Boulevards, Banlieues and other Samples of Decorated Histories

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Within the continuing project Boulevards, Banlieues and Other Samples of Decorated
Histories (from 2005 to the present) icons of postmodern architecture are merged in large-scale photo collages. Postmodern buildings from different, or even contradictory,
economies and sites locate postmodern architecture as an aspect of globalized
In his essay “Catching the Essential Fact:Recent Geographies,”(1) Jeff Derksen writes
of Boulevards, Banlieues and Other Samples of Decorated Histories: “Working
through two different logics – one of architectural form and the other of the spatiality
of capitalist investment – Bitter and Weber focus on postmodern architecture
found in urban territories and economies that are seemingly incompatible: city
space planned and produced by socialist Yugoslavia, the social housing on the
fringe of Paris which erupted in riot and flames by the socially dispossessed,
the highly mediatized urban core of Los Angeles, the grand boulevard of Bucharest, the Pacific Rim cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, and the uncertain centre of Detroit represented by the ‘Renaissance Centre’.”
“Curiously, in these ‘recent geographies’ of globalization and neoliberal spaces,
postmodernism emerges as a style that has crossed very different and even contradictory economies and spaces – a style called upon to represent very different
social and spatial logics and social visions. … All of these sites – joined together
in a collage process that is both unsettling and seamless – are in transition, grappling
with the opening of state and city spaces by globalization and its software of administration, neoliberalism.”
“To catch the complexity of creative destruction and to try and represent this ‘process,’ Recent Geographies speculates on postmodernism as a style that is flexible, adaptable, or applicable to particular cityscapes and specific planning and civic intentions – as well as a style that goes beyond a single logic. This opens up Fredric Jameson’s famous assertion that postmodernism was more than simply an autonomous style, but is dynamically produced by the economic and social structures of capital and is more properly the ‘cultural logic of late capitalism’.”
While postmodern theoreticians generally conceived of modernity as failed project and a “grand narrative” never able to legitimate itself, postmodernism was seen as a
period initiating the “end of the grand narrative” and the rise of particular histories and identities.
The large-format collages question this narrative and address economies of postmodernism to examine postmodern architecture as a phenomenon of globalization.
(1) All quotations from Jeff Derksen, “Catching the Essential Fact: Recent Geographies”