City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

RIBA’s newsletter taunts me once again with another new book right up my strasse: Urban Avant-Gardes and Social Transformation – Art, Architecture and Change, by Malcolm Miles (Routledge). Not sure about the "green avant-garde", but It’ll have to wait. Still snowed under.

"Can art or architecture change the world? Is it possible, despite successive failures, to think of a new cultural avant-garde today? What would this mean? ‘Urban Avant-Gardes and Social Transformation’ attempts to contribute to debate on these questions, by looking back to past avant-gardes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, by examining the theoretical and critical terrain around avant-garde cultural interventions, and by profiling a range of contemporary cases of radical cultural practices. The first section spans the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries, exploring the avant-gardes of Realism, early twentieth-century art, and the architectural avant-garde of Modernism. Section two examines the period that stretches from the build-up to the events of 1968 to 1993, focusing particularly on the landmarks of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and opening of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. The third section begins in 1998 and asks whether there is a possibility for a new, perhaps ‘green’ avant-garde today; and whether, if there is, this might suggest a new attitude to and construction of a public sphere. ‘Urban Avant-Gardes and Social Transformation’ brings together material from a wide range of disciplines to argue for cultural intervention as a means to radical change, while recognising that most such efforts in the past have not delivered the dreams of their perpetrators."

Urban Avant-Gardes and Social Transformations [Amazon UK|US] [RIBA]


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