While the Pompidou Centre is paying homage to Le Corbusier, a group of historians and writers reminds us that his works were coloured throughout by his totalitarian and fascist views. First published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.
From Corbusier's Le Modulor 1.
At the same moment that the Pompidou Centre inaugurated its exhibition on Le Corbusier in April 2015, there appeared three books looking back to the architect’s fascist propensities. Startled as reality suddenly broke through, the organisers decided to refer the question to a conference that would be held in late 2016, as did indeed take place on 23-24 November of this year. However, certain authors very critical of Le Corbusier were not allowed to participate. And anyway, why organise a conference when we need only read the numerous writings of the author of La Ville radieuse to be struck by the constancy of his totalitarian intentions? The conference amounted to nothing more than a sham.
Petition translated by David Broder.
1936 Berlin Olympics. via Wikimedia Commons.
Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris are still battling it out to be ‘host city’ for the 2024 Olympic Games, due to be selected by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in September 2017. However, it is still possible that yet another city will withdraw from the contest, just like so many others that had earlier declared themselves candidates to welcome the Games. Such was the case of Boston (lack of popular support), Hamburg (in a referendum citizens voted against their city’s candidacy) and most recently Rome. Remembering that Italians are still paying the bill for the 1960 Games, Rome gave up on its candidacy for 2024 precisely so as to avoid ‘mortgaging the city’s future’. For some observers Donald Trump’s victory is bad news for Los Angeles. But maybe not. The IOC has shown in the past that sexist, racist and xenophobic statements do nothing to disturb its plans. On the contrary, organising the Games in the land ruled by a billionaire is the stuff of dreams for the members of the Olympics’ governing body; it might actually help the American city’s candidacy.
A slew of new releases on the life of the architect Le Corbusier have shone a light on his fascistic leanings and the apologists who still defend him. In this polemical piece, originally published in Le Monde, Marc Perelman, wonders why organisations like Le Corbusier Foundation and the Pompidou Centre, where a new retrospective of his work is exhibited, has failed to confront these facts.
An exhibition dedicated to Le Corbusier at the Musée des beaux-arts de Nantes in 2006
by Marc Perelman and Patrick Vassort
The places that are chosen to organise large sporting demonstrations make the mind boggle. In 2008 the Olympic Games were held in Beijing; in 2010, the football World Cup took place in South Africa, while this year’s Winter Olympics were held in Putin’s Russia (in Sochi) and the football World Cup will be staged in Brazil.
In 2016, the Olympics will take place in Rio, and the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively. Despite the obviously different political régimes in each of these countries, all of them have to bear the brunt of an ‘Olympicisation’ (as Baron de Coubertin put it) of the world, within the wider framework of a generalised ‘sportification’, which always means a sharp loss of democracy.
Published by à l’encontre, 21 June 2013
By Michel Caillat and Marc Perelman
Most analysts have been able to understand and explain the genesis of the mass demonstrations that have taken place in Brazil in recent weeks. It was the rise in public transport fares that unleashed the nationwide wave of struggle, affecting all the major cities which must play host to the matches of the upcoming 2014 football World Cup. From this followed a whole cascade of demands concerning health, education, opposition to privatisation, opposition to repression, and generally standing up for public services, all of which have been put into question by the government of Dilma Rousseff and her friends in the Workers’ Party (PT). The ‘ocean of roses’ on which Lula thought he could navigate has transformed into a vast mass of thorns.