Fabulous in-depth review of Junkspace/Running Room by Rem Koolhaas and Hal Foster written by Minneapolis-based columnist William Harris within Full Stop Magazine.
This title is one of the selection of NHE books now available in the US from New York Review Books.
Like Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, Koolhaas’s Junkspace attempts to describe its subject and inhabit its rhythms mimetically, to produce a literary junkspace that mirrors the shiny cluttered hell of the contemporary built world. Junkspace appears to be a concept, but it’s not, really; it’s more a slogan, one meant to umbrella over every bit of architecture thrown up, torn down, remodeled and distended since the Thatcher/Reagan years, and like its subject it resists concision and reaches for tentacle-like elaboration.
The essay is a “jeremiad,” as Foster notes, one full of angst and apocalypses, and alongside Koolhaas’s adumbration of contemporary nightmares is a funerary mourning for modernism, for an era of planning and function structured by the welfare state. Junkspace eclipsed planning or deformed it into something unrecognizable. After planning’s disappearance, space surrendered to consumerism.
Koolhaas takes the whole arsenal of contemporary solutions to the curb, including his own, both architectural and critical. Junkspace is the “fallout” of the modernism he once sought to revive, its “apotheosis, or meltdown.”
Sparks of insight flare out in short suggestive bursts. [on Running Room]