Thinking outside the hub, conceptualising a new club
Ian Martin strengthens the international epic space community
MONDAY. I am to curate an exhibition at Rotterdam’s Museum of The Self. It will challenge perceptions of what architecture is and how this affects the viewer, as well as looking at the notion of ‘viewer’ and examining how this might be affected by architecture. I will also explore the psychological overlap of ‘architecture’ and ‘viewer’.
I had thought of blurring the boundaries between ‘curating’ and ‘simply filling the space’ but it got complicated trying to resolve two very different professional fee scales.
TUESDAY. Design an innovative funding platform for community building projects. I’m only using local materials: a pontoon of local social collateral enmeshed in wishful local thinking.
WEDNESDAY. I have been commissioned by a Midlands city council to masterplan the regeneration of its inhabitants. Many residents and visitors hark back to the 1980s and are beginning to look worn and outdated. This is having a ‘negative impact on the specialness of our public space’.
I will of course retain any important historical characters, subject to reinterpretation with contemporary trousers and a wi-fi connection. And I’ll respect human mass, the grain of the majority of people who remain unlisted but NB many older members of the population are developing serious structural defects.
‘Vernacular with a twist’ is how I’m presenting it. Memo To Self: preserve local accents but encourage more Facebook slang, spoken emoticons and rising inflections?
THURSDAY. To the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects. It’s a closed session, as you’d expect. The only item on the agenda is ‘World Domination’.
There are ambitious plans to turn the RIPBA into a ‘global pop-uppable hub’. Smartarse critics will say this sounds like a sinking ship. But I commend the internationalisation of pop-uption. You can’t stop the future from happening, and technically the future is NOW. Oh, you say, ‘technically’ it isn’t, but that’s already a sentence ago and we’ve moved on.
Branding mavericks from across the industry are here, including Samantha HD Ready, the branding maverick’s branding maverick. There are luminaries from the world of cultural envisionment too – Butch Wakefield of Wakefield Gobber Marbles the strategy strategists and Shona Foursquare, whose consultancy has built an enviable reputation for world class delivery delivery.
RIPBA president Molly Bismuth makes it clear that this blue sky thinkabout is not about ‘finding retrofit pop-up answers to questions nobody’s asking. Rather, we should ask about the pop-up questions being asked, so we may then ask what answers might pop up’. Nobody could argue with that.
By lunchtime we’ve redefined the entire planet as ‘Client Earth’ and thought about a kind of non gender-specific hat that might be worn by Architects From The Four Corners Of The World. There’s a heated debate about the implicit conformity of corners, and hats. In the afternoon we sketch out ideas for increasing subscription income – correction – strengthening the international epic space community:
1. Redesign the RIPBA emblem to make it more globally readable. Rampant pandas instead of lions. And maybe instead of putting them either side of some enigmatic drivel, have them flanking an animated avatar of the Shard being built in three seconds.
2. Set up a Twitter account called @RIPBA_Earth then invite the global community to suggest inclusive hashtags.
3. Think beyond global. Think beyond galactic. Think universal. There is no evidence alien worlds are teeming with potential clients, or that these alien clients are seeking terrestrial consultants in non gender-specific hats. But the observable universe has a radius of about 46 billion light years, and that’s a lot of opportunity.
4. Raise awareness of the RIPBA brand in eg China, India and Brazil by relentlessly promoting it in local languages eg Chinese, Indian and Brazilian.
5. Introduce an affordable Global Basic Membership that lets you put the letters ‘RIPBA’ after your name to make you look a bit more important.
FRIDAY. To a conference on the re-use of derelict docks – ‘The Jolly Green Challenge’. Summary: renewal is stimulated by ‘nodes’ of growth; we should think of ‘Harbour Greening’ not as a comic novel but more as a collection of wisecracking one-liners, ‘my dock’s got no nodes’ etc.
SATURDAY. Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Historically Contextualised Reappraisal 0, Controlled Explosion 1. After extra time, clothes-swapping and the systematic erosion of local authority budgets.
SUNDAY. Form a global hub in the recliner.