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(A planned community is a pseudo-community, a nominally social space in which everyone is an obedient, well-oiled robot, a nominal human being programmed by instrumental reason. At least in public; in private the robot may come apart -- regress to a shabby humanity -- although the Bauhaus, like the feminists whose motto is "the private is the political," wanted to collapse the difference -- erase the boundary -- between the public and the private. This is partly why today the private eagerly becomes public, and why they are readily confused, as "reality television" and so-called social networking -- much of it seems anti-social -- show. They standardize the psychosocial just as the Bauhaus standardized art, each reducing content, be it human or esthetic, to a pro forma ritual.)
Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the developer of General System Theory, argued that the modern "crisis" was caused by the conflict between an open system organic model of human behavior and a closed system robot model of human behavior -- and by implication the lifeworld -- and in the Bauhaus the robot system has won the battle, at least on the battlefield of art. But technology was well on its way to conquering the lifeworld before it conquered art, suggesting that the Bauhaus was fitting art into technology rather than using technology to make art. The Bauhaus described itself as a "unity" of "art and technology," but I would say it confirmed technologyís triumph over art rather than artís triumphant appropriation of technology. The Bauhaus endorsed and adapted to technology, not vice versa.
And a not very sophisticated -- indeed, a rather skin-deep -- technology at that: the Bauhaus copied -- mimicked -- the streamlined, simplifying look associated with technological efficiency, stripping art down to its objective, "pure" essentials -- geometry and material taking pride of place among them -- thus desubjectifying it. They wanted the modernizing look of technology, not its substance, which is more complicated than they could imagine. Their esthetic fundamentalism can hardly be called technologically ingenious, unless one is ignorant enough to misconstrue their "de-regularizing" arrangements of the modules of the grid as brilliant engineering. It adds an air of quasi-flexibility and pseudo-intricacy to the otherwise rigid grid, deceiving us into believing that freedom, change and unlimited movement are possible within its unchanging structure, emblematic of inflexible authoritarian society ("friendly fascism?"). The gridís modules are like cells in a prison, and while the prisoners are allowed to exercise -- flex their muscles and move about restlessly, as though expressing themselves spontaneously -- in the prisonís yard, they remain confined within its claustrophobic boundaries and depressing sameness. The module is a cog in the grid machine, and the cog canít escape its "system."
This desubjectification of art -- correlate with its over-objectification -- is exactly where the Bauhaus and the Nazis make common cause. Both regarded Expressionism and Surrealism as "degenerate." Both sought to exterminate "low," "fuzzy," "surreal" subjective expression and replace it with "high-minded," "crisp," "real" objective art (pure, self-sufficient form not obscured by evocative decorative ornament for the Bauhaus) -- self-righteously "perfect" art bespeaking an industrial idealism. Both wanted to create ideal societies. Both were ruthlessly utopian and inbred -- the Bauhaus wanted an inbred art, the Nazis wanted an inbred society -- forms and Aryans incestuously breeding in eugenic pursuit of an imagined pure, perfectly formed breed of art and human being. Both expected technology to do the eugenic work, as though technology would guarantee the ideal and absolutely pure and was ideal and pure in itself. The Bauhaus ideal of pure, well-managed art and the Nazi ideal of pure, well-managed Aryan society were curiously correlate however ostensibly at odds. After all, the Nazis were great advocates of industrialism, and also had a totalitarian ideology. Just as the Bauhaus wanted a one-dimensional art -- totalized and stereotyped art as exclusively geometrical, with whatever pseudo-expressive variations bringing the geometry to quasi-life, like a robot going through the motions of dancing -- so the Nazis wanted a one-dimensional society, that is, a society in which there was only one kind of "authentic" human being.