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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Wolf and Tender Prey present … BRUTALISM DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT & EXPERIMENTAL DOMESTIC CELLS *

* (restored)

1.
Wolf presents … A Defense of Brutalism.

For some reason Brutalism gets a lot of hate, and since I happen to really love a large number of Brutalist buildings, and think that it was, is, a great architectural movement, I thought I’d give you a little tour of Brutalism’s mind, life, likes and dislikes, etc.

Brutalism doesn’t give a shit (much like the honey badger).

Brutalism knows you don’t like it. It doesn’t care.

Brutalism doesn’t fuck around.

Brutalism tells it like it is.

Brutalism doesn’t hide.

Brutalism doesn’t put on airs.

Brutalism doesn’t correct its elaborate hairdo with a delicate hand every ten seconds.

Brutalism doesn’t read Cosmo.

Brutalism doesn’t do bling. It doesn’t really do real gold either, although it would if it could afford it. Gold does not tarnish.

Brutalism doesn’t wear its grandfather’s brogues.

Brutalism knows the periodic table by heart.

Brutalism scratches its butt when it itches, regardless of who’s around.

Brutalism is refreshingly true to itself.

Brutalism shows you what it’s made of, just like that. “BLAM”.

Brutalism’s skin is too thick for the bad rep to hurt. Well, it’s not skin, it’s concrete.

Brutalism really has your best interests at heart.

Brutalism is proud, not arrogant.

Brutalism is heavy, not fat.

Brutalism erodes with style, and does not go for that chronophobic botox nonsense.

Brutalism does have a sense of humour.

Brutalism takes its duty with dedication.

Brutalism is not diplomatic, but not warmongering either.

Brutalism does what needs doing.

Brutalism will still stand there when you’re ash.

Brutalism is not smug, it’s self-assured.

Brutalism does not have nightmares.

Brutalism does not believe in fairies.

Brutalism has style, substance, and what goes in between.

Brutalism is what humans would be like if they knew they were gonna die tomorrow and cut the crap.

Brutalism is not totalitarian, it is totality.

Brutalism has no issues with its more graceful neighbours, it just doesn’t have time for that cocktail party on Friday.

Brutalism drives half a mile below the speed limit, and barely notices when you fishtail it.

Brutalism has read Sartre, it’s read Camus, it’s read Hegel and it’s also read Nietzsche. In fact, Brutalism has read everything. And processed it.

Brutalism is not trying to prove a point, it’s letting the point that it is prove itself to you.

Brutalism does not get into arguments in public transport, it stares at them with a smirk.

Brutalism is sometimes very gentle. With kittens, for instance.

Brutalism would go for colour if concrete came in cerulean blue, but it doesn’t, so grey will do just fine.

Brutalism plays with texture, shadows, angles, parallax. But it’s a serious game.

Brutalism’s favorite animal is the bear. Bet you saw that one coming huh? Good for you.

Yes, of course it likes elephants too. I mean come on.

Brutalism’s favourite dish is thai green curry. Bet that surprises you huh? Well, it is.

Brutalism’s favourite movie is Salker. Make of that what you will.

Brutalism doesn’t do drugs. It wants its brain sharp as a tack.

Brutalism doesn’t drink. It wants its reflexes sharp as a tack.

Brutalism likes doing funny faces and likes the fact that no-one even notices even more.

Brutalism likes the idea that if Shit comes to hit the Fan, it’ll fit right in that dystopian landscape.

Brutalism knows that if Shit never hits the Fan, it’ll still look good. You know, as a warning.

Brutalism had trouble fiding shoes in its size so it just goes barefoot now.

Brutalism used to hang out and drink tea with J.G Ballard. Sometimes with milk and sugar, sometimes black. It even tried a slice of lemon once. It was ok. Brutalism is not fussy.

Brutalism doesn’t think the truth should be concealed. Not because it would be Bad, but because, why bother?

Brutalism’s favourite word is Impervious. Brutalism’s favourite people are Impervious, too. It also very much likes Pragmatism, and Pragmatic people.

Brutalism is not responsible for the excesses perpetrated in its name. It is not responsible for the great ideas, either. It is base material, neutral.

Brutalism likes to remind people that the shortest trajectory from A to B a a straight line. We are mortal, and like is short – why lose time?

Brutalism does not put on a silly patronizing voice when it talks to children. Or anyone, for that matter. Brutalim assumes you know what the deal is. If it’s wrong, that’s your problem.

Brutalism has a dream…

Brutalism thinks there’s something weird about the way some people take pictures of every place they go with themselves in them, as if to prove something.

Brutalism never had anyone walled in alive. As it were.

Brutalism might be heavy-footed but its posture is impeccable.

Brutalism knows who killed JFK.

Brutalism once believed space could make the man, but is now content with the many-times proven axiom that space is neither made not making. It just is.

Brutalism knows how much everything costs and sees no point in driving a city bankrupt just to look pretty. Not that looking pretty is a goal it has much respect, let alone desire, for.

Brutalism knows a Building is a Building and a Forest is a Forest. Yeah, ok, so what, you say? Well… THINK, it says.

Brutalism likes pecan in its ice-cream. Well you never.

Brutalism is the kind of dude you want on your side in a fight. If you try and punch it, you’ll just break your hand.

For more technical, historically correct details, as well as YET MORE images, see:
Wiki, of course…
Architizer
Brutalismus
Fuck Yeah Brutalism! (HA!)

 

2.
Tender Prey presents… EXPERIMENTAL DOMESTIC CELLS

With a few exceptions (nos 5,8,9 and most notably no 1) these interiors only ever existed as prototypes conceived and built for architecture & design fairs or exhibitions. They are projections of possible interiors, without a concrete relation to an exterior, which is part of what appeals to me about them. All the images apart from 8 and 9 were scanned from the book ‘Model Apartments – Experimental Domestic Cells’ (Editorial Gustavo Gili, 1997)

 

2. Alan Wexler ‘Crate House’
New York, 1991

 

3. Joe Colombo ‘Total Furnishing Unit’
produced for the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, MOMA, New York, 1972

 

4. Gio Ponti ‘La Casa Adatta’
produced for Eurodomus 3 (Pilot exhibition of the modern house), Milan, 1970

 

5. Joe Colombo
Joe Colombo’s apartment, Milan 1969-70

 

6. Ettore Sottsas
produced for the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, MOMA, New York, 1972

 

7. Alison & Peter Smithson ‘The House of the Future’
produced for the Ideal Homes Exhibition, London, 1955-56

 

8. Sabina Lang & Daniel Baumann ‘Everland’
travelling one-room pod hotel, originally produced for the Swiss Expo 2002

 

9. Staffan Berglund ‘Villa Spies’
Toro, Sweden, 1969

 

10. Joe Colombo ‘Visiona 69 futurist habitat’
produced for the Interzum Salon, Cologne, 1969

 

11. Ugo La Pietra ‘The Telematic House’
produced for the 61st Milan International Trade Fair, 1983

 

12. Archigram ‘Living 1990’
produced for the Weekend Telegraph Exhibition, London, 1967

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Oh, yes, I remember your Sonbert piece appearing there. Everyone, Do you remember when the blog recently welcomed Mr. Ehrenstein and Bill Reed’s ‘Photo Ops’ into the world? Well, there’s a sequel/’greatly expanded’ version entitled ‘Son of Photo Ops’ that is newly in the world as we type/read. Get it here.Plus, the very same Mr. E directs anyone who wishes to a new documentary about Oliver Sacks that I think is a total freebie to watch, in fact. OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE, Directed by Ric Burns: https://vimeo.com/480819197, Password: kinolorber. So how about that? ** Sypha, My pleasure, and I hope to have the actual pleasure of listening later today. Ah, curious source for the image. Excellent repurposing move, man. I promise I will never go to Pittsburgh in the summer. Summer heat is my Satan. Oh, I do still like his piss paintings. ** _Black_Acrylic, It’s a goodie. Speaking of, I was transformed into a wildly gyrating teeter totter of a fella by your new episode, sir. I’d be sentient without you. Thank you! Well, then I will and do take your word for it. Glad it was fun. ** Wolf, Oh my god, I’m so flexible. You are ‘flow’ backwards, which is pretty damned cool. Maybe not as cool as being ‘sinned’ backwards, but who’s counting? So, remember the golden oldie up there? So good. Vegan pastries for you and Marc until further notice. ** Bill, Hi. Nah, I’m pretty accustomed to the current restrictiveness. Not that I have a lot to speak for, weekend-wise, as a result, but wtf. It’s a wonderful novel. And short! The S.D. Stewart is free?! Well, that’s sorted. In fact, it is now on my desktop and waiting for me. Thanks, Bill, you’re such a brain saver or enhancer or both or something. What’s on your plate? ** Damien Ark, Cool, very glad that worked out. I’m excited to do the blog’s part. Dude, take very good care of yourself and your health. Now’s not the time to fuck around with that stuff. And fuck your roommate. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff! Thanks, man. I was surprised by how many Warhols were online too, and I notice at least one of them was deleted before the weekend was out. I think the only film in the post I didn’t know already was the one that got deleted: ‘Soap Opera’, which I stupidly waited to watch until it was too late. I like ‘These Demented Lands’ a lot too. Yes, Warner’s books have become less and less exciting of late, sadly. The last novel of his that I thought was great was ‘The Sopranos’. Memory tells me it’s very worth reading. Oh, man, I’m so sorry to hear you guys are having to deal with those deaths. What a horrible time this is just kind of in every way. Though possibly brightening just slightly by the day, maybe. Yes, you remind me that I haven’t gotten the new Julien Calendar yet. I’ll do that today. Everyone, Mighty Jeff Jackson’s band Julien Calendar has a new and 4th EP just out, ‘Crimson Static #4’, and you can hear and score it both by pressing down lightly on this word. And you should, if you ask me. I’m doing all right. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had stellar news about our new film that I can’t lay out quite yet but which all but assures we’ll get to make it, so we are diving into thinking/working on the preliminaries and very relieved and happy. The premiere of Gisele’s Walser play got cancelled/delayed due to you-know-what. Macron gives a big COVID-related announcement, I think tonight, and maybe she’ll know when the premiere will end up happening after that. She says the early response has been good. I last saw it in its rehearsal state a couple of weeks ago, but not since. All else? Pretty okay. I hope everything improves instantly for you and yours. ** Steve Erickson, The film is interesting, but the novel its really, really something. Good luck with the ophthalmologist, or I guess good luck getting through today if I’m right that your appointment is tomorrow. (I’m never sure whether the time stamp on the comments is dated your time or mine.) ** Okay. I’ve restored a wondrous post from the blog’s storied past for you today made by the extraordinary d.l.s Wolf and Tender Prey. Enjoy the hell out of it, and I will see you tomorrow.


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15 Comments

  1. Yo Dennis. That’s some wild brutalism, so much concrete. There is a building like that in mtl that was made to house ppl during the olympics or expo. Some event that happened long before I was alive.
    In my carpentry course for the last month we have been doing form work. We make forms out of plywood that would then be filled with concrete. The forms would removed after the concrete dries. There would be a lot of form work in that brutalist architecture.
    Next we do walls and flooring. It is an introductory course where we do a little of everything. I will work as a carpenter when I finish in June.
    Cheers – ian

  2. What a charming love letter to Brutalizm:)
    Can I just say,in my eyes it works best,the japbenese way- when the exterior is completely different from a suprising interior design .

  3. M.C.Escher Meets Frank Lloyd Wright. Merci Messieurs. Beautiful and forbidding at the same time. Suggestive ofthe”futuristic” dwellings in “Creation of the Humanoids”

  4. Brutalism is indeed a wonderful thing. I always found the Matthew Building at Dundee’s art college to be a classic.

  5. Dennis, haha oh shit here we go. Seriously, was there ever a time in (my) living memory where brutalism needed defending or was I hallucinating? Or maybe it’s just that I wasn’t living in hipsterville yet.
    Man you are teasing us with the super news re: the movie that you can’t share! Tell us tell us! Well, ok, you can’t. But what CAN you tell? …. * sound of popcorn being rummaged in paper bucket *
    Thanks for the vegan pastries, dude. I have to say that for all the current vegan trendiness there’s a dearth of really tasty and satisfying pastries out there. But I’m making a note in my “calendar of the future” (read: list of stuff I’m planning to plan when planning becomes a thing again) to look up some Paris places and take you along on a consume-and-compare trip.

  6. Ah, one of my favorite architectural styles, though sadly not many examples of it where I live (the closest that Providence has is the Sciences Library at Brown University). One Brutalism example I’ve always liked was the old Chernobyl sarcophagus. A book I have on the subject of Chernobyl described it as “a new pinnacle of Soviet gigantomania,” a “cathedral of brutalism in concrete and steel,” and “a terrible edifice of black angles, still and ominous, which perfectly expressed its purpose, like a medieval fantasy of a prison to hold Satan himself.”

    Warhol’s piss paintings got a brief mention in the Steve Finbow book put out by Amphetamine Sulphate recently.

  7. Wolf and Tender Prey – Thoroughly enjoyed your Brutalism day. So many eye-popping visuals. Somehow very soothing to contemplate, too.

    Dennis – Thanks for the shout-out about the Julian Calendar EP. Hope you enjoy it. Curious if any particular songs hit you?

    I’ve made about note about Alan Warner’s ‘The Sopranos.’ Congrats about the film – that’s fantastic news. And hope the Walser play is able to premiere soon. Was it in good shape when you saw it a few weeks back?

    Thanks about the deaths. It’s been a rough few weeks.

  8. Brutalism makes my day! The architecture that soothes my blackened husk of a heart.

  9. lovelyLovely brutalism.. britains greatest gift 2 architectures array! oh Wolf.. fairies believe in brutalism even if their faith is unrequited.. especially when etching enochian graffiti & sigils into the beams used as forms.. poking fun or unseelie abuse at the oafish apes that neglect the tableau fail the brail.
    apparently there’re arguments on whether it is brutalist or not but the NT in the southbank centre was used by the south london ‘Richardson’ gang to vanish at least two bodies in its formwork.. one on the north side of the royal festival hall the other along the east wall (“as a warning & to keep the stench away”). supposedly you can see fingers sticking out belonging to the downriver corpse.. but i doubt that would have passed inspection! so which is your favourite brutalist structure?
    //
    Tender it’s funny how these designs all insist on a television but mostly remain void of telephones.. seemingly they believed in the future but not british telecoms installation waiting list. One time Missy & i stayed in a dilapidated english bedAndBreakfast.. full on 70’s decor and by the looks of it the original carpet.. and there.. squeezed under the stairs was a shiny white pod that housed the en-suite facilities.. needless to say the shower became blocked.. over ran and we flooded the room. genius!
    //
    Dennis! i’ve had a fantastic couple of days catching up on your wonderful blog and inevitably spinning off into weird and wonderful worlds so thank you very much for that X.
    it sounds like paris is much like london in that limitations of movement are not really being taken seriously this time round.. with ‘families’ of ten or more often seen together in parks along with most restaurants turning into takeaway joints overnight it seems pretty much every kind of shop possible has designated itself a click & collect establishment including sports gear emporiums.. florists even the wonderful £1 bazaars.
    obviously the incompetence & thievery of this government is a major factor in attitude.. it’s just a shame people were prevented from public gatherings on the eve of the gunpowder plot celebrations.. as the likely fireworks would have meant no palace of westminster to return to. oh well maybe next time.

  10. umm.. hoping i’m not spamming but i’m having trouble get a comment to stick
    anyway let’s see..

    lovelyLovely brutalism.. britains greatest gift 2 architectures array! oh Wolf.. fairies believe in brutalism even if their faith is unrequited.. especially when etching enochian graffiti & sigils into the beams used as forms.. poking fun or unseelie abuse at the oafish apes that neglect the tableau fail the brail.
    apparently there’re arguments on whether it is brutalist or not but the NT in the southbank centre was used by the south london ‘Richardson’ gang to vanish at least two bodies in its formwork.. one on the north side of the royal festival hall the other along the east wall (“as a warning & to keep the stench away”). supposedly you can see fingers sticking out belonging to the downriver corpse.. but i doubt that would have passed inspection! so which is your favourite brutalist structure?
    //
    Tender it’s funny how these designs all insist on a television but mostly remain void of telephones.. seemingly they believed in the future but not british telecoms installation waiting list. One time Missy & i stayed in a dilapidated english bedAndBreakfast.. full on 70’s decor and by the looks of it the original carpet.. and there.. squeezed under the stairs was a shiny white pod that housed the en-suite facilities.. needless to say the shower became blocked.. over ran and we flooded the room. genius!
    //
    Dennis! i’ve had a fantastic couple of days catching up on your wonderful blog and inevitably spinning off into weird and wonderful worlds so thank you very much for that X.
    it sounds like paris is much like london in that limitations of movement are not really being taken seriously this time round.. with ‘families’ of ten or more often seen together in parks along with most restaurants turning into takeaway joints overnight it seems pretty much every kind of shop possible has designated itself a click & collect establishment including sports gear emporiums.. florists even the wonderful £1 bazaars.
    obviously the incompetence & thievery of this government is a major factor in attitude.. it’s just a shame people were prevented from public gatherings on the eve of the gunpowder plot celebrations.. as the likely fireworks would have meant no palace of westminster to return to. oh well maybe next time.

  11. problems get a comment to stick )it says there are 3 comments & i can’t even see them.. Meize was having this problem too.. i used to but it seemed to sort itself
    anyway just hope i’m not spamming.. last try..

    lovelyLovely brutalism.. britains greatest gift 2 architectures array! oh Wolf.. fairies believe in brutalism even if their faith is unrequited.. especially when etching enochian graffiti & sigils into the beams used as forms.. poking fun or unseelie abuse at the oafish apes that neglect the tableau fail the brail.
    apparently there’re arguments on whether it is brutalist or not but the NT in the southbank centre was used by the south london ‘Richardson’ gang to vanish at least two bodies in its formwork.. one on the north side of the royal festival hall the other along the east wall (“as a warning & to keep the stench away”). supposedly you can see fingers sticking out belonging to the downriver corpse.. but i doubt that would have passed inspection! so which is your favourite brutalist structure?
    //
    Tender it’s funny how these designs all insist on a television but mostly remain void of telephones.. seemingly they believed in the future but not british telecoms installation waiting list. One time Missy & i stayed in a dilapidated english bedAndBreakfast.. full on 70’s decor and by the looks of it the original carpet.. and there.. squeezed under the stairs was a shiny white pod that housed the en-suite facilities.. needless to say the shower became blocked.. over ran and we flooded the room. genius!
    //
    Dennis! i’ve had a fantastic couple of days catching up on your wonderful blog and inevitably spinning off into weird and wonderful worlds so thank you very much for that X.
    it sounds like paris is much like london in that limitations of movement are not really being taken seriously this time round.. with ‘families’ of ten or more often seen together in parks along with most restaurants turning into takeaway joints overnight it seems pretty much every kind of shop possible has designated itself a click & collect establishment including sports gear emporiums.. florists even the wonderful £1 bazaars.
    obviously the incompetence & thievery of this government is a major factor in attitude.. it’s just a shame people were prevented from public gatherings on the eve of the gunpowder plot celebrations.. as the likely fireworks would have meant no palace of westminster to return to. oh well maybe next time.

  12. Good to see this golden oldie again! A few years ago I was in Daejeon (South Korea) for work. The whole campus was just monumental brutalist buildings.

    Look forward to hearing more about Gisele’s Walser play. Not much exciting to report here; my nights have been somewhat entertained with mediocre horror movies.

    Bill

  13. These look like David Cronenberg’s photos for the exterior location of CRASH 2 (or many of his films)!

    I didn’t get to see the doctor due to an insurance mixup. It was later sorted out, and I will be going back in early January.

    Here are my reviews of Coil’s MUSICK TO PLAY IN THE DARK: https://www.gaycitynews.com/coil-sacred-psychedelic-and-very-disciplined/ (the reissue comes out Friday) and STARDUST: https://www.nashvillescene.com/arts-culture/film/article/21144610/bowie-biopic-stardust-is-a-shallow-effort

    I’m so glad I don’t have to write a Grammys think piece today.

  14. DENNIS – hey! And thanks for dusting this off and it a second outing… I had completely forgotten Wolf’s sublime tour de force of a commentary and that was a joy to revisit.
    Miss you!
    Marc x

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