In a piece Immanuel Kant wrote in 1784 for a journal of the time, he responded to the question “What is Enlightenment?” (Was ist Aufklärung?), establishing that this should be the state in which men would emerge from immaturity: a coming-of-age defined by the courage to use one’s own understanding. But be careful, the freedom inherent to that power was conditioned. This emancipation was a path to a freedom of thought that would lead you also to manage a “candid criticism” and obedience: “But only the man who is himself enlightened, who is not afraid of shadows, and who commands at the same time a well-disciplined and numerous army as guarantor of public peace—only he can say what [the sovereign of] a free state cannot dare to say: ‘Argue as much as you like, and about what you like, but obey!’.” He concluded establishing that a reduced level of civic freedom would equal an expansion of a free spirit to the limits of its capacity. In a way, he was proposing a system that would secure the modern social contract, finding justifications in a capitalized Nature. Kant would also point out that not all men were yet capable of managing this so-called vocation of free thought and self-governance that would result in a state treating him as more than a machine… Of course, according to his time, he always referred only to men, not women, not people in general.
Now, embracing our playfulness, we want to declare that we, as a diverse collective, have arrived at a very complex middle-aged crisis! And what comes with that? Another kind of freedom of thought and a lot of very thrilling possible transformations. Questions, questions, and more questions. And a mantra repeatedly sounding at the back of our heads asking us: what for? This issue’s research started by posing and redirecting some of those questions, to understand
more of the way they affect our built environments and then, our everyday life. Should we develop new types and abilities? What are the bases to rebuild our cultures? Can our bodies change to adapt to new technologies? Our memories, fingers, and eyes are already becoming dystrophic. Can we really imagine life in another planet? Should we declare the great failure of all the systems we knew and start rethinking entirely everything again? Generating fictions should not be the only way to tolerate this change of state. Here, we bring you some different attempts to present and represent this mad and uneasy to synthesize world. We invited designers, philosophers, theorists, and architects to share their production, to reflect and defy comfortable manifestos. Our idealistic and grunge egos firmly believe that in difference resides richness, and that thinking together still has an invaluable transforming power.
All around me are familiar faces– Lyrics from Mad World, Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal, 1982
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it’s a very very
Mad world, mad world