Brief Encounter / NICHOLAS KORODY

responding to Jack Self

Understanding contemporary life is a constant struggle, which sometimes seems almost impossible. What does it mean to live today?

“This is the first thing I’ve done today — I’m having my coffee right now — so I suspect my answer is inflected by the hour, and that any answer to this question would always have to be situated, temporally and otherwise, because what it means to live is, I think, not only mediated by the question of what demarcates a shared sense of the present — the today — but also by an even more immediate set of qualifiers — the right now and the where of the who that responds. That is, I’m tempted to say that what it means to live today is always situational knowledge, and always subjective, and then maybe to hoard my answer, to lock it up in the realm of the personal and swaddle it in soundproof foam to protect it from eavesdroppers.

But I think Jack is looking for an answer that strives for, if not the universal, then a shared condition — one to which the political may be, however tentatively, staked — and so I’ll do my best while trying to keep in sight the site from which I speak.

My instinct right now, as I’m reeling from reading an article about school children being arrested for protesting climate inaction and an op-ed from a pundit attempting to maneuver around any policy action designed to ameliorate staggering wealth inequality, is that what it means to live today is, simply, to survive.

Survival, of course, does not mean the same thing to the same people at the same time: survival, for me in Brooklyn as a white cis male in 2019 looks different — is easier, I think you could say — than what it means for someone else, somewhere else. Sometimes survival is mere, sometimes it is bare, but often it is something else.

So, keeping in mind its fundamentally relative character, I think survival suggests a shared condition in that, at least, it describes how we are (almost all, if not all) fucked in some way by a system that is highly heterogeneous in its affects and effects but somehow is bound up together and bounds us up together. While I might not be merely surviving right now, and I must always remember that other people are, in the face of the existential questions that mark the contemporary, we are all surviving on borrowed time, and, in that, survival is a concept through which we might chain our solidarity and ground our struggle.

And, at the risk of sounding like a complete and utter asshole, I’m reminded of a distinction Walter Benjamin makes between two meanings of survival: überleben, to live on after death, like a work of art after the demise of its author, and fortleben, to keep on living. I’d like to venture that what it means to live today is to grab hold of that which we want to survive us — a concept, an object, a horizon of possibility — as the thing that brings us together as we struggle to keep on living, or that which motivates us to keep on living, together.”

 

1 Nicholas Korody is “writer and fake architect” currently based in New York. He is principal /co – founder of Adjustments Agency with Joanna Kloppenburg, “an architecture of architecture studio”, “or the forces that work to circumscribe the possibilities of architectural thought and practice, with the goal of redesigning it. This takes many forms, from writing to curating to videos. Initially, our practice explored the culture and economy of architectural exhibitions.” (Nicholas Korody)
In 2018 they collaborated with Jessica Kwok on a project domesti-city, a store for architecture located in apartment in Manhattan´s Chinatown focusing on exhibition culture.
Recently, they’ve been working on a couple other themes: the financialization of architecture and the architecture of financialization; the role of architecture in producing normative subjects (video here); and the politics of refusal as they pertain to architecture.
He is also co-founder of Encyclopedia Inc.research based art collective founded in 2013 with Googie Karrass and Carlye Packer. In 2013 they presented hand-bound volumes during the annual Marathon at the Seprentine Galleries in London.
As writer he works as Managing editor forArchinect, Editor-in-Chief of Ed – a hybrid print-digital publication published quarterly by Archinect. He contributed for Real Review, or to the twenty-fourth issue of PIN-UP.
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visual art, videoDOMESTIC/STANDARD
Jack Self (1987) is an architect and writer based in London. He did his Master at AA Undergraduate School. He is director of the REAL foundation and Editor-in-Chief of Real Review (“Britain´s foremost contemporary culture magazine” ) which was award-winning and was featured in the Design Museum´s 2017 Design of the Year Awards. He is also contributing editor at the Architectural Review, and has written for numerous publications like The Guardian032cNew Philosophere-flux,..He published several books RealEstates: Life without Debt (Bedford Press, 2014), Home Economics (2016), Mies in London (2018). In 2016 he co-curated (with Shumi Bose and Finn Williams) the exhibition Home Economics at British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Brief Encounter* is a short and quick format with an intent to reveal relations between individuals, different professions, and so on.
By avoiding a more complex interview, it aims to recall an immediateness, easiness of the only one, acute, straight but essential question.
Brief Encounter of two people (subjects), a chance form someone to ask something someone else, referring to his/her professional interest at a given time, publicly. A meeting framed by the extent of  one question and virtual space of MAG D A.
* Brief Encounter comes from the 40´s movie by David Lean, about chance meeting of two random people at railway station.

 

8 / 1 / 2020
by Gabriela Smetanová
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