Thursday, October 23, 2008

A great shadow

Today while I was walking to work I stumbled across an add at the far side of a bus stop enclosure. It had a picture of the pinnacle of the Disney Center and had a quote "Now your credit card can help cast big shadows." What a twisted irony this Visa add takes as our country is falling under the dark shadow of living beyond our means. Gehry represented exactly this spirit of a jubilant display of fancy and a perverted attraction (either perverted attraction or decided indifference) to wastefulness. I hear people all the time trying to affirm their architectural identity by lauding or condemning Gehry. The question is not whether you like Gehry but do you appreciate the fact that he gave expression to his time. A time which I assure you is behind us. That question yields to our question: what is the expression of today? We cannot continue to design tomorrows buildings from the values of yesterday.
I believe we are being called to re-infuse the romance back into the judicious, the frugal, the decidedly unwasteful. It is being asked of us to re investigate the notion of need and to relearn how much we can do without!


chelsea said...

Perhaps we are pulled on this endless derive, a conflict of magnets, the invisible golden thread of existence--one place to the next, one thought eternally compiled upon previous and future thoughts, one image speaking to us, another existing in the periphery. What is response?
What is (sub)conscious about each moment of (un)sensed accumulation, communication?
(Your mention of the advertisement reminds me of the Steve Martin film with the character of the billboard speaking to people on the highway. "My Blue Heaven"--I believe, appropriately set in L.A.)
I read the Borges and Casares story of "An Evening with Ramon Bonavera" this morning and was reminded that originality in our own lives does not cohere with the systems and qualifications of invention and creation as it transcends into the broader spectrum of existence. The personification of objects, the troubles of the autobiography, the words, energy and artifacts, that remain and the ones that must cease to exist in order to preserve an idea (and by this, remove certain realms of misinterpretation), was not mine first. In a certain sense, we avoid precedents, we spend time controlling our originality, creativity, placing our work in the caverns and dense storage of our minds.
Perhaps credit cards are an avenue to the imagination--that removing the qualification, quantification, essential element of cost, money, trade--it frees the imagination. Perhaps not.
What does "free market" mean?

damir said...
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damir said...

The essential element of cost, money, trade is the reflective lens through which (most) see the freedom of this imagination. Perhaps it is this strive for self identification, self expression and autobiography that adds to the (un)autonomy of architecture. To tie this to the advertisement, is to address the building as a dancing architecture within a running world environment.
The speed in which architecture can be expressed is slow, so why then, are we dancing awkwardly with what we are capable technologically + financially of creating rather then making what we should do ethically.
Honest critical content.
What that might be? Well, if Gahry emerged with in an abundance of technology (creativity) and capital (credit cards). We are in a position to challenge the picture plane of capital and step beyond it with technology. Our subject: space. Our imaginative freedom: autonomous, no longer filtered through the precedents of structured finance (lack or abundance of). Therefore, program: social, not economic.
The capital manifestation of Dubai is thriving on playing ($ + tech)... will OUR architecture still be dancing.

damir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
damir said...

It is curious that in the context of architecture, the building is valued in terms of the size of its shadow by a large credit card company…hmm. Perhaps the concert hall falls short of the size of its shadow, maybe the add is encouraging that we should value taller, larger, bigger buildings and possibly in a cold winter ahead, when the sun is just low enough… cast a shadow on the rest of the world.