The rise of iTecture; the fall of Auto-Modernism; Darcy in love
MONDAY My new public sculpture Kick Off! has been shortlisted by Manchester City Council. The brief called for a ‘bold, innovative expression of civic aspiration...entrants are encouraged to push the envelope...’
At first I thought they were inviting cash bribes, so checked discreetly with the cultural services department. I was assured the envelope-pushing they sought was artistic. ‘Think Angel of the North yeah, but with like a revolving head or something.’ This gave me a brainwave. I contacted the health and safety people, who said the most effective way to ensure the correct delivery of civic aspiration was to have my maquette risk-assessed by a small team of men in high-visibility jackets and protective goggles.
Now all the spikes have gone, along with other sticky-out bits and sharp edges. The height has been reduced to minimise exposure to severe weather or freak gravity. A 15m exclusion zone is edged by a tall anti-climb fence and CCTV. The sculpture itself now looks like a deflated football on a shallow plinth, but you can’t argue with civic aspiration.
TUESDAY To the Institute of Plasmic Arts with Darcy the architecture critic, for a lecture on Auto-Modernism by Tron Pitney. He’s the celebrated thinker with a book out at the moment and an impressive Afro.
There are slides and video clips and a cool DJ rocking the beat and doing lots of scratching and pointing at the audience with one headphone during Q&A. Darcy and I are uneasy. Auto-Modernism is theoretically very similar to iTecture, an epic space theory Darcy and I are championing for profit. Pitney must be stopped, and fast.
WEDNESDAY Informal meeting with a sulky Tron Pitney. Why should he abandon Auto-Modernism? He has a book out and everything. Darcy casually reveals that iTecture will be globally disseminated by President Obama. And personally endorsed by Michelle. Wap Biddly Pish, the iTectural consultancy set up by me and Darce, has been hired to remodel the White House. There’s a seat on the board if Mr Pitney’s interested...
THURSDAY Middle East fixer Rock Steady Eddie has forced me to attend a shitty boring conference on market opportunities. I say forced, he didn’t threaten me at gunpoint. Though he did open his jacket just enough to confirm the presence of a gun.
‘Dubai: Crucible of the New Eclecticism?’ asks the conference flyer. Summary: No. Dubai: Nexus of International Wankerism.
FRIDAY Meeting of Wap Biddly Pish – me, Darcy and new board member Tron Pitney. We agree upon a central thesis: Le Corbusier was right, but a century too early.
Society is finally ready for machines to live in, and economy of scale, and light and air and all that. Now is a better time to start Modernism because ideologies are no longer shaped and propelled by active political movements but by atomised clouds of vague personal feelings.
‘Let the user speak’ said the early Modernist architects, but look at the era they lived in. Let the user say thank you, was what they meant. Let the user know her place and fetch my dinner. Let the user rid himself of emotional attachments to the past and bloody well pay attention, I am wearing a bow tie. Let the user be socialist.
Oh, I know some architects still imagine themselves to have a certain moral grandeur. Senior figures at the RIPBA, anyone from the ’60s who’s still alive, the Latin Inflectionists and so on. But all that old Maoist disavowal of history stuff is history. Who now remembers the (true) story about how the young Mies van der Rohe had his left eyebrow plucked to avoid making a Gothic arch when he did his ‘haughty’ face? No-one, that’s who. Darcy and Tron nod, uncertainly.
Meeting adjourned for celebratory drinks in the pub, where conveniently we already are. Let the consumer speak, the lines are now open.
SATURDAY Compose Wikipedia entry for i-Tecture. ‘Contemporary architectural belief system incorporating Auto-Modernism [link], lots of IT references, and solipsism.’ I put in some stuff about user-generated spec, unique spaces for individuals created from an open-source matrix etc but nobody reads down that far. The Auto-Modernism link goes nowhere.
SUNDAY Morning in recliner ruined by Darcy’s phone call. Could I look after Bauhau the dachshund for a few days? He and Tron are ‘very much in love’ and have booked a walking holiday in the Lake District. I don’t like the sound of this. Any of it. Especially the dog minding.