The diaries of L’Obscurier
The hugely influential artist, architect, sculptor, painter and social engineer revolutionised the way we think about the built environment and then drowned in the Mediterranean
Translated by Danvers Couchmere from the original haughty French
March 07, 1954.
All Paris is agog. At the Ideal Home Of To-Morrow And Beyond Exhibition I shall reveal my latest prototype, The Modern Pod For Sitting-In. It is an audacious essay in contemporary materials: air, space, resonant context, plywood and Perplex©.
An ovoid ‘seatcage’ contains a sitter or ‘occupant’. The walls sweep modernistically up into a Perplex© cupola punctuated with two apertures, or openings. The larger of these apertures allows the pod occupant to converse with passers-by if he wishes. The smaller opening allows for the efficient discharge of cigarette smoke.
Of course a Philistine might say: ‘Dash it, what’s the blasted point of a Modern Perplex© Pod For Sitting-In? The user may just as well smoke his cigarettes and converse with others at the café! Why suffer detention in some ludicrous giant egg? Why, this is clearly the work of a lunatic!’ & cetera & cetera. I respond to the Philistine, so:
A new epoch of bold construction is upon us. There will be marvellous opportunities for the advancement of architect-artists, thanks to the generosity of enlightened patrons and the far-sightedness of manufacturers of New International materials eg Perplex©.
Indeed, I am being handsomely honoured in this regard. I propose building my Proportionate City - a theoretical metropolis liberated from the tyranny of detail - almost entirely from Perplex©. ‘Oho - no detail, M. L’Obscurier? whines M. Philistine, who is almost certainly English. ‘What then will inspire those who live in this severe yet canonical environment?’
I respond, again, so: enormous pieces of Art. Yes, men’s souls will be elevated by enormous pieces of Art. These I shall call Giant Optimisms. Let us move on. Let us move on from chaotic thinking masquerading as folk wisdom. Let us move on to scientific citizenship, with Giant Optimisms!
Of course one does not expect the dull French public to approve the Future. However, one should not have to witness one’s prototypes subjected to open derision. At the Ideal Homes Of To-Morrow And Beyond Exhibition, my assistant Jean-Pierre looks hot and uncomfortable in the Modern Pod For Sitting-In. The only visitors it seems are small boys bent on mischief.
Wisely, Jean-Pierre has closed both apertures, and the missiles from these wretched creatures’ pea-shooters ricochet harmlessly off the Perplex© cupola. I summon a guard to box their ears.
The French public meanwhile stands and gawps at the latest Tele-Vision sets. Imbeciles. In the Home of To-Morrow, Modern Pods For Sitting-In will be as common as antimacassars, long after the Tele-Vision’s brief, babbling life has expired.
At sea. All our household staff are in attendance. There is much work to be done. Indeed, the only persons not on-board The Paradox are the gardener and Mme L’Obscurier, who has one of her ‘heads’.
Today we test my Modern Pod For Floating-In, a watertight (I trust!) version of my iconic sitting environment. This will be lowered, rationally, into the Mediterranean, where it will … nom de Dieu de bordel de merde! The apertures!
Ian Martin is away