POLITICS AND POETICS
STEPHEN STEYN & PATRICIA THERON
The idea of the political has, as its root, a question about the organization of society: ‘how do we live together?’ The poetic, however, encapsulates the idea of making. If we combine these two ideas, we might ask ourselves ‘how do we make together?’ When, in 1977, Margaret Thatcher declared that ‘there is no such thing as society. There are men and women, and there are families’, she was echoing a common sentiment that has become an underlying assumption of much of our political thinking: that the ‘market’ is neutral and thus directly reflects the desires of individuals, and is therefore democratic. What this position ignores, however, is history and the trajectories of past visions. This year, in Unit 10, we will elaborate, articulate and represent the relationships between society and the individual through experiments ranging in scale from the global society to the Unit as a society. In the first semester, we will develop our intuition through studies of how we make and are made by poetry, literature, cinema and architecture. We will interrogate and refine this intuition through a number of briefs and social experiments in urban environments. The major project will involve the invention of a novel urban typology for Johannesburg, informed by a vision of a near future that answers the question: how do we make together?