A kind of a "dangerous supplement", marked, scarred on a body, post-orgasmically, always, already in anticipation of (a) crisis OR for a desert avec 'agape'. Mindb(l)ogg(l)ing Noise. "Avalanche, would you share my last pursuit?" (Baudelaire)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Make A Wish!

No Luna Park without a slaughterhouse.
Denis Hollier

Whereas no one believed that the Tschumian extolment of fireworks would become anything but a manifesto and a metaphor, the moribund havoc that scorched the titanium clad TVCC not only presents itself as a more vivid image to the hermeneutics of Architecture vis a vis the current socio-economic conditions than the descriptions of the thousands of abandoned cars - keys in ignition - outside Dubai airport and under the shadow of halted bulldozers and dusted Jumeirah, it paradigmatically stands-in for all attempted redefinitions of non-mandarin (if you'd excuse me) contemporary architectural practices.

The proliferation, especially during the last decade, of FTSE and NASDAQ chart-mimicking structures, at steep angles from murky and loose ground, could have been read (they wished!) as defying gestures towards both the stereotypical views of the Middle and Far East and the blow of 9/11 to modernity's (fundamentalist) functionalism. Yet such "contributions" to the new economies that arose partly because of these buildings (think of Bilbao, dear reader) reached a morphological semicolon with Koolhaas 'critique' of the skyscraper. In program CCTV, or 'Big Underpants', the owner and mother-ship of TVCC, is for Koolhass a reificatory materialisation of his long echoing battle cry: 'Kill the Skyscraper'. The vacant center structure aspires to be not the singular height-striving, floor-stacking dry phallus which "makes Architecture impossible" [Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL, p. 1075] and who by its sprouting pastiches across the world cripples and parodies urban life. No Sir! Instead it is four - two horizontal and two vertical. And at 230 metres high CCTV is only 14 metres shorter than One Canada Square (Canary Wharf), 50 metres higher than all the pickled 180 metres of 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), almost 80 metres higher than the feted Seagram and stands just a floor short of Renzo Piano's 52-floor New York Times Building. It also takes up 4 times the floor size of The Shard which once completed will be the tallest building in Europe. TVCC itself is 159 metres tall and of a shape that resembles a stock exchange's index chart more than any another building. So much for program, hey Rem?

With the disjunction of architecture from space to the stratosphere, these star-shaped hyperbolas have been relying overtly on the glittery, outer atmosphere to keep their fickle existence from their ever imminent destruction. Alongside the burst of the last silver lining of the property market came the exemplary consummation of TVCC - not least by Architecture itself. Architecture as the choreographer of situations has resisted - at last - the architecture of structures. TVCC on Monday, 9th of February 2009, became a firework itself, trespassing the threshold of professed 'contribution' and joining the ranks of a Chinese Lantern Festival for the Year of The Ox. TVCC became no longer a (future) facilitator of culture, but culture itself, in all its bombastic, formless uselessness, producing only "a delight that cannot be sold or bought, that has no exchange value and cannot be integrated in the production cycle" [Adorno IN Tschumi]. At TVCC on Monday, 9th of February 2009, Architecture found itself again at the brink of becoming spacing, a perpetual, unresolved possibility.

Staring at such a brightly illuminated sky from all these fallen stararchitects, one can only make a wish: may Architecture retain such futility and through its rupturing violence abandon all temptation for the detention of structure.

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