Paul Virilio died, on September 10th, this year.
This French theorist obsessed by war, asked: what does architecture mean in the age of total war ? – a war which, even when it does not manifest itself explicitly, is fatally in the making, with ever increasing speed.
Our age is indeed governed by speed. We cannot conceive “progress” without speed. But this glorified speed could also mean a quicker progression towards the end.
If indeed, as he said, the invention of the ship also meant the invention of the shipwreck, we are progressing towards the final (?) regression. He created the word “dromocracy” (from the Greek word “dromos” – speed). Speed – as a promise of a never (yet) reached freedom.
But, are we so free ?
And, more importantly perhaps, are we war free ? The human aggression didn’t diminish, it actually increased, with ever accelerating speed. As Einstein intuited, while confessing not knowing how the 3rd World War would be fought, he seemed sure that the 4th World War would be fought with sticks and stones.
Would this be “progress ?”
We are obsessed by “growth”… we grow, grow, grow… but what do we grow towards ? It seems the ultimate “growth” pushes us towards leaving Earth. It is no accident that three of the great princes of human “growth” and “success,” Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson they all want to leave Earth. But towards what ? And why the urgency ? Maybe they too feel the fatality of infinite growth… like those less than pleasant animals that leave the ship when they feel the incoming shipwreck.
Lebbeus Woods thought that architecture is war and war is architecture. This equation seems brutal and simplistic. But maybe there is a truth here that Virilio intuited as well.
We invite you to imagine A HOUSE FOR PAUL VIRILIO.
Would it be a bunker ?
Would it be buried deeply into the viscera of the earth ?
Would it be on the Moon, on Mars, or much, much further away ?
Would it be a memorial, a tomb ?
Or, looking the other way, would it be some kind of habitable kite, recognizing its fragility and laughing in the face of disaster ?
How would it be ? If Nomen est Omen, we cannot ignore the name of its “inhabitant:” Virilio. Virility. Virile. MANHOOD. This very manhood that invented speed, this very virility so prone to war, this very virility showing its muscles of ever increasing speed and ferocity. But could a philosopher ever be “virile ?”
We ask you to design a house for a virile Philosopher. Maybe a philosopher defeated by this very incongruous “virility.”
Please send us your work by December 24th, 2018. We will publish all the works received on our website and we will organize a traveling exhibition with them. Please use format A0 to present your work, oriented vertically, as many sheets as you want. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.