This place you see is about to be no more.
[Biopower solidified by the means of architectural constructions]
It was modernity that brought the idea and the technology to build, high rise/ high density buildings to/for the working classes at a global scale. The tower blocks were mostly hailed as a cure to overcrowded, unsanitary, poor urban settlements. It seemed that baron Hausmann’s lessons from Paris acquired a new momentum in a totally different era.
Interés social (social interest), Plattenbauten (concrete slabs), Cutie de chibrituri (match boxes), Cajas de zapatos (shoeboxes) are just but a few names these erections receive in different countries.
Le Corbusier’s vison of the machine for living, embedded within a radiant city stemmed from a more or less naive idea of progress and positive change. However “ his theories on urban renewal were plagiarized by local authorities on tight budgets, which often failed to understand the essential humanism behind them.”
The sparkling tower block typology spawned worldwide at a time where nation-states: either nascent or firm believers in tabula-rasa were eager to grasp for the future -and to show their progress- to the rest of the world.
This new arrangement signaled a truly global world: deeply fascinated with, and invested on, cities.
As if playing a God game, the decision of housing an increasingly urban population in multi-dwelling units was pretty much, unilateral and the subsequent social results were very mixed.
Aside from the cleanliness factor and the aim of reaching asepsis and progress through modernist topologies, there were also population control issues at the root of their worldwide deployment as a technology of power over the individual's daily lives.
However, the deployment of towers blocks at a global scale, was indeed a lesson on diversity and vanquished the modern idea of tabula-rasa:
From being considered vertical ghettos in the U.S. to highly encouraging social problems in the U.K. they were also looked down upon in Mexico and Brazil as poor families’ last resource. However, they were, at least in the post war Berlin, very sought after and in Singapore it was said that that they helped maintain social stability and racial harmony.
While nowadays there is a global shift in economic dominance from nation-states to corporations, still the former are left to deal with the images of their cities.
This project stems from a series of very personal reflections on public housing and their topology as a manifestation of biopower. It also reflects on the idea of tactics and strategies as described by De Certeau and their infinite feedback loop.
- Standalone videogame.
Additional 3D models by Mike Pan, Martinsh
Additional Scripts by HG1, -Killer
This site uses the Linea iconset by Dario Ferrando.
All used under CC License.
Special thanks to Anne-Marie and/for Leon.
- Standalone videogame.
- mail AT ungravity DOT org