Monday, January 12, 2009

Topias - first post

Topians -

I am looking forward to meeting you all tomorrow evening!

I have been familiarizing myself with the course material. I have to say, I feel out of my element, but very excited. I have felt claustrophobic within my discipline (architecture) to date - and have always sought those few professors who bridge the huge gap between other fields. I hope to become one of those through the RCID program.

One of the most inspiring and actionable quotes from what I have read so far comes from the concluding remarks from Fitting:

He finds it essential that we follow "Jameson's call to understand 'the systemic, cultural, and ieological closure of which we are all in one way or another prisoners.' A closure which prevents us from imagining...." (Peter Fitting, "The Concept of Utopia in the Work of Fredric Jameson" pg 15)

This is wonderful. I teach beginning design students in Architecture... I am always trying to find ways to express this notion put forth by Jameson and Fitting to my colleagues, but haven't been very successful. I am thrilled to have a new and powerful mechanism. It seems that all we talk about is politics and technology... never our own ability to imagine other wild and amazing possibilities. To construct (or at least reorganize) not only forms, but forms of knowledge.

"...we might think of the the new onset of the Utopian process as a kind of desiring to desire… a learning to desire, the invention of the desire called Utopia in the first place, along with new rules for the fantasizing or daydreaming of such a thing – a set of narrative protocols with no precedent in our previous literary institutions...." (ibid).

Beautiful! It is as though he suggests that we stop chasing our tails, and realize a deeper truth about the current cultural situation. I know my department within the academic institution could use a bit of that.