Debord and Dubai


'Greenland', Dubai
This piece is a few years old, but after spending some time reading Debord this spring, I thought this quote was worth underlining:

Sand and freedom | | Guardian Unlimited Arts

This is the type of empty, rootless scenario that Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle and Rem Koolhaas’ Generic City warned us about – but then, what else should a 21st-century Arab city look like?

If you havn’t read The Society of the Spectacle, it’s worth the time. Even though it’s steeped in the sort of Marixism that we so quickly look down on these days, when read through the context of architecture and videogames, it’s hard to pause. Consider this opening bit:

In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.

Or this:

The images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream in which the unity of that life can no longer be recovered. Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a separate pseudoworld that can only be looked at. The specialization of images of the world evolves into a world of autonomized images where even the deceivers are deceived. The spectacle is a concrete inversion of life, an autonomous movement of the nonliving.

And that’s just the first to paragraphs in the book!

When applied to the urban development in Dubai, you don’t have to have a copy of  the Communist Manefesto on your self to get something out of the insight.

One Response to Debord and Dubai

  1. Isn’t Rem actually a master architect of an entire “generic” city in Dubai that they are building out of nothing in the desert. “Stop me before I kill again!”?

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