The Cyberflâneur #6 : Rem Koolhaas

The Syllabus is not just about finding overlooked but important items that get lost in the cacophonous calamity that is today’s social media, with its overdose of updates, dark patterns, and listicles. We also seek to recreate the original excitement, the weirdness, the serendipity that were once associated with Web surfing.  

Could there be more to the online experience than the uncurable addiction to scrolling and pressing “refresh”, all to get a quick shot of info junk on Facebook or Twitter? Can we escape our involuntary confinement in the digital casinos of platform capitalistm and get to stroll through the exciting intellectual terrains of the unlisted, the unindexed, and the unshared?

We think so. Hence our “Cyberflâneur” series (yes, we do like strange foreign words – we are also currently at work on a “Wunderkammer”). This week, we are lucky to feature the architect Rem Koolhaas, a cyberflâneur par excellence.

As with all our guests, we worked with Rem to identify the themes that he is currently interested in, trawling our extensive archives for any related items. Rem then chose those he liked or found important and provided some brief commentary on his selections. They follow below.

Do not forget to check a remarkable cast of our earlier cberflâneurs: Brian Eno, Hito Steyerl, Adam Tooze, Rana Foroohar, Samuel Moyn…

~Evgeny Morozov


RK: Caught in a trap between real government and muddle-headed techno thinking the smart city represents a terminal point for the discourse on the city.

Technology as Ideology in Urban Governance

Toward a Bright Future: Politics of Potential in a Ugandan Village

Urban Cinematics and the Revenge of Place

Who’s Responsible for the Smart City? Sidewalk Labs’ Proposal Poses Regulation Challenges


RK: After searching for intellectual ways to “resist”, we are suddenly confronted with evidence of very efficient resistance – yellow vests/tractors that are coming from a – for “us” – unexpected side? Do we align or resist resistance?

Macron Versus the Yellow Vests


RK: There are many reasons to look at the “performance” of the Soviet Union again, and to ask to what extent “we” have been blinded by propaganda.

Driving in Terrain: Automobility, Modernity, and the Politics of Statelessness in Russia


RK: The effects of the World Heritage system – ironically one of the drivers of tourism and even development – remain almost completely unexplored.

The Study of the Principles and Methods of Architectural Design in the Protected Context of Meymand Historic Village

Design Activism in an Indonesian Village

RK: The “village” is being rediscovered… as a quasi mini city?

Life Between the City and the Village: Comparative Analysis of Service Access in Indian Urban Slums

Village Regeneration Through Cultural Creativity. Polish Case Study


RK: [No comment]

From Geddes’ City Museum to Farrell’s Urban Room: Past, Present, and Future at the Newcastle City Futures Exhibition

When Architecture Meets Activism: the Transformative Experience of Hank Williams Village in the Windy City

Changing Landscapes, Livelihoods and Village Welfare in the Context of Oil Palm Development


RK: The potential of the rural has been largely overlooked – will it benefit from being rediscovered?

Why Migrant Workers in China Continue to Build Large Houses in Home Villages: A Case Study of a Migrant-Sending Village in Anhui

Rural Digital Geographies and New Landscapes of Social Resilience


RK: Stumped? I love it…

Even the World’s Most Advanced Cities Aren’t Ready for the Disruptions of Artificial Intelligence


RK: Whether we like it or not, we all depend on what happens in China.

From Smart City to Smart Society: China’s Journey Towards Essential Urban-Rural Transformation


RK: We need to know more.

China’s Countryside ‘Returning to Poverty’ as Lack of Reforms Help Fuel Urban-Rural Divide


RK: Deeply intriguing – deep down we’re all esthetes…

Critical Data Aesthetics: towards a Critically Reflexive Practice of Data Aestheticisation

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