To Futures That Did Not Happen


Transient Nostalgia

Volume 8, Issue 01
September 23, 2022

In which space are we left when techno-salvationist ideas have failed and we suddenly discover that the past cannot enchant and incorporate everyone back due to the breakneck speed of the global?

Wishing to relate we still communicate with images, quotes and references that emanate hope, as if we were tapping into the past’s unrealised potentials we revive the dead anew. Then we fear that we have been there before, in that transient space before things have deteriorated to the state of now.

What if this unsettling feeling of “having been in a space before” is actually a continuous space of its own? One we are inhabiting now, a “repetition compulsion” space of modern times. If so, then the way out of such space cannot manifest through a radical vision of the future nor a romantic lamentation of the past. It can only happen through collective healing.

As for architects, overwhelmed by the exhaustion of forms and by association the exhaustion of meanings, we can find solace in the acceptance of our current state of atomised insignificance. We may raise a toast to futures that did not happen and let them go, not as inspiring reflections but as opportunistic (and at times naive) formalist projects that continue to haunt us.

While we do that, we might find the strength within ourselves to take our time and re-estimate complicit necessities and guidelines that underline productions of our beloved buildings today.In that space, relieved of coping mechanisms of forms inventing, we might grant each other support and solidarity to help us through an occasional dubious déjà vu.