- Adhocism: The Case for Improvisation by Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver
Adhocism by Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver (no, not the statistics guru Nate Silver) was first published as a counterculture design manifesto and was hailed, at the time, as a subversive and neopragmatic exhortation to architects, designers, urban planners, and homesteading hippies to freely mix high and low, old and new, art and craft, work and play, theory and practice, aestheticism and functionality. Whether called “adhocism” or any of the many other terms used since—collage, bricolage, repurposing, postmodernism, metadesign, recursivity, hodgepodge, or sampling—the call to create layered, multicontextual visual references through the combination and recombination of unusual materials, disparate design elements, found objects, multiple construction methods, and diverse theoretical approaches has been advanced as a way to create a physical environment with a far greater “density of meanings” than most generic design approaches could ever hope to offer. Oddly reminiscent of the Whole Earth Catalog, this reissued 1972 book reminds us of a period when now accepted forms of creative innovation/disruption were first seen as radically new. At our current moment in time, any number of hip-hop producers/recording artists might be the most successful inheritors and repurposers of this now venerable tradition. [End Page 109]
Andrew P. Tuck, a founding partner of Applied Research and Consulting LLC in New York City, is the author of Comparative Philosophy and the Philosophy of Scholarship: On the Western Interpretation of Nāgārjuna. He has taught Western philosophy and South Asian religion at several universities, including Columbia, Princeton, and the New School for Social Research.