Imagine Freedom

November 24, 2012

hydra“Freedom pertains to the realm of actions, processes, and events that are not contained within, or predictable from, the present; it is that which emerges, surprises, and cannot be entirely anticipated in advance. It is not a state one is in or a quality that one has, but it resides in the activities one undertakes that transform oneself and (a part of) the world.” (Grosz 2010, p.152)

Freedom is traditionally understood in relation to the lack of freedom, that is a ‘freedom from’ an oppressive or unfair form of limitation. What if the concept was understood from a positive approach, a ‘freedom to’ and
capacity for action? Where can our imagination take us?

In architecture, the subject of sustainability (ecological as well as social and economical) seems to be discussed mainly from the point of view of our failures. The climate alert is ringing, urbanization accelerates, informal development is expanding, and the impacts on the world are constantly presented to us as alarming facts. How can architects interact with the changes positively? How can we use our capacity for action in a more imaginative way?




Elizabeth Grosz, ‘Feminism, Materialism, and Freedom’, in Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, eds, New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010.


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