Friday, December 2, 2016
En-Coding the Urban, title text by Jennifer K Dick, in the vitrines under the countertops of both the Buffet exterior and interior, Gare SBB Basel
EN-CODING the URBAN
Jennifer K Dick
I wanted to talk about urban experience in a vacuum, constructing a realistic practice of juncture in the between-bolt, not knock-off steel factory, it was, or would be, an interrogation of decadent sustainability, like a visit to the chiropractor, a realignment of homeopathic infrastructures—yes, it all boils down to bridges and electric lines, tram rails and manhole covers with bronze crested city historians not so unlike something dislocated from the mildewed pages of an unkempt overcrowded library’s rejected archival storage shed, I would be addressing urban forms of Formica along relocation centers and little do-it-yourself architectural projects like pop-up megalopolises (or do we say megalopoli? Megalopolii? And of course that would provoke an imbroglio of images of Jules Verne octopuses with gigantic sucker-tentacles emerging to strangle sinewy skyscrapers pressing ever upwards) reaching for stratospheres (we were/are) like standing ovations for flyovers past stadiums crowded to the brim in natural disasters, it was not going to be opaque or unloaded, this chit-chat confab of a lecture I’ve been seriously sensing is oncoming, brewing, bubbling under the surface like some of those fissure-lines wending their way from riverbed through public transport tunnels, an echo in the outer circle knocking at the doorway of the inner spherical sense of an urbane symptom of something citycircumpolar, you might say, a star or a singlet but I do not like to digress or regress though you must admit this would not or should not be only about accounting for the tendencies or even inklings about a devolutionary process of building—what, I think, is logically akin to digging a pit for a new foundation, and of those floundering under-villes, what then of the Roman-Etruscan-Celtic-Amerindian ruins unsettling our perceptions or preconceptions of contemporaneity? for this would be a speech not unlike a retrofitted joint screwed into place rebranching out of the ordinary adventure of an urbanist’s delirium papered with blueprints faded lavender in the 21st century cavity of censured city-escapes, remodeled suspension bridges, drawbridges, hangars, markets, garden paths, throughways, shopping centers, parking lots stacked a dime to the dozen (I know, I too desire to tip just one tile at the edge of the city of dominos, model of something central to, and, but, digress again, so return to) hotels in a ghost of historical revision or a mold for boxes within which we eek out a home—refitted lofts leverage zoning to factory settings, starting blocks and backers as real estate agents hang out a plaque with a higher price tag, but this was not really what I wanted, to encapsulate the economic spirals as in spires as in dugouts as in pedestrian walkways afloat, lofted over trains and trams and trucks as if carrying on would not be entirely on the docket, but the fact that concessions are on par with contradictions are on par with centralization when it comes down to the intramural / extramural debate about the nature of frontiers and inclusion, ghettos and tourist traps, safety in the incorporation of the urban palimpsest like linguistic override ctrl + alt rebooting the way the container zone gave way to a wave of five star panoramas, statutes of stratospheres for self-reflection along a hotel facing that well-lit glass-fronted cityscape where, without touching or overlapping, the angular mire becomes reversible, an adventure center square, past the gaze of construction workers high up amid the undiluted city scaffolding clanging loose against the harangue of planning committees and insignia for the newfangled landscape architecture cotton candy pink on a plastic turnstile with metallic trim, not only would my city-speech reflect brightly into outer space but I felt confident in its ability to reverberate, to make the rounds of the right circles, even for those who would only have time to listen to a short extract replayed, long after everyone had forgotten when it had gone viral on Youtube, as I continued to talk at night and talk into the ether and talk all day into the next and the next refurbishing the dialectics of architectural structures in the grammatic-linguistic syntax, the ecopoetic rhizomatic building blocks in which we breathe here and now in the algorithms of urban experience.