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A period of transition

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Ian Martin gives up GPS for lent

MONDAY Redesign the Vatican, giving it a ‘fallible pathos’ Latin overmantle with a terra cotta bossa nova twist.

TUESDAY Spend the day looking at everything in the entire history of art and architecture with a quizzical gaze, then wondering what’ll be next in little Twitter thought-fragments, then turning the quizzical gaze on myself, then settling on a pastiche of myself, then exploring the high-density interior of my fridge in an existential journey of snack-themed enablement.

WEDNESDAY Jamming out some contemporary beats for a bijou six-storey alpine apartment block, like a boss.

The alpine block is in Swiss Cottage, so is hugely contextual already. Obviously it will set new benchmarks in sustainability and innovative design, that goes without saying. I’m not an idiot.

Just as the humble alpine hut defies harsh weather conditions, so my exquisite inhabited crag will be sticking two fingers up at its environment. Asymmetrical profiling and iris-recognition software will minimise residents’ exposure to the cold, harsh staring of passers-by and the heavy snowfall of fast-food flyers that can make the Swiss Cottage climate so inhospitable.

Conserving Earth’s Natural Resources is at the very top of my list. There’ll be loads of ethical spruce and fir involved, for a start. Also, building materials will have to conform to some sort of ‘green quotient’, which will probably have its own sticky label and EU directive.

I will minimise wasted space simply by minimising space generally - indeed, restricting it to an almost unliveable standard - ensuring it definitely all gets used.

THURSDAY Lunch with my old mate Gutsy the graffiti artist. He seems remarkably sanguine about the recent removal of one of his works from the outside wall of Sound for a Pound, a discount variety shop in Tamworth.

‘Diana Princess of Wales Laying A Wreath At An Accident Blackspot Wearing Sunglasses Plus She’s In A Wheelchair’ has mysteriously turned up for sale at a Moscow auction house. I think Gutsy may be in on it, for cash, ironically. ‘Easy come, easy go, my lover. Plenty more where that came from…’

Another stencil - ‘King Kong On Top Of The Shard Swatting Away Architecture Critics In Microlights’ - has already taken up the vacated space. Suddenly, works by Gutsy adorn every Sound for a Pound shop in the country, regularly disappearing into the international art market to be replaced with a stencil with approximately the same value.

Inside the shops you can buy blank Gutsy postcards with a red ‘bought’ sticker for a pound each. Gutsy’s even considering a Sound for a Pound ad campaign in which he’s seen breaking into one of the shops and stealing a selection of bargains.

In Wolverhampton somebody - and here Gutsy avoids eye contact - has stolen an entire Sound for a Pound shop, leaving only a vertical slab bearing the stencil ‘George Osborne In A Onesie Decapitating A Tramp’. A more appropriate building is expected to appear behind it shortly.

FRIDAY In the morning, create a ‘forgotten space’. In the afternoon, have to do it all over again.

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Radical Femgineering 8, Third Wave Memenism 0, after spatial regendering and own goals. Radical Femgineering now goes through to a quarter-final seminar at the Royal Institute of Patrician Arts, provisionally titled ‘Ladyspace: How Women are Baking Delicious Epic Spacecakes the Whole Family will Find Irresistible’.

SUNDAY It’s the third Sunday of Lent and the cravings are becoming severe. This year I have given up GPS.

I have consequently rendered my familiar, knowable world a wilderness. By denying myself a verifiable location on the Earth’s surface I hope to mortify the flesh and, come Easter Sunday, appreciate the higher power ‘up there’ that looks over us, and guides us.

It does mean I’m often late for meetings and daren’t venture into the countryside. But it has allowed me to examine myself deeply, via the medium of watercolours, and has encouraged a ‘rough and ready’ non-GPS approach to site-specific design. For Lent, I am simply pointing vaguely at where my latest masterpiece should be built and handing over the detailed stuff to an intern who - I AM SHRILLY PROUD TO SAY - will be paid in due course and is allowed time off for lunch and the toilet.
Spend most of the day reclinered, suspended in spiritual horizontality and pointing sort of north.

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