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Militant Modernism

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Argues for a Modernism of everyday life, immersed in questions of socialism, sexual politics and technology. This work features chapters ranging from a study of industrial and brutalist aesthetics in Britain, the Sexpol of Wilhelm Reich in film and design, and the alienation effects of Brecht and Hanns Eisler on record and on screen.


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Argues for a Modernism of everyday life, immersed in questions of socialism, sexual politics and technology. This work features chapters ranging from a study of industrial and brutalist aesthetics in Britain, the Sexpol of Wilhelm Reich in film and design, and the alienation effects of Brecht and Hanns Eisler on record and on screen.

30 review for Militant Modernism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxy

    I first read this book about this time 3 years ago, absorbed 62 pages one evening in a hotel room in Russell Square whilst on a college residential trip to London, and it really blew me away. I have recently revisited it to aid an essay I am currently writing and it's just as brilliant as I remember, if not better. Hatherley provides a fantastic "defence" against left-wing Modernism, particularly Brutalist architecture, in the name of strides towards a socialist utopia that sadly never quite cam I first read this book about this time 3 years ago, absorbed 62 pages one evening in a hotel room in Russell Square whilst on a college residential trip to London, and it really blew me away. I have recently revisited it to aid an essay I am currently writing and it's just as brilliant as I remember, if not better. Hatherley provides a fantastic "defence" against left-wing Modernism, particularly Brutalist architecture, in the name of strides towards a socialist utopia that sadly never quite came to be, with further references to popular culture (I found the half-a-page on lyricism and technical innovation of late-70s electronic groups such as The Human League and Ultravox in relation to Brutalism particularly compelling) and contrasts with the rather trite "Barratt Homes Modernism" and "Ikea Modernism" of today. Avoiding the empty fetishisation that can come with the aesthetic and theoretical appreciation of Brutalism with scant regard for its original context, Hatherley refutes the idea that the social housing demographic were forced into these concrete boxes by heartless councils. (For a more in-depth exploration of that idea with specific examples, I would highly recommend "Concretopia" by John Grindrod) There's also a nice sprinkling of wry humour there along with the lefty optimism, which is wonderful. In order to move forward, we must look to the past and learn.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Was glad to learn about British Modernism and public housing as well as an emphasis on the Constructivists, but was a little caught off guard by the half of the book on Reich and cultural topics. I enjoyed it, but definitely was hoping for more of a solution to our current crisis of postmodernity.... But this does a good job of looking how modernity got us here and still exists even if it gets sucked into the postmodern lens through "Ikea Modernism" etc. Kind of a map to cherry pick for a future Was glad to learn about British Modernism and public housing as well as an emphasis on the Constructivists, but was a little caught off guard by the half of the book on Reich and cultural topics. I enjoyed it, but definitely was hoping for more of a solution to our current crisis of postmodernity.... But this does a good job of looking how modernity got us here and still exists even if it gets sucked into the postmodern lens through "Ikea Modernism" etc. Kind of a map to cherry pick for a future movement if one is even possible.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chester Bennington

    A concise and refreshingly non-romantic look at modernist architecture (with a bit of cultural studies thrown in for good measure) in the context of revolutionary politics. Very interesting read from which - I'm willing to bet (since I've not read much on the subject in the past) - you will take away a greater understanding of Modernism than from many more in depth books on the topic. The only thing that grated on me in the beginning was what I perceived to be Hatherley's overly forceful and opi A concise and refreshingly non-romantic look at modernist architecture (with a bit of cultural studies thrown in for good measure) in the context of revolutionary politics. Very interesting read from which - I'm willing to bet (since I've not read much on the subject in the past) - you will take away a greater understanding of Modernism than from many more in depth books on the topic. The only thing that grated on me in the beginning was what I perceived to be Hatherley's overly forceful and opinionated writing style but if you stick with it you begin to see how well reasoned much of his points are.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ian Matthews

    This book is a far reaching although extremely disorganised polemic in favour of a set of ideals and style that time has long left behind. I can't help but feel that even though this series of articles try to defend modernism as a vehicle for left-leaning utopia the examples given show that ultimately the modernist experiment was a failure and the lure of capital, springing from an innate human greed, was just too strong. I'm not advocating that what followed the great modernist experiment was a This book is a far reaching although extremely disorganised polemic in favour of a set of ideals and style that time has long left behind. I can't help but feel that even though this series of articles try to defend modernism as a vehicle for left-leaning utopia the examples given show that ultimately the modernist experiment was a failure and the lure of capital, springing from an innate human greed, was just too strong. I'm not advocating that what followed the great modernist experiment was any better, in fact it is probably much worse. However, it would be wrong to try to turn the clock back to the supposed halcyon days that probably never existed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tara Brabazon

    What would socialist modernism - in our present - look like? Would it sound like New Order or One Direction? Would it dismiss and demolish brutalist architecture, or would it value its hard edges and harsh surfaces? Owen Hatherley brings Britishness back to modernism, showing and celebrating its extreme elements that were built in the 1960s and survive in the present. The book is short and brutal in its prose. There are some tough and biting commentaries offered here. But it is revisionist in the What would socialist modernism - in our present - look like? Would it sound like New Order or One Direction? Would it dismiss and demolish brutalist architecture, or would it value its hard edges and harsh surfaces? Owen Hatherley brings Britishness back to modernism, showing and celebrating its extreme elements that were built in the 1960s and survive in the present. The book is short and brutal in its prose. There are some tough and biting commentaries offered here. But it is revisionist in the best sense and realizes that - to move forward - we need to grasp a past without the nostalgia or simplistic interpretation of heritage.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alican Kunt

    I'm gonna be honest. I've only skimmed through this book, because I found it overwhelming with so many concepts and idealisms and movements. This book must be regarded as an academic read because chances are if you're like me - an architecture graduate who has no academic aspirations - you are going to be overwhelmed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I fully support Hatherley's attempt to recuperate Modernism's engagement with the everyday, but this book is incredibly scattershot. While it is certainly true - as Hatherley claims in the introduction - that one could read these chapters in any order, this means they don't add up to a book-length narrative, instead each making the same argument with different evidence.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steven Pilling

    I enjoyed this book but not as much as bleak or guide to the new ruins. Hatherley can master an arguement and he starts at 90 miles an hour before hitting top speed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robbie Williams

    I found it unbearably pretentious, and not very well structured. Oh well...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Becketted

    Probably the most influential book I'll read all year. One of the few instances when I can honestly say a book changed the way I look at the world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Burns

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graeme

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vassilchik

  14. 5 out of 5

    BW Diederich

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alistair Baillie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lara Corona

  17. 4 out of 5

    snessel1

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andy Lockhart

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Disneyq

  20. 5 out of 5

    Guy Mankowski

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Wright

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna Lavery

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alena

  25. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  26. 5 out of 5

    Craig Hopper

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Gill

  29. 5 out of 5

    Olli Thomson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jack

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