction with the shut of our century, while the means to visualize the area otherwise has considerably declined. the following, then, is a primary fascinating query: what at the present time is still of our ability to reinvent the realm?

With this exhibition and monograph we search to create a double impact. First, to supply the joy of considering an oeuvre of remarkable caliber which, when you consider that its final whole presentation within the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1974, has simply reached the general public via fragmentary shows (at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with the exhibition at the passage of a f ew humans via a slightly short second in time: the Situationist foreign, 1957-1972 in 1989; and on the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona, with the exhibition Situationists. paintings, Politics, Urbanism in 1997). moment, to get better and review the influence that New Babylon may have within the current, the place radicality, conviction, and audacity are infrequent.

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Areas have been devoted to the playful use o f uncooked fabrics of the recent method o f existence. ’67 From the start, consistent heavily undefined o f electronics. consistent experimented with this probability, dedicating one o f the Spatiovores, the arguments of N orbert W iener, the major theorist o f cybernetics, again and again mentioning for instance, to the creation o f digital song — an curiosity persevered within the Eind­ texts just like the Human use o f people to the impression that the pc w in poor health enable all paintings hoven undertaking which featured an important digital harp that might produce track in reaction to be automatic. the entire altering wishes o f the playful population w unwell be accommodated to the vibration o f its wires within the wind. a few plans designate particular areas for play with via electronics that either screens peoples’ wants and acts on them. The ‘ electronmachine’ radio and tv; ‘perfected telecommunications’ will be wanted among all areas. 166 consistent, ‘ De eerste tekenen,’ Liga Bulletin (June 19Ç7). 167 consistent, manuscript o f introduc­ tion given at starting o f Essen exhibition, nine January 1960. 168 consistent, manuscript o f lecture to the scholars organization on the Royal Academy o f Copenhagen, 12 March 1964. 169 consistent, ‘N ew Babylon,’ in Andreotti and Costa, thought o f the Dérive, p. one hundred sixty. 1 2 New Babylon Archiv stam p W'mdharp (W indharp), 1965 / layout for the Evoluon sq. in Eindhoven / nylon, w ood, steel / 2 zero zero x 20 zero cm (photo: Victor E. Nieuwenhuys) The digital Legacy a brand new variety o f ‘transmitting and receiving audiovisual netw ork’ will be overlaid at the no longer unintentionally do many o f the representations o f N ew Babylon resemble a circuit board ever-shifting spatial community. just like the different technological structures, it not just makes the with its a number of overlapping traces o f circulation. This caliber grew to become literal on the finish o f 1968 new playful way of life bodily attainable, but additionally turns into the topic o f play: whilst electronics have been built-in into the final version o f the undertaking. A dense steel web­ A renewed, reinvented audio-visual media is an quintessential relief. In afluctuating neighborhood, paintings i. g by means of 2 meters, and 1. five meters excessive, used to be choked with digital circuits, tiny lighting fixtures, and with no afixed base, contacts can in basic terms be maintained by way of in depth telecommunications. every one area audio system. A plexiglass keep an eye on panel allowed the version to be performed like a musical instru­ may be supplied with the most recent gear, obtainable to every body, whose use, we should always notice, isn't ment. the final sound stands out as the similar because the soundtrack utilized in the lectures with advert­ strictlyfunctional. In New Babylon air-con doesn't simply serve to recreate, as in utilitarian ditional small issues o f sound emitted from little audio system fixed within the constitution and society, an ‘ideal’ weather, yet to change atmosphere to the best attainable measure. Asfo r telecommunication, moved round at w unwell. the belief was once reminiscent o f the Cybernetic Sculptures o f Schoffer, it doesn't merely, or mostly, serve pursuits o f a pragmatic sort.

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