High-Speed updating Or even more high speed

High-Speed updating

      Or even more high speed


a work by Michael Jia



A Consumed Era

Pink news’s suction is not only built on its authenticity, the falsity and uncertainty help make more fantasy and thus amusement.

Too much information is packed into our mind. This is an era making people collapse. The quantity of information has already far exceeded the range of a prophet’s suspecting ten years ago. Indeed, to a net worm his acquaintance of periphery is far from being as good as his cognition of circumstances of H5N1 in the Europe. Information spreads fast surprisingly. To some extent a lot of 0’s and 1’s sent by light-transmitting fibers fold traditional time and space.

Advertisements, gossip, commodities, politics, messages, sex, BBS……all aspects bomb the resolving power and memory of people generally living wrecked in this era. Perhaps the film directors are employable predictors. As the works "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" of Quentin Tarantino drop a tangible hint to us, the era packed with flippancy and uncertainty has already become a fact by chance. In the trifling topic and language game, it is demonstrated that people are crazy about products and consumption. Even the extreme violence which is under the high-speed and empty language does not seem worth mentioning. It has become a consumed era!


Information has already become the consumer goods. The large amount of high-speed messages drowns people. The pace of information dissemination is faster and faster, while people’s resolving power to information is weaker and weaker. The high speed of information caused by all means it’s empty. On this occasion a person born in the 80’s has already become used to understanding information by the title of having a  look around. In other words a person’s concern to the information speed that is born in the 80’s exceeded inevitably to its concern for the contents. More fictitious imaginations intrude into lives. People on earth create another Earth. Msn, QQ, networks…all these things are enough to make the architects frightened. The fictitious space is now fighting for the status which had belonged to the traditional. It can make a networm in Beijing imagine he is chatting with others in Amsterdam, yet ignore the Chinese-style furniture around them. Architects can hardly offer such strong imagination. In other words the quality of people’s life depends more on their imagination and the traditional inverse proposition will be no longer applicable. Gropius will shoot himself in this era.

We suffer from partial loss of memory more or less. The high speed must cause a great shakeout: It is clearer when we in December 1998 recalled things happening in January 1994, than when we in December 2005 recalled things happening in January the same year. The high culling ratio caused by high speed makes us accustomed to the things being altered around us. Like Windows XP evolving from Windows 95, few people are sentimentally attached to the old edition of the above two generations. Upgrade and forget” are already compatible among the brain of modern people. The boundary between existence and imagination seems to be less important for the high-speed renewal and forgetfulness. During the process of renewing, the meaning of speed and efficiency lies on themselves. Any other phenomenon has already become the by-product to the letter. Great renewal will cause a confused order so it is the result that low immunity people may not be willing to see. What people really need is fast lasting renewal. Even the pace should be faster.

High-speed information has broken through the power of the public opinion .The public opinion will no longer be controlled only by the government. A leading strength is washed under the high speed and the huge amount incoherently. Umpteen sayings make the government have too many visitors or businesses to deal with. Power has been transferred in this era. People can speak out freely on BBS, vote and choose somebody to be the superstar singer through the SMS. Under such high-speed replacement, Citizens gain large charge by controlling public voice, which is unbelievable before. Similarly, the reality and unreality of the speech or the noumenon of speech is overshadowed under high-speed replacement. Therefore, the value of a city’s symbols lies on its owners and designers, and its selectors could go on the stage. In this era, Symbols is just the products of the public voice and power; itself is worth on more than a pin. Such values rely on its by-products. Everyone has the addiction of scourging corpse.

"Britney’s nude picture can attract more clicking than the completion of the National Opera House in Beijing?" It’s a truth you have to admit.

Why do we have to return the modernism?

Why do we have to return to modernism? Without a doubt, this unusual return process has filled the contradictory and satire. The modern essence will surmount the present and be directed toward the future. Its religious doctrine promised that it must be go ahead and not be able to take risks to return from the future. This perfidious return lets the followers of modernism be greatly disappointed, although they spurn the post modernism. These followers exaggerate this kind of phenomenon wantonly, sum it up to the in competency of the post modernism and accuse that the post-modernism has not undertaken the heavy responsibility to surmount modernism, violating its initial pledge. Perhaps this return and former Soviet Union’s disintegration has the similar complexity and contradictory? "Whether we have already given up, and returned to our known world; even though we know this world has been defeated.

Perhaps this return is not a pure return. The massive consumables are flooding this era. Large numbers of consumables have been added with a post-modern title, such as buildings, movies, music, publications, drawings, and even conversation. What the huge consumable market and the high speed information propagation velocity bring is one kind of unprecedented inclusiveness. More accurately it’s a strong willing to include. All things even if it is obsolete or eliminated or abandoned or censured or anything which is worth nothing, can reborn to be fresh or elaborate by re-explanation. Just like the rewording proposed by Floyd on a paranoid critical method, "this world is similar to playing cards such as to be allowed to mix the cards, but its first order is depressed." Certainly this kind of first order is not easy to realize. They immerse to the pleasure of playing cards for remixing cards means a new game start.

The uncertain and blind inclusiveness make every historical return phenomenon lose its original historical essence, but turned to a kind of expectedness when mix the cards in the process and smugness when the cards are sent to everyone’s hand. Or the history which is returned has already been branded by this brand mark, belongs to a period after the consumable. Therefore, rather than saying that it’s principle return phenomenon, we prefer that it’s a well organized expense process which is achieved by adding inflammatory details to the renewal.  We may call this kind of expense process "the return type renewal". It does not represent one kind to back up, but is similar to Marx’s so-called screw type rise process. Then the foundation to realize "the return type renews" lies on the degree that people desire to manipulate and the modern people’s surrealism complex.

Just as the front of the article said that, the low immunity modern people are not willing to see a sudden rise to a renewed event, because this possibly brings the significant transformation to its original survival rule, or said that this significant renewal has harassed the rule. Perhaps it is the reason that the technology of clones is forbidden in many countries. The modern people like fast, continuing, or linear renewal which brings both a fresh and well organized feeling. Continuing in this kind of the renewal process, the historical event is extremely easy to obtain. The modern people enjoyed through explanation or elaboration of the historical event causes it to become the new fashion consumable. Modern people "renew to the return type" as the confidence level originates from them to a higher understanding of the historical event, in other words the people already knew it very well in the past to any degree. High understandings among people who benefit from it have come to find such operations handy. The understanding brings the pleasant sensation caused by the modern people to have one kind of operation to desire the known things, wanted in this operation under the direction following one by one.

 The survival more or less has the certainly surrealism complex which could be a standard for people to distinguish this era. The information detonation and the expense were enormous and have accomplished the modern people surrealism complex. The surrealism attempt for the realistic idea and the instinct sub consciousness and the dream experience kneads together, but achieves one kind of absolute reality, the surmounting reality. This has become the treatment information and the expense as if it leads to people’s feeling of being alone, the unreal feeling, and the feeling of the excellent effective prescription. It is said to be the effective prescription but would rather say the surrealism is a cardio tonic, because it has brought the large-scale information detonation and enormous expenses. Yet, the surrealism devotes to exploring the humanity to experience the stratification plane, simultaneously devoting to the breakthrough in harmony with the logic and actual realistic view. This lets “the return type renewal” become perfectly justifiable and make the causes by the return and the existing illogical appear simultaneously performing a good play together. Under the modern people’s surrealism, “the return type renewal” displays the gaudy fashion laughing uproariously and a more formidable buying power. That’s why the world three tenors prefer to play their concert at The Forbidden City to an opera house. Although the sound effect in an opera house is sure better than in the Forbidden City.

Architecture = consumer goods?

In the days that we pay most attention to efficiency, variety, speed, and the market, what should the architecture do? The diehards will insist that the architecture can not become the enslavement of the market and should not fall deeper into the consumer goods that depend on the market. They say the close relation consumed between architecture and consumer goods can be ascribed to the ruin of the ethos of society. Let’s look at the city of today, where both sides of the street are packed with numerous signboards of all kinds including trade marks, bill-boards, and electronic screens. The number is so big that people can even neglect the existence of the architecture. And the number is increasing at full speed all the time. Timid people will think the architecture is disappearing in the city. But people like Robert Venturi will think such signs have already become a part of the architecture. Just as the latter understanding, architecture has not disappeared, but has become out of shape. Or we can say that buildings have turned into the large consumer goods because of the interposition of consumption. This deformation can be said to be one kind by the cover to the narrow, linear, high-speed renewal process.

How about post-modernism? Though each sticks to his argument, their architecture all appear to be a kind of image with various policies and styles, each competing in the market as consumer goods. Post-modernists seek for modish and prevail at heart. The value of its existence is just to be the consumer goods of citizens tired of modernism.

Then look at the largest construction site in the world – China. Architecture is being consumed in the form of goods like a raging fire. The people choose the housing through the advertisement of all kinds and pay certain expenses to the developer. Then they can become the owner of one set or more in this housing. All inhabited architecture seeks users through this course in China. What deserves to be mentioned is a large number of architecture peddles playing the Rome classical style and banners that restore ancient ways and the sales volume is very good. What has architecture really become in this course? Even an architecture believer of the most restrained morality and justice will be timid. They are unable to prove that architecture has not become goods in this course of consumption, unable to explain why a large number of Rome classical style or the buildings return to the ancients can sell well. Because to prove or explain it you will have to admit that architecture like other consumer goods, they are going through the coming back type to upgrade.

In this era, architecture has already become consumer goods, even though a lot of architects are stubbornly resisting. What do the architects fear?

Why does the architect fear that the building will become the consumer goods? Do they fear in the trend of the fashion, thinking that a building just means a beautiful house? Is that such? It is not a reason at all. What the architects fear is the forfeiture of the personal will, or the reducing of social status. They wish to become the noble-minded daydreamer, and do not care about the market, the economy, and people’s demands.

The present architects should not stand on a podium, attempting to change the world according to one’s own Utopia idea. What they should really work on is how to mediate the people’s place of this era in the world. The "way of mediation" is the main point to the contents that architecture should innovate then.

We have already simplified this question in the era of exploded information and maximized consumption: How to meet people’s life by the building as consumer goods? High speed is the answer.

High speed

Usually if an object changes through a unit time, position or state, etc, then this object has a high-speed attribute. This word does not seem related with the architecture in the past, in other words, any people who have ever participated in constructing buildings involuntarily thought that a building had no speed formerly. In fact, an accurate statement is that a building has the attribute of speed; however, the speed of architecture is too slow for us to perceive. Then we may say that all of the buildings before the era of consumption are slow.

But now, a high-speed consumption era has already come. After the system of capitalist national production and consumption reached a high ripe state in the sixties of the 20th century, one side of the city materiality, which is the traditional architecture space, is weakened and controlled by the invisible factors such as ways of information dissemination, consumption network, and the economic strength day by day. The traditional urban structure is in a kind of disintegrated condition. More properly, it is compelled assimilation.

Buildings in the city are being assimilated as a member of the numerous consumptions. A new building from competition to completed, besides its most essential use function, all the other public opinions by-products which it creates are consumed crazily though there are both positive and negative public opinions. What broaden people’s outlooks even more are, the public’s opinionated by-products created by the buildings, becoming their only reason to continue to exist. Moreover, their purpose of existence is to create more public opinion consumptions such as those houses by Gropius for example.

The building permeated by the consumer market should speed up to meet the rapid-pace life of the people permeated by the consumer market. More and more technologies of consumption and propagation, such as network technology, resource-sharing technology and holographic image technology, should apply to the architecture successively, through the upgrading delays to show on stage on the architecture technology. High speed brings architecture not only variety of single attributes but activates and updates each architectural attribute completely. This renewal is unprecedented before:

1. Buildings not only possess the existing original use function, but will also appear as information carriers.

2. 2.Internal and external ownerships of the building will be totally separated. Traditional users will only own internal usufruct, while the outside of the building will circulate as consumption in the market.

3. 3.What architects have to consider is that the fictitious space created by the information with which buildings load weighs equally to the traditional true space in architectural design. The work of architects will be even more close to setting stages.

4. 4.a great deal of surrealism skills: dislocation, concatenation and film editing will become habitual means of architectural design together with the information technology.

5. 5.The feeling of being homeless will become a common problem of people living in the society in the future, which can not be cured. The only method to relieve is to alternate between high-speed update and return-type renewal.

We deeply realize that, though we yearn for slow rhythm life style, slowness is only a kind of "return type update” seasoning in this era. The lasting slowness is impossible. As the living stage for people, buildings in cities should not appear as slowly seasoning a lot. Only high-speed renewal is the mainstream of architecture development.

Finally, we revisit the words of Andrea Branzi at the ending of our article with pleasure, who said that “The city is every 100 m a toilet.” But to us, “the city is to appear a toilet every 10 minutes.”


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