Architecture in the Age of Pornography : Reading Alain Badiou book cover
1st Edition

Architecture in the Age of Pornography
Reading Alain Badiou

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 30, 2021
ISBN 9781032049052
September 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Architecture, and its pedagogy in the academy, is dominated by the technology of image production that veils the ‘naked power’ behind its operation. It conforms to principles of cultural logic of the society of spectacle, consistent with neoliberal capitalism. The problem with this dominant pedagogy is that it violates the fundamental ethical imperative, putting architecture in direct contradiction with the ‘common good’. In addition, it has let architecture enter the brothel of pornographic capitalism which turns every object into an object of obscene gratification of the senses.

In this book, Nadir Lahiji adopts Alain Badiou’s thesis from The Pornographic Age to demonstrate that contemporary architecture is in absolute complicity with the pornographic present. The traits that Badiou identifies in this age, are manifestly visible in architecture surfaces which are under the same ‘regime of images’. Similar to Badiou’s political indictments of the society which has given rise to the pornographic present, the book condemns the architecture that has lent its service to the same society with a license to consummate its transgression to better cater to the imperative of the ‘regime of images’.

Transposing the conceptual categories in Badiou’s analysis to the critique of architecture’s pornographic turn in contemporary society, the book constructs a conceptual framework by which to demonstrate the specific manifestations of pornography in building. The book is aimed at architecture students at higher graduate and post-graduate levels.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Foreword: To Exit the Pleasure Dome

A.J. Bartlett and Justin Clemens




Philosophical Thoughts on Pornography

1. Visibility of the Invisible: Pornography and Utilitarianism

2. Profanation and Pornography

3. The Society of Pornography

4. Pornography and the Society of Spectacle



Badiou and the Pornographic Present

5. The Fetish of Democracy

6. The Reign of Image and The Phallic Fetish of Our Time

7. The Brothel and the Chief of Police



The Architecture of the Pornographic Age

8. Appearance and Schein

9. Building Between Nudity and Clothing

10. Digital Tattooists, or the New Criminals

11. The Obscene Surplus of Drapery

12. Veiling and Unveiling

13. Pornography and the Exhibition-Value



Architecture and Political Truth:

Critique of Pornographic Capitalism

14. Utilitarianism, Happiness, and the Use of Pleasure

15. Philosophy and Happiness

16. Political Truth, Ideology, and the Camera Obscura

17. Architecture, Capitalism, and the Pornographic Apparatus



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Nadir Lahiji is an architect. He is most recently the author of Architecture, Philosophy and the Pedagogy of Cinema (Routledge, 2021), Architecture or Revolution: Emancipatory Critique after Marx (Routledge, 2020) and An Architecture Manifesto: Critical Reason and Theories of a Failed Practice (Routledge, 2019). His previous publications include, among others, Adventures with the Theory of the Baroque and French Philosophy, and the co-authored The Architecture of Phantasmagoria: Specters of the City.


"It seems a cliché to say that we live in pornographic times. But Nadir Lahiji probed beyond this cliché and has given us a concrete assessment of what the descent into pornography has cost us as a society. As he shows with his typical lucidity and profundity, the pornography of our age has eliminated the very space in which we could come together. Lahiji has written a stunning account of what the pornographic invasion has cost us."

Todd McGowan, University of Vermont, USA

"More than a critique, Nadir Lahiji’s book is a fierce condemnation of contemporary architecture, not only for being wholly complicit with the regime of images that characterizes our current age—a regime that Alain Badiou has identified as essentially pornographic—but for providing its structural support."

Alex Ling, Western Sydney University, Australia