Monu / 33
Quarantines and Paranoia
The magazine sets the tone at the beginning with Beatriz Colomina's interview by Bernd Upmeyer. The interviewee's knowledge of not just the history of architecture, but also the architects, made this a perfect opener. Beatriz also presented us with an understanding of various human struggles of our times and how they relate to the space around us. While, in "Lockdown London: Tale of the Tape", the photographer Peter Dench brought us a haunting, cold, and dystopian view of London during the lockdown, Nadia Shira Cohen's view of Rome in "Eternal Silence" is more endearing, heart-warming, and gives us hope in the strength and survival of humanity during the times of crisis. On micro issues, "On Constructing a Semana Santa" (Anna Morcillo Pallares), "Balco(n)vid-19: How the Pandemic Can Be Hacked" (Michaela Litsardaki), and "New Top City" (Eventually Made), gave us interesting insights into how, during the lockdown, in various cities, our pre-existing spaces were used in unconventional ways. The nature of intrinsic human creativity while interacting with spaces was further explained in "Augmented Domesticities - The Rise of Non-Typological Architecture" (Pedro Pitarch) and discussed as a catalyst for a new post-Covid-19 mix-typological space design. In "Here Not There Urbanism" Jessica Bridger explained how contemporary technology helps us creating a sense of global space over the local space, and how it frees us to create a rather fluid lifestyle based on physical mobility while being connected globally.Dalia Munenzon and Yair Titelboim explained the historical relationship between indoor air-treatment and public health in their article. This idea was further explored at city level in the article by Ian Nazareth, Conrad Hamann, and Rosemary Heyworth, where they explained how the cities have always been associated with sickness and epidemics. A practical confirmation of the theory from this can be seen in the research piece by Carmelo Ignaccolo and Ayan Meer on tourism in Italy, where one sees how the pandemic pushed the tourists and people outside of the main tourist spots, and the city. And even though the tourism affects the local housing market adversely for the residents, the empty rooms of the pandemic-hit cities could not be filled with the locals, who are still shifting out. The interview with Richard Sennett was one of my favourite pieces from the edition, where the deep knowledge of the interviewee in the field of public health and its impact on the cities, historically, can be read in the most pragmatic way. However, the most realistic and practical piece was "Drivers of Change for the "New" in the "Normal"" by Alexander Jachnow, where the author presents us a much needed and healthy scepticism of many ideas presented in the magazine itself, while summing up the major Covid-19-related urban issues well. Kuba Snopek's eye opening piece of urban art was another honest and practical look at the condition of people and art. I found some pieces to be too poetic, wordy, impractical, and focussing on the wrong issues while the fascist states and bourgeois forces are ruthlessly viewing the current crisis as an opportunity to reap the last bits of benefit out of the people through oppression and corporate brute. When people are torn apart between health and financial crisis, it is unforgivable for the theoreticians to engage in intellectual gymnastics. On the other hand, some authors presented us with mundane, run of the mill, and predictable pieces, and they may not count themselves as any superior than the former for the sake of their virtue signalling.
MONU (Magazine on urbanism) is an English-language, biannual magazine on urbanism that focuses on the city in a broad sense, including its politics, economy, geography, ecology, its social aspects, as well as its physical structure and architecture. Therefore, architecture is one of many fields covered by the magazine - fields which are all brought together under the catch-all term “urbanism”.