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Monthly Archives: August 2011

I find humor in the symmetry of this opposition. “Under the paving stones lies the beach!” was a 1968 anti-spectacular rallying cry to work against state control. This is a poetic idea of course and not literal, so take it as such, but it was thought that in the rustic and anti-state condition – so beneath the mechanisms of the state’s marking of territory, eg the pavers themselves, lies our freedom.

The current state simply provides a “beach” “above the paving stones” as an attempt to inoculate from the discontentment that would lead to anti-state actions. The spectacle tries to deflate any opposition to itself before you can go digging for it.

Of course, free things are what the value systems of late capitalism tell the people they want, but when you ask, what they actually want is self-determination. Freedom, not just free beer, in Stallman’s analogy.


On a parallel note, this dialectic between the mechanisms of “state control” and the “primitive” state reminds me of the dialectic between the primitive and the “advanced” in much of Wes Jones’s early work.

To quote his project text from this underrated book edited by Aldo Aymonio and Valerio Paolo Mosco Contemporary Public Space – Un-Volumetric Architecture,

“This design for a lifeguard tower could be considered an illustration of Heidegger’s claim that ‘technology teases nature into unhiddenness.’ the job of the typical lifeguard tower is to provide the lifeguards with a vantage point from which they can keep an eye on the swimmers they protect. This project supplies the lifeguards with the simplest version of this requirement: a dune. No dune may actually be present on the beach, so a machine is brought in to construct one, demonstrating the effort required to achieve a ‘natural’ condition.” (Jones. p. 272).