Constant Nieuwenhuys: New Babylon, 1974 (photo)

80,00
photograph / slide
Den Haag, Netherlands
Haags Gemeetenmuseum
1974

Den Haag: Haags Gemeetenmuseum, 1974, 12,7×17,8 cm [full sheet]. Silver gelatine photo of Constant’s model of his New Babylon utopian project. Photographer unknown. Verso Haags Gemeetenmuseum information label pasted. * Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920-2005) was a Dutch artist and one of the founding members of the Situationist International formed in 1957. He is also known for…

In stock

Description

Den Haag: Haags Gemeetenmuseum, 1974, 12,7×17,8 cm [full sheet]. Silver gelatine photo of Constant’s model of his New Babylon utopian project. Photographer unknown. Verso Haags Gemeetenmuseum information label pasted.

*

Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920-2005) was a Dutch artist and one of the founding members of the Situationist International formed in 1957. He is also known for his utopian project, New Babylon, started in 1956 and on which he worked for nearly twenty years. Constant was one of the theoretical drivers behind the Situationists alongside Guy Debord (1931-1994) and it was a widening gulf between their two positions that eventually led Nieuwenhuys to leave the group in 1960. (…) The rift between Constant and Debord focused on the structuralist tendencies of the former; through his explorations of ‘unitary urbanism’, Constant focused not only on the atmosphere and social interactions of the Situationist city, but also on the actual production of the city as built space. The project New Babylon, is today considered an exemplary expression of the Situationists’ take on the city.

Designed around the abolition of work, New Babylon was a city based on total automation and the collective ownership of land. With no more work, citizens were free to move around, with, New Babylon inspired by a gypsy encampment and designed to facilitate such a nomadic lifestyle. Divided into a series of interconnected sectors, the city operated on a network of collective services and transportation. Through a large number of models, drawings and collages, Constant explored the various sectors, floating above the ground on stilts, interconnected with bridges and pathways; above and below traffic flowed whilst the inhabitants travelled the sectors by foot. Whilst the city’s physical reality was explored through drawings and maquettes, architecture itself was conceived as social relations in which Constant elaborated a critique of bourgeois, utilitarian society. The degree to which the details of the city had been worked out and Constant’s own discourse showed that he viewed this as a concrete proposal for a future city rather than just a polemical project.

New Babylon focused on the social construction of space with every aspect of the city controllable by its citizens in order that they could construct new atmospheres and situations within the given infrastructure. It was a dynamic environment that could easily be adapted and changed, allowing inhabitants to explore their creativity through play and interaction. (…)

Spatial Agency


condition: Fine