Truth Games


Hanneke Van Deursen

Document Type

Thesis, Senior




Spring 2020


truth, games, neoliberal, naturalizing, neoliberalism, city, architecture






This thesis analyzes Neoliberalism, and architecture as its active agent, not only in constructing space, but constructing subjectivity within that space. If Neoliberalism exists in two forms, policy and ideology, I contend that architecture serves as a mediator between these forms: shaped by policy and naturalizing ideology. Truth Games – constructed “truths” which embed themselves in common knowledge and practice – allow the city to appear as banal and incidental, maybe even nice. However, the urban environment is a powerful weapon. The Truth Games embedded in architecture legitimate forms of power that operate on and through the constitution of the self (as per Foucault). This thesis operates upon the hypothesis that the city can be read, delaminated, unmasked, in order to script its Truth Games and therein begin to subvert them. The array of Neoliberal policies manifest particular environments which aggressively naturalize Neoliberal subjectivity. I collect these spaces under the term, Capital Imaginaries, as they take on a utopian image of the city according to the market. It is within these islands of raw and exaggerated capital that Truth Games, typically obscured, sit in the foreground and begin to expose themselves. The objective of this thesis is to examine these spaces in order to unmask their Truth Games and lay bare the production of subjectivity, re presenting the city without its veil. The Capital Imaginaries of Kop van Zuid (Rotterdam), Canary Wharf (London), and Hudson Yards (New York) become the subjects of this examination, each revealing one aspect of the market’s ideal subject. The thesis works to uncover their truths hidden in plain sight, through the mechanisms of timelines, voyeuristic films, financial diagramming, and mappings of subjectivity. This unmasking of the city lead me back to the 1970s ideas of radical architecture: Superstudio, Archizoom, and OMA. I took ‘the manifesto’ as an operation, and revised Archizoom’s – by extension revising the images they use to explore their ideas and reediting them in relation to my three subjects. These ideas are collected in a digital exhibition, providing multiple paths that take one through layers of information on the same issue. This website architecture is akin to the layering and unmasking that the project aims to do, and constructs a truth within itself. The exhibition and the manifesto are a call to see. To criticize. To reexamine the banal. The city is not incidental. It is deliberately constructed.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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