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Creative Theory, Radical Example – Justice Koolhaas

16 Apr

CreativeTheorySmashwordsThis book offers dizzying and breakneck theories on subjects including digital identity, transhumanism, and blue-chip art celebrities. The introductions outline Koolhaas’s regrounding methodology, poetics, call for Theory Celebrities, and politics of infolution, along with comprehensive interpretations that allow students to choose material without feeling pressured to grasp everything at once.

The book is comprised of two introductions by the translator, six essays, and excerpts from an unfinished novel. The first introduction outlines Koolhaas’s technological foci, her regrounding methodology and poetics, the need for Theory Celebrities, a politics of infolution, her architecture for university reform, and the intransigent refusenikism that arguably contributed to her obscurity. The second introduction is a chapter-by-chapter commentary that guides the student through Koolhaas’s essays and literature:

‘Cybernetics: Nietzsche and Heidegger’
‘Studying Media: Baudrillard and Science Fiction’
‘Literature: Deleuze & Guattari, Kafka, and Joyce’
‘What’s So Wrong About Rant?’
‘Žižek and the Sex Between Emin and Hirst’
‘Methodological Considerations’
‘Nouveau Roman Excerpts: Caliphornia’
The Textual Connexivities chapter lists the works cited.

C. M. Cohen’s comprehensive interpretations mean that the uninitiated Koolhaas student can pick and mix material from this book to suit their purposes without feeling pressured to grasp everything at once.

Every so often, I trawl the internet looking to learn new things at no cost to my malnourished wallet.  Each year I wait in anticipation for what I term ‘student season’, where books are published for free on topics mostly unfamiliar to me and sound really impenetrable.  Why? you may ask, well as a reader I like to be challenged, to spend time reading around a subject and feeling like I have actually understood something new and in-depth by the end of it.
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I wouldn’t have picked up this book were it not for the non existent fee, as it isn’t usually something I’d feel comfortable with jumping into at such an advanced level but it does raise an interesting point about the university system and modern day technology.  With search engines taking out all of the effort and time out of finding texts, is it all becoming to easy for students?

Many students having part-time jobs and have that priority need to shoehorn in as much pub time as student loans allow, so the wealth of material on the internet could be seen as a blessing but is could also preclude original thinking which is precisely one of the key things we should be encouraging young people to do.

It is hard to avoid the feeling that everything is too easy these days but books cost money, something in short supply to most people but students especially.   I can relate as somebody who likes a beer and a read and doesn’t see the two as mutually exclusive, the disproportionate prices between each is definitely a factor in choosing free books as far as it goes when the going rate for such books are £30 at least.

The book itself is a look into the word of academia, of abstract theories coupled with contemporary references and a nice biographical introduction that is full of anecdotes.  Koolhaas’ obscurity is redressed in this book by bring forth some of the author’s complex and varied thoughts.  It will take me some time for me to fully grasp the complexities of the subject but it is a fascinating collection of studies and well worth a read even to the initiated due to it’s well written nature.  The manner in which it was written (and translated) is impressive in a market saturated by poor quality material.

I fear that books like this don’t encourage reading and learning or much as an easy an excuse to plagiarise and not think critically about things anymore.  According to Thesaurus.com a synonym of learning is research but I have my reservations on whether books like this are actually useful, there should be debate on whether books – this one being an example – spoon feeds its readers the information, or whether it’s just a little too pretentious and arcane.

Get the book gratis here

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34 Comments

Posted by on 16/04/2015 in Art, Essays, Languages, Philosophy

 

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34 responses to “Creative Theory, Radical Example – Justice Koolhaas

  1. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

    16/04/2015 at 19:25

    oh my…I won’t be reading this one Ste J 🙂 however, I’m happy there are those who can and will 🙂 I thought I was going to like “Flatland”…but I was seriously bogged down by the authors feelings about women. so what does this say about me…I thoroughly enjoyed a cute little video I saw about “Flatland” on YouTube. 😀 😀 😀

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    • Ste J

      16/04/2015 at 19:39

      Flatland is a book of its time, the author did a lot for women’s lib, he was showing how ludicrous the attitude was in those times. I will go check out this video you speak of.

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      • Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

        17/04/2015 at 20:55


        this is the Flatland Movie I watched 🙂

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        • Ste J

          19/04/2015 at 19:38

          I had no idea they had made a film of the book, I had a skip through and it seems close to the book from what I saw. I’m glad you enjoyed it, I love finding these surprises on YouTube.

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          • Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

            19/04/2015 at 21:13

            I was surprised to find it too…it probably helped me because my imagination doesn’t run so much to the “flat” “eeeeee, eeeeee, eeeeee” means watch out and let my skinny long self get in my skinny long garage 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

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  2. renxkyoko

    16/04/2015 at 19:28

    Here’s the thing….. I don’t think I can understand this book if you yourself cannot ” fully grasp its complexities.” , all of it written in just one book. lol I feel my brain’s gonna explode. Ha ha

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    • Ste J

      16/04/2015 at 19:35

      My reason for not fully understanding it was coming to it absolutely cold, there will be probably plenty of students who know what’s going in, it encourages me to learn more though.

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      • renxkyoko

        16/04/2015 at 19:41

        Was it an interesting read though ?

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        • Ste J

          16/04/2015 at 19:43

          It had it’s moments, there is a lot to consider in it and a lot of new works to seek out and read.

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  3. Tom Gething

    16/04/2015 at 19:44

    It always makes me wonder when half the terms used to describe a book’s theme are words I have never seen before. Either I have been hiding under a rock or there is something superficially trendy going on with the writer. Infolution? Refusenikism? Hmm…

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    • Ste J

      16/04/2015 at 19:51

      This web of seemingly impenetrable terms was one of the reasons I was interested in the book. The modern day world of words is perplexing, it pained me to see Google as a proper word in the OED and also the love heart symbol. So these new words were something else.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. Christy Birmingham

    16/04/2015 at 20:50

    Hehe I like that you have a diverse reading pallette. I love to learn and I just went from reading short stories to a physics book. Knowledge = power. Great post (again).

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    • Ste J

      17/04/2015 at 09:57

      Mixing up my genres keep the reading experience fresh for me, that and there is only so much romance a guy can stomach, lol. I like your leap, I wonder where you will end up next?

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  5. shadowoperator

    16/04/2015 at 20:57

    My first reaction to this book was “Say what?” Then, “say what?” again. I don’t really like reading heavyweight theory, but I do envy your ability to soldier through it. And if you think Google and the heart symbol are odd in the OED, have a look at theurbandictionary.com to find some really odd things!

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    • Ste J

      17/04/2015 at 10:01

      It was a bit bewildering to be introduced to so many new words. It was a challenge and I wonder how much of the language is insular to the universities or perhaps the subject? I am familiar with the urban dictionary, it is eye opening and allows me to keep up with the youth, which I believe has the ‘H’ silent these days.

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  6. Jill Weatherholt

    16/04/2015 at 22:34

    Kudos to you Ste J. The book cover alone is making me dizzy. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      17/04/2015 at 09:49

      Haha, I do love a challenge…and then a nap to balance things out.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. angela

    17/04/2015 at 03:43

    This is the type of book I add to the collection – skim here and there – and then wish I could just intuit the rest for educational value. Zizek fascinates me, but watch a youtube of him and I just about jump out of my skin with his OCD quirks – he is genius thou… props to you for diving in!

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    • Ste J

      17/04/2015 at 09:55

      This is a good book to dip into, we are of a mind in that we read to learn and inform ourselves. I have been meaning to have a day going through all the YouTube links I had amassed, I may start with Zizek now I know there are uploads on there which should have been obvious as the entire world is already on there.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Lyn

    17/04/2015 at 11:33

    intransigent refusenikism? I Googled it and it asked if I was searching for “transient refusniks”
    I’m with Jill – “the cover made me dizzy” and Shadowoperator – “say what?”
    Think I’ll be giving this one a miss. I have enough trouble keeping my brain intact as it is 😀

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    • Ste J

      17/04/2015 at 20:21

      But its free!! Haha, yeah it certainly contains a wealth of interesting words, I think one that’s definitely in the territory of the students.

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  9. LuAnn

    21/04/2015 at 17:27

    Not sure, being so far removed from student days, that I wouldn’t be struggling to keep my head above water on this one. I do like a challenge, however, so my put it on my list, although a bit farther down in the lineup.

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    • Ste J

      22/04/2015 at 10:09

      A challenge is always good, for the casual reader I think there are more fulfilling books with which to test yourself against.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  10. writersideup

    22/04/2015 at 03:42

    I have such mixed feelings about what students learn in college/university as far as the value of the education. This doesn’t sound too valuable *sigh*

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    • Ste J

      22/04/2015 at 10:00

      A lot of people have asked which uni I went to but I never went, I just read and combined that with a rather more moderate alcohol consumption. I see your point, I think there is a fine line between helpful and plain pretentious.

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      • writersideup

        22/04/2015 at 18:46

        Yes, and I also can’t stand that, in general, higher education tends to teach atheistic thinking (dependent on the courses), and being someone who firmly believes in God, I resent the way the power of educators can be used in this way. I don’t know if it’s the same in the UK, but it’s what I’ve observed here : /

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        • Ste J

          23/04/2015 at 13:09

          It seems strange a balance can’t be struck, to educate you need to have have all the ideas and debate them, I suppose that it is the same with certain US states banning talk on Evolution for example, having beliefs is not what the problem is, it’s the way young minds are not allowed to understand and debate these ideas in a fair way.

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  11. RoSy

    22/04/2015 at 04:18

    I think I’ll skip this one…LOL

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    • Ste J

      22/04/2015 at 09:58

      It is a book not to everybody’s taste, I enjoyed the fact it was free best of all.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. Jeff

    24/04/2015 at 14:52

    I also reviewed this book. It’s got me reading and reviewing some free non-fiction – some of it’s of a high standard now. I’m surprised at the fuss over a student text being hard to follow. Isn’t anyone reassured that study isn’t easy? I’m also surprised that nobody made a fuss instead over the book’s proposals for education. So we’re all happy then that the abolition of reading, writing and grades is a good thing? We live in strange times.

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    • Ste J

      25/04/2015 at 07:15

      That is the flip side to the argument of course and very well pointed out, the impenetrability of the terminology does seem to suggest that a higher level of understanding is needed to tackle such courses and with that, the need to drink one imagines is also more tempting! The education proposals were a little shall we say…a little left field, ironically not causing the debate that you would think it would, I”ll be sticking to my educational principles of pint and book though, it has served me well.

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      • Jeff

        26/04/2015 at 17:10

        I suppose that uni can be a training ground for being able to still get through a busy day when you’ve got a hangover!
        But seriously, I sense there’s a debate on the horizon about what tasks are relevant on degree courses. Few jobs need anyone to spend much time reading and writing. Should these tasks be cut down? Dispensed with? I like this bit:
        ““There is surely something intuitively logical about her idea that social media accounts should be submitted instead of essays? A collection of artefacts copied and pasted from the web can demonstrate considerable resourcefulness as well as creativity.”

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        • Ste J

          26/04/2015 at 18:49

          I learnt the hangover trick without lumbering myself with a huge debt, surely this is worth some sort of certificate?

          Maybe the education system needs to be radically changed in all areas, in order to cope with an ever changing world, copy and pasting would certainly leave a lot more time for the pub and probably quicker to mark so everybody’s a winner.

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