November 27, 2008

City as Sex

Freud would say that sex is at the root of all subconscious.  He would also say that subconscious is at the root of all human activity. If the city is the construction of such human activity, then sex is at the root of all cities. Everything from storefronts full of scantily clad models to buses taking people to eventually fulfill their conquest for sex are the pulse of the city. Is this a by-product of consumer society, where advertising has taken over as organizer? Probably...but sex sells. Even our cars are based on bodies and sex. The car is adventurous, the city is romantic.

Most of our buildings are inexpressive of their interiors. This lack of transparency not-so-accidental facadery represent some of humankind's most sexual urges for privacy. What goes on behind the curtains in the windows of those buildings? That is not for us to know. The construct of the city as millions of private areas is City as Sex.FAT's Semi Dysfunctional House explores these themes about what goes on in the private sections (of a house in this case.) The public areas are designed with the ultimate goal in mind: privacy.

In his book Building Sex, Aaron Betsky outlines the inplications gender plays in creating space. Interiors and side spaces such as cafes, homes, and salons are feminine, warm sensuous spaces, while Exteriors, Streets, Public Spaces, and Monuments are cold, masculine constructions. How can we develop the ambivalent both-and of gender roles in constructing the city scape? In other words, can we have the desirable qualities of the interiors of our cafes, homes, and salons in our streets? Can irony and humor help fight the stark and violent gray of a city? What are the limits of the combative ironic warmth in the cold city? What is the cure for this cold, hostile environment that our cities have become? How does the boundary between interior and exterior, warm and cold, feminine and masculine break down?

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