Pier Vittorio Aureli

Less is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism

“Less is more” goes
the modernist dictum. But is it? In an age when we are endlessly urged to do
“more with less”, can we still romanticise the pretensions of minimalism? For Pier Vittorio Aureli, the return of “austerity chic” is a perversion of what
ought to be a meaningful way of life. Charting the rise of asceticism in early
Christianity and its institutionalisation with the medieval monasteries, Aureli
examines how the basic unit of the reclusive life – the monk’s cell – becomes
the foundation of private property. And from there, he argues, it all starts to go wrong. By late capitalism, asceticism has been utterly aestheticised. It manifests itself as monasteries inspired by Calvin Klein stores, in the monkish
lifestyle of Steve Jobs and Apple’s aura of restraint. Amid all the hypocrisy,
it must still be possible to reprise the idea of “less” as a radical
alternative, as the first step to living the life examined.

45 printed pages
Original publication

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    Елизавета Яновскаяhas quoted6 years ago
    the most blatant was a piece written by the then architecture critic for the New York Times, Nicolai Ourousoff, significantly titled ‘It Was Fun Till the Money Ran Out’.
    Татьяна Гущинаhas quoted2 months ago
    And in an economic crisis, what capital’s austerity measures demand is that people do more with less: more work for less money, more creativity with less social security. In this context, the principle of ‘less is more’ runs the risk of becoming a cynical celebration of the ethos of austerity and budget cuts to social programmes.
    Nigar Valiyevahas quoted6 months ago
    Monastic life began in the deserts of Syria and Egypt, places that gave the early hermits a cultural tabula rasa where they could start again from scratch.

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