Western classical music is an ambiguous art form because it is a kind of psychology in sound through fluid mathematics.
Tuesday 12 January 2021
Recently, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, published an article about a new initiative of the EU concerning urban planning, as a part of the European Green Deal which intends to turn Europe into the first climate-neutral continent in 2050. The article, which was published internationally in the European media, can also be found on the website of the European Commission:
The article is about urban planning and also about architecture as such: ‘The European Green Deal must also – and especially – be a new cultural project for Europe’. Von der Leyen discusses the need of a movement in building that combines sustainability, accessibility and aesthetics, so that new built environments will not only be ‘green’ but also ’attractive, and innovative and human-centered’. She refers to the Bauhaus movement which, in the twenties of the last century, started an entirely new way of thinking about how the human environment should be created, breaking with an ages-long architectural tradition and introducing new concepts in terms of practicality, function and aesthetics. With the Bauhaus we find the beginning of the ‘box style’ square building tradition, using new materials like cement, glass and steel, and applying an aesthetic which refers to technology and utopian fantasies. It is the vision of a world where proportions and scale are determined by the mass of populations and requirements of dense traffic networks, more often than not leading to the square blocks to house populations as if they were farm animals: the notorious ‘Selbstverkistung der Menschheit’. Von der Leyen hopes that the European Green Deal will start a ’new Bauhaus movement‘ which will combine all the needs of modern humanity, including the psychological/aesthetic needs.
Considering aesthetics, the example of the Bauhaus seems to be a rather unhappy one: after the confused proliferation of building styles in the 19th century, the Bauhaus idea seemed to ‘clean the shop’ and to start from a clean slate, where functionality took priority. The term ‘function’ became the widely-accepted catchword for the new building style, where ‘function’ was understood as an entirely practical and material category. The big mistake of Bauhaus and everything that followed in its wake was, of course, to think that function could only be applied to the material presence of a building, as if psychology and aesthetics were not truly functional. The condemnations of 19C projects like the Viennese Ringstrasse, which is a conglomeration of historic fantasies for contemporary occupation, and styled with aesthetic symbolism, have accompanied the development of Selbstverkistung since the twenties, defending ‘the only possible future’ against its ‘conservative’ critics.