Today it is widely reported that the West is in crisis, with Europe at the forefront. There are plenty of arguments to sustain this claim. Franco La Cecla, however, warns us not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as this unstoppable disenchantment is closing our eyes to the exception the West continues to represent. Despite capitalism, world wars, colonialism and neoliberalism (a list that could certainly be much extended), the West is in fact seen by the rest of the world as a place that is host to an enviable tolerance, in which the individual, women and children can exercise their own rights irrespective of any form of religious creed, ethnicity, clan, tribe or family; a place in which a form of citizenship is practiced that allows the establishing of free, revocable bonds, an idea founded in Pericles’ democracy and then reformulated in the light of concepts of fraternity and equality. It is this extraordinary exception that risks being thrown away, when instead we ought not only make claim to it, but re-take it for ourselves and radicalize it.

Franco La Cecla has taught Cultural Anthropology at Berkeley, Paris, Venice, Bologna and Milan. He was Consultant to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and to the Barcelona Regional. His work takes inspiration from the minute observation of daily life and material evidence, which has deepened his interest in architecture’s social impact. He researches models for organizing space and the interactive dynamics these models generate, submitting contemporary architectural practice to a radical critique. Among his book Against Architecture (2012), The Culture of Ethics (with Piero Zanini, 2015), Against Urbanism (2019). His documentary In Other Sea has been awarded with the Ocean Film Festival Award in San Francisco 2012.