Maroš Krivý, “The Unbearable Lightness of ‘Complexity’,” Perspecta 53: “Onus” (2020): 59–69

Contra the notion that our age is an age of complexity, this essays argues that it is permeated by the unbearable lightness of complexity thinking, providing what Isabelle Stengers called a “reassuring” “fresco of cosmic complexification”. The essay looks at the work of the architectural theorist Sanford Kwinter as illustrative of how complexity thinking has been used to naturalize urban change. Through a close reading of his early-1990s reflections around “new urbanism,” I trace the ways in which “complexity” blurs institutional accountability, preempts democratic contestation and contributes to depoliticizing the urban arena.