Marketing Modernisms: The Architecture and Influence of Charles Reilly

Marketing Modernisms: The Architecture and Influence of Charles Reilly

Marketing Modernisms: The Architecture and Influence of Charles Reilly

Marketing Modernisms: The Architecture and Influence of Charles Reilly

Excerpt

It was Sir John Betjeman who noted that ‘History must not be written with bias, and both sides must be given, even if there is only one side.’ Betjeman's wry comment on the problems facing the writers of history in their quest for objectivity has become further complicated by recent developments in how history is identified and reported. The old emphasis on a sequential history of facts and figures has been replaced by a Postmodernist interpretation in which history is seen as a series of discontinuous and fragmentary ‘histories’. The Modernist view of historical analysis is founded upon ‘the establishment of a discrete break or cut between a past (the time about which the historian writes) and a present (the time of writing)’,1 and it becomes something which may be constantly retranscribed. Previous histories are therefore up for reinterpretation, and whereas in the past writers of architectural history have looked to a canon of architects and master works as a means of ciphering events, the Postmodernist view denies all such certainties. The logical conclusion to such a theory may mean that we arrive at a stage at which if, as Charles Jencks puts it, ‘meaning is not fixed once and for all it is therefore nonsensical or irrelevant (a reaction not unknown in the twentieth century), then we just remain uncomprehending.’ Jencks goes on to put forward a case for an interpretation of history in which alternative histories ‘point to a common centre of moral experience. This centre where meanings converge however, is not a place of mutual exclusion; no one set of meanings or myth is sufficient… or even final.’

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