Editorial Excerpt Splinter #1, Antic Architecture

Antic¬†architecture goes against the grain, only that which embodies power, whether that of the Medicis or of MacDonald’s. Architecture has served power and in return has been head-locked by it. Similarly, the institutions that define and support architecture; the media, the schools, and the profession, have been duped into accepting this predetermination and then treated it as an exclusive preserve and privilege. Architecture has sacrificed the street party for the private club.

What this power play excludes may in fact be altogether removed from it: not unprofessional, but non-professional, not unacademic, but nonacademic, simply not playing by the same rules. The antic goes it on its own, undisturbed by ordinariness and unafraid of the excessive, the undignified, or the grotesque, conditions shunned by taste. Instead of enforcing distinctions, it accepts and promotes slippage between roles and states and occupies the territory where the repulsive and the compulsive overlap. Where values conflict we see patterns of interference develop. The antic resists the tyranny of the big corporate takeover of all aspects of life and its re-modelling of all social relations. Antic architecture is a contradiction that makes you bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you.

Whether architecture can become like a tag team match remains uncertain. The institutions that monopolize architecture have their own means of communication, recognition and evaluation. The antic, not being based in power, is inimical to being institutionalized. The Splinter will act as an agent of the antic, not determine it.

Back to May 1994 Newsletter: Los Angeles Urbanism