April 29, 2008

"This was parking lot, now its a peaceful oasis"

Many mockitectural thinkers are debating how mockitecture manifests itself and the appropriateness of the design inherently attached to the message. This is the //[un]titled [un]experiencable park// by N_O_R_T_O_N. It consists of a blank spot of land, preferable some sort of abandoned industrial site. It would ideally be located along the edge of an impoverished area. The park would be a beautiful creation. It would be a well-manicured area, and one lucky person would be called upon to groom it. This person would spend everyday watering the flowers and trimming the lawns. At the outer rim of this urban oasis would be a barbed wire fence. A very aggresive barbed wire fence at that. The only person who would be allowed in the park would be the caretaker.

Now I realize that this is not everyday architecture, but the space created in this concept brings with it many good points. is it not a wildly exaggerated characiture of the spaces we create with gentrification? how would people react to it? Would they laugh? Would they be angry? Would they attempt to interact with the space?

I remember in high school there was a fence that guarded the parking lot I liked to park in. Many times, there were no spots left, so we would have to park at a nearby street. It was much faster to jump over a fence on the way back to school. The deans didnt like this, so on the last day of school, some people cut a hole in the fence. This is mockitecture. Fences tend to have a power beyond the control of people's movement. Just the sight of a fence will create hostility in a person, even one with a gate that they are freely allowed to move in and out of.

Back to the park. This experimental space reminds me of Pop Art's questioning of the privatization of public space. Claus Oldenburg bought and ran a store in 1961 as an artwork in environmental form. While Oldenburg was dealing with the advent of comsumer culture, this same technique could be useful in questioning the elitist brutalism that is re-privatization of private and public spaces. Even when a space is private, it interesects with the public sphere. This is especially true on the scale of a neighborhood. when enough private spaces are transformed, the public space goes with them. This is true in negative ways and positive ways.

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