Asked about the success of the Studio 54, Andy Warhol once stated: “It’s a dictatorship at the door and a democracy on the dance floor,” alluding to the infamous velvet rope set up in front of the New York night club’s entrance and the illustrious crowd frequenting its floors. To call the legendary disco’s hedonistic practices democratic mostly testifies to the artist’s ignorance of democracy, but on the other hand: doesn’t Warhol’s apercu also apply to the enlightened hedonism of today’s largest creative space in the world, the Facebook Campus in Menlo Park? True to its motto ‘Work Game Party,’ the elite of the digital age—an organic community operating largely secluded from the rest of the world behind the hard door that is the blue thumb—brings its “whole self to work” in this “bohemian factory,” as U.S. journalist and Stanford professor Fred Turner befittingly put it. In an increasingly insecure working world, the Facebook employees are able to forge their talents into wholesome personalities from a multitude of options, which proves incredibly helpful both for their private lives and for the company. [1] This, in return, Turner concluded at the end of his 2017 keynote lecture at From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley [2], were the very elements and goals of the Bauhaus preliminary courses—albeit the ecosystem of ‘likeocracy’ [3] is governed by a technocratic policy of commonality sans any social(ist) Bauhaus ambitions.

Turner had visited the Facebook headquarters at the Californian campus for a research project and was particularly baffled by a poster wall in the entrance featuring the aesthetics and slogans of past and current civil rights and protest movements. [4] Before entering the building, he was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement on a tablet—an analogy to the red velvet rope, and a standard practice in all Silicon Valley firms today. At the top of the digital document it read: ‘be open.’ [5]


“We want to create this very open and transparent culture in our company where everyone can see what everyone else is working on [...] which [again] enables us to do our best work,” Mark Zuckerberg explained Facebook’s business concept during a more or less public tour of the headquarters on YouTube [6]— namely ‘discipline and connect,’ to put it with the slightly modified title of Michel Foucault’s famous work on the birth of modern prison, even if in this case discipline and control do not go hand in hand with punishment; instead, the collected data are to be capitalized on at a later point in time. The commercial exploitation of social relationships and the feedback loops generated by a creative self producing ‘bottom- up’ messages such as ‘be bold,’ ‘we shall overcome,’ images of the Whole Earth Catalog or posters of famous union leaders at first glance appear as the paranoid excesses of postindustrial aesthetic capitalism marketing protest as a lifestyle. [7]


The tech companies’ headquarters along the U.S. West Coast and their European offshoots certainly can be considered the system’s logical extension of the world’s inner space of capital, first symbolized most likely by British architect Joseph Paxton’s London Crystal Palace in 1851. A modular construction composed of glass and iron, which could be extended indefinitely, the giant building presented the “capitalist excess[es]” [8] of the time, according to Peter Solterdijk, “not [as] an agora or a trade fair beneath the open sky, but rather a hothouse that has drawn inwards everything that was once on the outside.” [9] The barrel-shaped dome on top of the main building, with several tall elm trees at its center, was enclosed by two semicircular rosettes whose weight-bearing structure Paxton, a former member of the Royal Horticultural Society and landscape-gardener to the Duke of Devonshire, had copied from the Giant Water Lily native to the Amazon river. The biophilic Amazon Spheres in return seem to follow this line of tradition in a more differenced version of Sloterdijk’s glass spherology of the world’s inner space of capital. Conceived as a green house for the 21st century’s tech elite, the three giant glass buildings, interconnecting like mulberries, with biomorphic modular steel frames strikingly resembling the Great Water Lily’s nervures, are home to tens of thousands of plant and tree species from all over the world, and have been serving a part of the Amazon staff at the Seattle headquarters as an innovative work space since early 2018. The domes were designed by NBBJ, a global architecture, planning, and design firm promoting itself as “Most Innovative Architecture Firm 2018” on its website and a driver of innovation “by creating highly productive, sustainable spaces that free people to live, work, and play.” [10] Having enjoyed enough lessons in Facebook culture since designing the Facebook HQ MPK 20 Frank Gehry felt sufficiently geared up to finally create an architectural structure adequate to its culture, the extension building MPK 21, which opened in 2018. [11] As to be expected, this extension, too, is defined by transparency and open spaces as well as greenery galore.


The architect Clive Wilkinson is considered the pioneer and father of radical office spaces. In 1998 he instigated a paradigm shift with his design of international advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day’s headquarters in Los Angeles. Originally, Wilkinson had aspired to become a writer after graduating from high school. Because his parents couldn’t afford the tuition fees at Cambridge, he ended up at the same architecture school as his sister in Cape Town. Particularly the preliminary course there was heavily influenced by early Bauhaus pedagogy and informed Wilkinson’s experimental style. Following his studies in London with Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, he briefly worked for Frank Gehry’s studio before making a name for himself with the transformation of a former warehouse into an ‘advertising city’ or ‘creative village’ of sorts, including open office spaces, basketball courts, a ‘central park,’ and a ‘main street.’ The curvy and dynamic design of the entrance seems an atavism from his time with Gehry; Wilkinson’s radical approach has probably turned into a paragon for Gehry, the star architect, since. ‘Be open and stay connected,’ Facebook’s motto, also applies for Wilkinson’s designs, given that in his mind traditional office concepts with individual rooms are the worst that can happen to a creative community, comparable to prison cells or the cages on a poultry farm. [12]


It has indeed been frequently noted that the grid, the block and the famous white cell share a likeness with prisons, even torture. [13] The grid as a leitmotiv of modern Disciplinary Society can already be found in early progressive education. In Friedrich Fröbel’s system of ‘occupations,’ which next to folksongs chiefly consists of a set of ‘gifts,’ it plays an important part. By arranging wooden building blocks on the gridded ‘Fröbel table,’ the young are intended to enjoy a playful introduction to nature’s crystalline beauty. Social order then is nothing more than a copy of this microstructure of natural order. Roberto Benigni’s 1997 tragicomedy Life is Beautiful, on the other hand, drastically proved that even concentration camps can become things of play. In the second part of the film, Jewish comedian Guido—Roberto Benigni—and his son Giosuè are deported to a concentration camp. To distract his son from their plight, the father pretends they are playing a complicated game, with a real tank as the grand prize, if all rules are followed to the end. Before being shot himself, the hero manages to hide his son from the henchmen. When he sees the tanks at the liberation of the concentration camp, Giosuè is convinced that his prize has arrived. The film ends with the prophetic words “We won the game.”


Doesn’t what Foucault notes in The History of Sexuality with respect to sexual liberation also apply for the deployment of creativity? “The irony of this deployment [of sexuality] is in having us believe that our ‘liberation’ is in the balance”. [14] Due to some kind of inherent logic, the desired transformation of living environments and individuals seems to reverse into its opposite every time. A fact that is particularly painful when it comes to ideals of creativity aspiring to induce emancipation and social transformation, as in the cases of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar or the counterculture of the 1960s. In The Invention of Creativity, Andreas Reckwitz aptly described how counterculture practices transform into cultural hegemony. His chapters dedicated to ‘aesthetic economy’ and ‘affective capitalism’ argue that the actual achievement of the youth and countercultures in the 1960s—despite their originally critical stance towards consumerism—is grounded in the fact that, in a second phase of sorts, they enriched the ‘creative revolution’ with “post-materialist orientations,” and thus created a generalizable and authentic

creative space for images and texts claiming originality. [15] 


This logic seems closely linked with the “translation of formerly solemn creative activity into mundane manipulations of materials and signs by the members of a global design civilization” for the sake of the seemingly boundless enhancement of technological and political power and the “perpetual intensification of life,” to put it with Peter Sloterdijk. [16] In her “Notes on ‘Camp’” (1964) and her essay “Fascinating Fascism” (1974), Susan Sontag anticipated the ‘betrayal’ of experiences and the dangerous potentials of avant-garde qualities upon their massification. [17] Pier Paolo Pasolini addressed these issues even more explicitly in his lucid analysis of Hippie Modernism’s totalitarian elements, “Against Long Hair,” in 1973. Perhaps the most radical critic of norms and the bourgeois accumulation of moments of happiness [18] in the 20th century, Pasolini bluntly stated that he hadn’t liked this ‘ars rhetorica of protest’ from the getgo. Only the fact that some members of the New York avant-garde, such as the Living Theatre and the Beatniks, also had long hair, could appease him at least for a little while. [19] Twenty years later, Pasolini would probably have expressed similar unease about the World Wide Web and the digital revolution as drivers of social change. Up to the early 1960s, computer technology had been a tool of the military-industrial complex and considered a sign of inexorable bureaucratization. Digital utopianism emerged as an ideological alternative to political activism, which the majority of the U.S. counterculture had lost faith in early on. At the movement’s climax, the 1967 ‘Summer of Love’ in San Francisco, numerous hippies left the cultural centers to found thousands of rural communities and to colonize the new social frontier. This form of tribalization—for which the grounds had been prepared by the artistic bohème and avantgarde circles in New York and San Francisco—also spread within the metropolises, and the enthusiastic attitude towards LSD, cybernetics, and information technology became an inherent part of counterculture. The nexuses can only be outlined roughly here—in his book From Counterculture to Cyberculture [20], Fred Turner provided a comprehensive analysis of these events.


One of the most illustrious characters on the threshold to cyberculture was Stewart Brand. Brand was familiar with the establishment, had studied at Stanford, joined the army for a short while, and considered a career as a ranger. Via New York artist collective USCO he became acquainted with the advanced art forms of happening and multimedia performance as well as their leading representatives John Cage, Allan Kaprow, and Robert Rauschenberg. The group was also enthralled with the technocentric visions of Norbert Wiener, Marshall McLuhan, and Richard Buckminster Fuller who considered information technology key for social transformation. Brand was a member of the Merry Pranksters in Menlo Park in the mid 1960s, the collective around writer Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and toured the U.S. with them to organize LSD happenings all over the country. Meanwhile, the blue print for the new

communes, of which tens of thousands continued to exist well into the 1970s, had been provided by Drop City. Much like USCO, Drop City was originally an artists’ community, founded by four people, Richard Kallweit and Clark Richert among them. Located on a piece of land near Trinidad, Colorado, the group wanted to experiment with new forms of living beyond capitalist consumer culture. Colorful new types of dwellings were constructed out of consumer waste, cartop domes, covered by the metal roofs of wrecked vehicles, whose ‘polyhyderal’ structure the group modeled after Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. [21] With his notion of the comprehensive designer, the visionary architect had provided the settlers with a perfect role model. The earth was metaphorically transformed into a space ship, a gigantic information system that could only be operated with extensive knowledge of various intellectual disciplines. The comprehensive designer, an artist and information technology mechanic, understood how to make use of all this knowledge and more importantly to wisely translate technological achievements into tools for human happiness. [22]

In Menlo Park, Stewart Brand conceived the idea to supply the new communes with information his wife  

This plan resulted in the Whole Earth Catalog, for the first cover of which Brand selected a photograph of Earth taken from space. The initial issue resembled a great tool box, promoting, amongst others, Fuller’s ideas and Norbert Wiener’s information theory and cybernetics. In the hands of the new communalists, the military-industrial complex’s technocracy, most of all computer technology, became instruments for individual and social transformation. The catalog also turned into somewhat of a Bible for computer engineers in Menlo Park and the greater San Francisco Bay Area, “Google in paperback form,” as Steve Jobs called it during a speech to college graduates in Stanford in 2005. [23] The spirit of this communal utopia was still tangible in the eponymous Apple ad of 1984. The dystopian clip, developed by Ridley Scott in collaboration with advertising agency TBWA, featured a female hammer thrower smashing ‘Big Brother’s’ overbearing telescreen, announcing the emancipatory impetus of the new Apple Macintosh (Personal Computer), to ensure “1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’” [24] Traces of these visions of an open and transparent cyberculture can be found to this day in the corporate philosophies and personnel structures of Google, Facebook, and Amazon, to name just a few, and it is the irony of history that the exact absence of state control, that was celebrated as a liberation and expansion of consciousness forty years ago, has helped erect a technological panopticon of glass cells. To put it with Hannah Arendt: not the one hierarchically communicating to the many is totalitarian, but the multiple relationships of power are [25]—and thus are openness, transparency, and the imperative to ‘stay connected.’


Is this then a violent appropriation of creativity, rape even, as suggested in an exhibition title by artist duo Jake & Dinos Chapman? [26] Or was the ‘hippie fascism’ that Fred Turner observed particularly in Facebook’s corporate culture simply inherent to the protest movements of the 1970s, just as the totalitarian aspect was to the Bauhaus culture of play, both a logical consequence of the dialectics of modernism? To explore these kinds of connections more closely, the Chapmans exhibited thirteen water color paintings allegedly created by Adolf Hitler at the London White Cube Gallery in 2008, which, true to the exhibition title “If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be,” they had decorated with typical symbols of the Flower Power movement beforehand. [27]

With their exhibition title and their posthumous interventions, the Chapmans satirized, among other things, the myth that “Hitler the successful painter would have prevented Hitler the brutal dictator, and World War Two.” [28] The gallery’s basement housed their installation Fucking Hell, consisting of nine huge glass vitrines forming a swastika. Inside, the artists had arranged scenes depicting a plethora of atrocities committed by tens of thousands of toy soldiers which, cycling through a gigantic volcano, were constantly reproduced. The two artists have repeatedly emphasized that demonstrating the impossibility of any form of cultural representation of the Holocaust, as well as our voyeuristic identification with guilt, are central concerns in their work, a perspective they find exemplified in Christianity, incorporated through the murder of God. [29]


Wouldn’t it make sense to contemplate in a similar mindset “what could have become of the Bauhaus if it had become what it never was because it wasn’t allowed to be”? In the form of a “retrospective prophecy,” a compensation for our guilt, as Bazon Brock put it, allowing us to identify with the Bauhaus members as victims, a world of “multiplied Gropiusses.” Astonishingly, to Brock we have become exactly what we shouldn’t have been able to become. Our faith in modern technology, our love of experimentation, capacity for teamwork, work-life balance as spiritual fulfillment bear witness to the fact that we have become ‘Bauhaus people’ even in the absence of Bauhaus, Brock notes. “All of us accept the productive character of any kind of work; we acknowledge the primacy of functionalism, including the validation of aesthetical, psychological, and social functions.” But what if it hadn’t been the Bauhaus members who were the splendid representatives of absolute modernity, but Stalin and Hitler, and their objectives had prevailed in a soft version? We would have to bid farewell to our “childlike memories of what never was,” that is: “lost modernity.” [30]


The fact that Hitler did indeed feel at home in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe steel-tube chairs and that many Bauhaus achievements also worked very well in other contexts has been illustrated on numerous occasions, [31] the most drastic example perhaps being the inscription of the cynical motto “To each their own” that the inmates of the Buchenwald concentration camp, located not far from Weimar, were met with at the gate. The inscription’s graphic design, striking in its affinity to the Bauhaus aesthetic, was created by former Bauhaus student Franz Ehrlich, himself interned at the camp from 1937 to 1939, and employed as an architect during this time. [32] The implementation of functional Bauhaus elements in such a fashion mainly illustrates that the Third Reich was much more open-minded towards the achievements of modern design than one might assume and that it knew how to use them for propagandistic purposes depending on the respective situation. What appears far more unsettling, however, is the fact that radically modern architectural expertise was also required for the design of concentration camps. Variations of concepts for confined living spaces, that modernist housing projects were experimenting with at the time, were applied to labor camp planning as early as the mid 1930s, and the sadist radicalization of the idea of spatial “subsistence minimums” found its representation both in the concentration camps and in industrial mass murder. Fritz Ertl, who had studied at Bauhaus Dessau for three years, became a member of the team responsible for the construction of the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1940. [33]

Matters are even more complicated when it comes to the blurry lines of collaboration on the side of the Bauhaus protagonists. Oskar Schlemmer, who substantially shaped the image of the new man with his design of the Bauhaus logo and his Mechanical Ballet, submitted a draft for a wall mosaic featuring a row of figures with raised right arms, a depiction of the “Volksgemeinschaft” (“national community”), at a competition organized by the ministry of propaganda in 1934, and in 1937 identified parallels between the virtues of art, i.e. “law […] measure and order” and the political virtues of the Third Reich. [34] As early as 1933 he is said to have referred to himself as “pure” and his “art strong” and “strictly in keeping with nat. soc. principles,” namely: “heroic, steely-romantic, unsentimental, hard, sharp, clear, creative of new types” in a letter to Gunta Stölzl.[35]


The numerous post-1933 collaborations in exhibition design are more widely known: Gropius and Joost Schimdt as well as Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich contributed to “Deutsches Volk Deutsche Arbeit” (“German People, German Work,” 1934). The latter also designed the Berlin “Reichsausstellung der Deutschen Textil- und Bekleidungswirtschaft” (“Imperial Exposition of the German Textile and Garment Industry”) as late as 1937 parts of which were shown in Albert Speer’s German Pavilion at the Paris Expo. With his innovative exhibition displays and numerous exhibition catalogs, graphic designer Herbert Bayer furthermore eminently contributed to the aestheticization of National Socialist. [36] Regarding the context discussed here, Bayer is especially worth mentioning because he, alongside László Moholy-Nagy, provided the new modes of communication for the ‘democratic surround’. Moholy’s multi-media installations and particularly Bayer’s environmental designs allowed to control the viewer’s gaze in a new way and to thus psychologically connect individuals to their respective social surroundings.


The migration of leading Bauhaus teachers to the United States, however, led to a shift in telos. The envisioned anthropological design of a new man [37], with the merger of art and technology at its core, transformed into the Christian vision of an egalitarian world family under the helm of the United States of America. In keeping with his European socialization, Moholy maintained the connection of art, science, and technology when founding the New Bauhaus in Chicago, this time, however, on American soil and to aid the bearers of a new civilization in cultivating and industrializing the continent. [38] Fostering the development of individual personalities remained a central educational focus, hence Bauhaus pedagogy proved fertile once again. “To reach this objective [personal psychological development R.E.] one of the problems of Bauhaus education is to keep alive in grown-ups the child’s sincerity of emotion, his truth of observation, his fantasy and his creativeness.” [39] This time, however, the transformation of the individual didn’t aim at a social utopia but the establishment of traditional American, i.e. democratic values, intended to turn us all into a ‘Family of Man.’ As paradoxical as it may sound: the Bauhaus thrived the most when it encountered this egalitarian protestant ethos, true to its programmatic name and originally hidebound ideology of a Christian “masons guild.” [40] Compared to the photographs from the Bauhaus, the pictures taken at the Black Mountain College present as Rumspringa does to an Amish settlement—a sworn community on a hill in the North Carolina countryside whose perfect idyll is occasionally disrupted by avantgardistic visitors. It is by no coincidence that the geodesic domes Richard Buckminster Fuller developed with students as a summer experiment in the late 1940s look like mysterious messages from outer space on these photographs. Likewise, the different models of experimental work were not always met with sympathy by the college inhabitants. [41]


One of the leading minds behind the summer institute was Josef Albers, another Bauhaus emigrant, who succeeded in grouping a large part of the curriculum around his approved Bauhaus preliminary course. At first, he too seemed out of place in the ‘provincial, deeply religious and conservative’ rural environment of the BMC. [42] Accompanied by his wife Anni, he had arrived at the college via recommendation of the Museum of Modern Art in late 1933, commended as “the best art teacher ever.” [43] In contrast to Johannes Itten or Moholy Nagy, Albers’ pragmatic crafts-oriented curriculum was hardly ideologically burdened and solely committed to the maxims ‘learn to see’ and ‘make open the eyes.’ John Andrew Rice, who had founded the BMC with the goal of teaching methods, not contents [44], was particularly intrigued by his ‘thinking in folds.’ “This is the kind of thing we want,” he reportedly told Philip Johnson when shown photographs of student works from the Bauhaus era, including several wire sculptures and experimental studies with folded paper. [45]

Wherever he taught his renowned preliminary course, from Dessau to the BMC, and from HfG Ulm to Yale, photographs show Albers handling these folded paper structures. A picture from his course at Yale features a gigantic ‘baroque scroll’ looming on the wall, dwarfing Albers and his students to toy-sized figures in comparison. [46] Albers’ folding technique—he was especially fascinated by the accordion fold and its variations—did not build on the tradition of aesthetic paper folding, which Albers considered “kindergarten stuff,” [47] but was influenced more by functional uses in the crafts and for industrial purposes. “Albers’ preliminary course was a kind of laboratory allowing the students to make themselves familiar with the general laws of design and the basics for a way of working adequate to the requirements of modern industrial production.” [48]

Gilles Deleuze has emphasized the importance of the fold’s “operative function” for the history of thought, which he saw at work in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’ baroque philosophy. Rather than considering the divisibility of material bodies as acts of separation, he suggested following the pioneer of the enlightenment who stated: “The division of the continuous must not be taken as of sand dividing into grains, but resembles a sheet of paper or a tunic in folds, in such a way that an infinite number of folds can be produced, some smaller than others, but without the body ever dissolving into points or minima.”[49]


To better understand the faults and antinomies of modernity, I would like to introduce Rudolf Steiner’s ‘figure of thought and feeling’ of inversion (“Umstülpung”). To Steiner, formative forces were at work in the physical world that led to ongoing inversions or rather loop-like transitions [50] —“an invagination of the outside” is the phrase Deleuze chose when referring to Leibniz. [51] Steiner’s figure of the ‘inside-out’ can be gainfully activated even without any spiritual ideology attached to it. If the correct folding technique is applied, Albers had explained to his students back at the Bauhaus, paper loses its “plain and boring exterior and its tired appearance.” A newspaper, when placed flat on a table, only has “one visually active side,” whereas, if folded intelligently, it could stand upright and thus become “visually active on both sides.” [52] If not folded, but rather twisted and connected at both ends like a paper strip, both sides of the newspaper would also become visually active, however, in this paradox topology it would lose its designated front and back: ‘Spatially speaking, a Möbius strip is a continuous inversion of inside and outside.’ [53] And indeed the Möbius strip only has one side, given that the difference between front and back only exists as a local effect. Even the formerly two boundaries of the strip transform into one and transition seamlessly.


Shortly before his death in 1984, Michel Foucault held an introductory lecture on ‘Governmentality,’ addressing central elements of Kant’s essay on liberation What Is Enlightenment, which, he admitted, was like a fetish to him. Foucault’s analysis was structured by the conceptuaL framework of the public or rather the public audience, and the connections and relationships of the “government of the self and the government of others.” To Foucault, Kant’s unique approach to addressing the issue of enlightenment was that he neither raised questions of origin nor of a historical process, but instead dealt with the question of contemporary reality alone, making it the leitmotiv of his deliberations. Philosophy, understood as a means to question “what we are, what we think, and what we do,”according to Foucault is what distinguished modern philosophy from that of antiquity and the early modern period. Of course, the essay’s aporias didn’t go unnoticed by him: especially the final part including the apotheosis of the King of Prussia as the patron and warrantor of the enlightenment made him feel uneasy, just as it had Kant two hundred years earlier. The emancipatory process, ‘man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity,’ were to be certified by a despotic ruler claiming loyalty and obedience in all government matters? In 1784, Kant escaped this servile pose with the help of tautology, by arguing that the event of enlightenment itself and the fact of living in the age of enlightenment were the preliminary outcome regarding the question of enlightenment. In 1789, the French Revolution sufficiently challenged the concept of the enlightened king and ruler at least locally, an incident that led others towards hounding the spectre of communism. The turning point represented by the revolution according to Foucault led Kant to ‘answer’ his original question of the present by posing a new question, that of revolution, as well as his renewed question “if humankind is in the constant progress to the better?” in 1798. To Kant, the historical indicators weren’t provided by the protagonists, i.e. the revolutionaries, given that all they accomplished was chaos, as is the case with every revolution, but by the enthusiasm for true freedom and autonomy spurred in the minds of the revolution’s spectators. By questioning enlightenment and the value of revolutions, Kant in Foucault’s eyes laid the foundation for the two great critical traditions in modern thought, i.e. “critical philosophy which will present itself as an analytic philosophy of truth in general,” and something Foucault calls “an ontology of ourselves, an ontology of the actuality.” At present, i.e. at the time of the lecture in 1983, Foucault felt his contemporaries were confronted with the choice between either analytics of truth or critical thought in the sense of this ‘ontology of ourselves.’ Foucault naturally chose the latter “form of reflection,” or rather expressed his ‘attempt’ to. [54]


Postscriptum: In his ‘Bauhausrevue’ Bazon Brock noted Christianity’s unique effort to base our relationship to reality on the admission of powerlessness. The true founding moment of Christianity to him is the crucifixion of all bearers of hope, “saviors, cultural heroes and leaders,” which brings him, the self-proclaimed “thinker in service” of an “ontology of the actuality” to the critical question: “Does this mean that our truly contemporary dealings with Bauhaus should result in our crucifying the historical Bauhaus and its heroes, for the failure of this enterprise to be absolutely modern and its true exemplariness to be fruitfully recognized? What this attempt would result in, remains an open question.” [55]


1 According to Laurie Golder, then Facebook’s Head of Human Relations, “Self discovery is the driving guiding

force for a healthy career. The energy for a healthy career is generated from discovering the talents that are

already there—not from filling oneself up with markable experiences. Great managers know, that it is this

search for a full understanding of your talents and non talents that serves as a source of energy powering your

career.” Cf. Fred Turner’s keynote lecture at Preliminary Course: From Bauhaus to Silicon Valley, 2017, Haus der

Kulturen der Welt Berlin, (March 11, 2019).

2 Ibid.

3 Cf. Niklas Maak: “Hacker, Hippies und die große Likeokratie,” (March 11, 2019).

4 The posters were designed by the ‘Analog Research Laboratory,’ Facebook’s in-house art and design studio

which also created the blue thumb.

5 Facebook’s understanding of openness is also reflected in the fact that no permission was granted to present

any images or models of the new Facebook HQ in the exhibition BAU [SPIEL] HAUS.

6 (March 11, 2019).

7 Cf. Gernot Böhme: Ästhetischer Kapitalismus, Berlin 2016.

8 Slavoj Žižek: The Courage of Hopelessness, London 2017, p. 28.

9 Peter Sloterdijk: In the World of Interior Capital, Cambridge 2013, p. 8.

10 (March 11, 2019).

11 (March 11, 2019).


12 In an interview with online magazine Dezeen, Wilkinson elaborated on the experimental and playful elements

of his work inspired by the Bauhaus preliminary course: “I'd heard all about the first year course, which

was a real Bauhaus course, where you didn't actually design any buildings you did all these conceptual things

like points and lines and space and sculptures. I thought it was mind liberating. I went into it not caring

whether I passed or failed, and as a result I did better than anyone else because I was able to experiment and

play, and not think about what the teachers wanted but do what interested me.” (March 11, 2019).

13 Cf. Gerd Blum, Johan Frederik Hartle: “Zelle, Raster, Würfel. Überlegungen zu Michel Foucault, Peter Halley

und Gregor Schneider,” in: Christoph Bertsch, Silvia Höller, ed.: Cella. Strukturen der Ausgrenzung und Disziplinargesellschaft,

Innsbruck 2010, p. 207–215. Very subtly, sterile architecture also serves as an element of

Jacques Tati’s criticism of modernism in his films, notably the cellular office spaces in Playtime.

14 Michel Foucault: The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1. An Introduction, London 1990, p. 159.

15 Cf. Andreas Reckwitz: “The Rise of Aesthetic Economy: Permanent Innovation, Creative Industries and the

esign Economy,” in: idem.: The Invention of Creativity. Modern Society and the Culture of the New, Malden

017, pp. 85–126, here particularly p. 121 et seq.

16 Cf. Peter Sloterdijk: “Design als Kunst der Transformation,” in: René Spitz: HfG. IUP. IFG. Ulm 1968–2008, Ulm

2012, pp. 204–215, particularly p. 204 et seq.

17 Cf. Susan Sontag: “Notes on ‘Camp,’” Partisan Review, 31.4 (Fall 1964), pp. 515–530; “Fascinating Fascism

(1974),” in: Under the Sign of Saturn, London 2009, pp. 73–105.

18 In his keynote lecture, Fred Turner mentioned that according to a recent survey “Facebook [has] one of the

highest happiness ratings in the world.” Cf. Turner 2017 (see note 1).

19 Cf. Pier Paolo Pasolini: “Contro i capelli lunghi,” Corriere della Sera, January 7, 1973.

20 Fred Turner: From Counterculture to Cyberculture. Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of

Digital Utopianism, Chicago/London 2006.

21 Cf. Adam Gildar: “Domes, Droppers, and The Ultimate Painting. An Interview with Clark Richert and Richard

Kallweit,” in: Andrew Blauvelt, Greg Castillo ed.: Hippie Modernism. The Struggle for Utopia, exh. cat., Walker

Art Center Minneapolis, October 24, 2015–February 28, 2016, Minneapolis 2015, pp. 383–394.

22 Cf. particularly Richard Buckminster Fuller: “Comprehensive Propensities” in: Operating Manual for Spaceship

Earth, ed. by Jaime Snyder, Zurich 2008, pp. 21–31.

23 Cf. Steve Jobs: Stanford Commencement Address, 2005,

061505/ (March 11, 2019).

24 (March 11, 2019).

25 Cf. Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York 1973.

26 Cf. Jake & Dinos Chapman. The Rape of Creativity, exh. cat. Modern Art Oxford, April 12–June 8, 2003, London


27 Cf. Robert Eikmeyer: “Bad Artist Good Genocider,” in: Rudolf Herz: Zugzwang. Duchamp Hitler Hoffmann, ed.

Heinz Schütz, Munich 2013, p. 58 et seq.

28 Ibid.

29 Cf. e.g. “Jake Chapman on themes behind ‘Hell’ and its successor,”

video/2015/jun/16/jake-dinos-chapman-fucking-hell-video (March 11, 2019).

30 Bazon Brock: “Das Bauhaus als Biskuit – gegen retrospektive Prophetien,” in: Idem/Anna Zika, ed.: Der Barbar

als Kulturheld, Bazon Brock III: gesammelte Schriften 1991–2002, Cologne 2002, pp. 836–842.

31 Cf. Bauhaus-Moderne im Nationalsozialismus. Zwischen Anbiederung und Verfolgung, ed. Winfried Nerdinger,

Munich 1993. A reproduction of said photograph can be found on p. 20.

32 Cf. Richard Herzinger: “Endstation Berlin,” in: Die Welt, Special Edition “90 Jahre Bauhaus” 2009, (March 11, 2019).

33 Cf. “Auschwitz, a Place for All Industries,” in: Jean-Louis Cohen: Architecture in Uniform. Designing and Building

for the Second World War, New Haven/London 2011, pp. 290–295 and p. 308.

34 Cf. Magdalena Droste: “Bauhaus-Maler im Nationalsozialismus. Anpassung, Selbstentfremdung, Verweigerung,

” in: Nerdinger 1993, (see note. 31), pp. 113–141, here p. 131 et seq.

35 Ibid. p. 19.

36 Cf. e.g. Sabine Weißler: “Bauhaus-Gestaltung in NS-Propaganda-Ausstellungen,” in: Nerdinger 1993 (see note

31), pp. 48–63, Michael Tymkiw: Nazi exhibition design and Modernism, Minneapolis/London 2018, and Paul

Betts: “Bauhaus und Nationalsozialismus – ein Kapitel der Moderne,” in: Jeannine Fiedler, Peter Feierabend:

Bauhaus, Potsdam 2013, pp. 34–41.

37 For more on the Bauhaus concept of the new human, cf. e.g. Nicole Colin: “Bauhaus philosophisch – Kulturkritik

und soziale Utopie,” in: Fiedler, Feierabend, ibid., pp. 22–25. In a letter to Tomás Maldonado, Gropius de13

scribed the Bauhaus philosophy as a romantic departure, intended to ‘build the new human in a new environment

and to inspire creative spontaneity in everyone,’ quote: Colin, ibid., p. 25; Boris Groys: “Unsterbliche

Körper,” in: Idem/Michael Hagemeister, ed.: Die Neue Menschheit. Biopolitische Utopien in Russland zu Beginn

des 20. Jahrhunderts, Frankfurt am Main 2007, pp. 8–18.

38 Cf. the paragraph “The New Vision comes to America,” in: Fred Turner: The Democratic Surround, Chicago/

London 2013, pp. 92–95, here p. 93.

39 Ibid.

40 Cf. Brock 2002, p. 841 (see note. 30).

41 John Cage’s criticism of Ludwig van Beethoven’s compositions in favor of Erik Satie, e.g., was met with total

incomprehension by the college’s ‘music students.’ For more on the “Defense of Satie” cf. Eugen Blume, Matilda

Felix, Gabriele Knapstein, Catherine Nichols, ed.: Black Mountain College. Ein interdisziplinäres Experiment

1933–1957, exh. cat. Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart Berlin, June 5–September 27, 2015, Leipzig

2015, pp. 316–317.

42 ‘Seeing Albers in this provincial, deeply religious, and conservative environment was like stumbling through

the deepest jungle and happening upon the remainders of a sophisticated civilization.’ Quote: Paul Betts:

“Black Mountain College, NC,” in: Fiedler, Feierabend 2013 (see note 36), p. 64.

43 Cf. ibid. p. 63.

44 Cf. exh. cat. BMC 2015 (see note 41), p. 24.

45 Cf. Samuele Boncompagni and Giovanni Iovane, ed.: Learning to See. Josef Albers as a Teacher, from Bauhaus

to Yale, exh. cat. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, May 18–September 22, 2013, Bethany, Connecticut

2013, p. 25.

46 Albers considered exercises with baroque folding techniques essential for contemporary drawing due to their

overlapping character. Cf. Frederik A. Horowitz, Brenda Danilowitz: Josef Albers: To Open Eyes. The Bauhaus,

Black Mountain College, and Yale, London 2006, pp. 181–183. A reproduction of the photograph “Albers and

students with ‘Baroque scroll’ on the wall” can be found on p. 182.

47 Cf. Norbert M. Schmitz: “Der Vorkurs unter Josef Albers – Kreativitätsschule,” in: Fiedler, Feierabend 2013

(see note 36), pp. 374–381, here p. 375.

48 Ibid.

49 Gilles Deleuze: The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque, London 1993, p. 6.

50 Cf. Markus Brüderlin: “Du musst dein Leben umstülpen! Rudolf Steiner und das moderne Prinzip des Inside-

Out,” in: Matteo Kries, Alexander von Vegesack, ed: Rudolf Steiner. Die Alchemie des Alltags, exh. cat., Vitra

Design Museum Weil am Rhein, October 15, 2011–May 1, 2012, Weil am Rhein 2011, pp. 120–131.

51 Cf. Deleuze 1993 (see note 49), p. 8.

52 As described and remembered by Bauhaus student Hannes Beckmann, quoted from: Schmitz 2013 (see note

47), p. 375.

53 Brüderlin 2011 (see note 50), p. 125.

54 Michel Foucault: “What is Revolution” and “What is Enlightenment” in: Sylvere Lotringer ed.: Michel Foucault.

The Politics of Truth, Los Angeles 2007, pp. 85–96; pp. 97–120.

55 Brock 2002 (see note 30), p. 840 et seq. Foucault had already suggested such a practice of a Socratic ‘art of


destruction’ in the form of parrhesia. Vgl. Foucault 2007 (see note 54).