From Escapism to Activism: Two Forms of Architectural Dissent in Romania

Architecture and Culture , 2(1), 26-43 (2014) .


The article draws a comparison between two different forms of dissent against the dominant architectural system during and after communism in Romania. Martin Pinchis’s “urban fictions” in the 1960s and the “theoretical subversion” of the 1980s are brought together and then considered in relation to instances of more recent activism since around 2000s.
The argument is that in spite of the totally different conditions during and after communism, resistance might be understood similarly in both situations: architects escape direct confrontation with negative realities by producing new margins of action and enlarging the limits of architecture itself. The two attitudes are very different, one whole and utopian, the other acupunctural and circumstantial. Yet they both develop lateral fields of action beyond usual professional practice. The apparent “paradoxes of dissidence” - that the more architecture opposes reality the less able it is to change it, or that architecture opposes itself - are surpassed by this escapism.

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