City after Labour

A Seminar with Andreas Rumpfhuber organized by the ‘City/Architecture’ PhD Programme.

Wednesday 23 May, 6.30 pm, 33 Bedford Square, first floor.

City After Labour

Since the End of the Second World War our Societies witness a profound ideological and technologic alteration that today is being experienced in an accelerated and intensified way. From the beginning this alteration was accompanied by an unprecedented revision of the organization of the European city and the way our urban societies are able to live together. As I have been arguing this was triggered and accompanied by a popular discourse on cybernetics, the idea of full-automation and ultimately by the promise of the coming Leisure Society that was mirrored in architecture (Rumpfhuber: 2013).

With this perspective onto the city, Mario Tronti’s concept of “The Factory of Society” (German: 1974) needs to be read as significant analogy for understanding our contemporary urban agglomerations and the production of space: The former wall enclosing the factory disappears. The factory spills out into the city. The whole city, whole society becomes a site of production. Industry and administration work starts to become automatized and/or out-sourced to far away countries. The decline of certain sectors of the economy including its jobs as well as the becoming dominant of immaterial labour led to the inevitable reinvention of the city through culture industry in the 1970s.

In the seminar I will be discussing significant architectural projects (from Working in Bed to Building a Museum, from a change in education towards the idea of housing and the domestic), that make visible this alteration and help to think about and conceive modes and ways of contemporary interventions with means of architecture.