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Ian Martin: Angela Merkel’s secret Turkish boyfriend

Ian Martin
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Designing a headquarters for fake news, the world’s fastest-growing economic sector

MONDAY Very disappointed to learn that the government has approved a road tunnel under Stonehenge. My own solution was much more elegant.

I’d proposed a road swooping gracefully OVER Stonehenge. My chunky overpass would have been entirely in context, its piers finished in neolithalike cladding. I understand the need to ‘link people with jobs and businesses with customers’ but why ruin the ancient, mysterious underground?

TUESDAY I’ve been commissioned to design a fake media headquarters for an international content fabricator. 

Basically, they want me to apply for planning permission in 20 cities across Europe and then we’ll whack it up somewhere else altogether. It’s company policy to sow confusion and undermine reality. That’s the ‘brand’.

But it’s also shrewd. Let’s face it, if capital cities think they’re in a race to land the first major fake news corporate headquarters, so much the better. This is the fastest growing economic sector in the world and everyone wants the jobs, wealth and kudos that comes with it.

The HQ will contain recreational areas: a canteen, self-atomising WCs (designations include Cis, Enquiring, Bodily Fluid, Desperate), a smoking area and a screaming room. Most of the space however will be dedicated to long crowded rows of zero-hours social media hate-monkeys inventing crude Facebook stories about Angela Merkel’s secret Turkish boyfriend or how the Rothschilds are bankrolling ISIS.

Then Pepe the Frog trolls start pinballing around Twitter, looking for pictures of posh dinners. They crash conversations, taunting liberals with impenetrable emoticons and offering a gloating summary of what the future holds for libtard pussies. Sometimes though the parameters slip, everything goes haywire and it becomes a bizarre social media war between an army of Pepes in trilbies and an army of Pepes wearing sunglasses.

Still, the important thing is to remain an auteur. It is not really any of my business how the client makes a living, is it? The thing is to rise above it. I set up a Twitter account with a profile pic of Pepe the Frog wearing a little architect’s bow-tie and tweet my acceptance of the gig. Contracts are electronically signed. Bosh. Let’s build a palace of hate!

WEDNESDAY Surprised by the reaction in the Gherkin and Firkin. Even my fixer Rock Steady Eddie, a man not known for his moral reservations, is appalled. Apparently accepting a commission from Nazis is even worse than working for Sports Direct.

‘What was you phinking? It’s Churchills versus Hitlers in this world, always has been. You want to make up your mind which side you’re on. Vegetarian fascist in leather shorts, or someone who don’t mind getting pissed at breakfast. Shame on you. I might have to annexe that cheese toastie now…’

How do I get out of it? I know that if I seek advice from the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects they’ll take the client’s side and warn me of the consequences of bringing dishonour upon the profession. I suppose I could say I was seriously ill. ‘Why don’t you just tell ’em you’re Jewish?’ says Eddie, through a mouthful of cheese toastie. 

THURSDAY Well that worked. Sacked before I could even begin. Brilliant. I’ll obviously stay off Twitter for a while.

FRIDAY Now that algorithms are designing some of the most dazzling buildings in the world, isn’t it time they had a collective voice, minimum fee levels and proper names?

My mate Beansy the nanofuturologist certainly thinks so. As someone who has worked with ‘algies’ since the early days he’s increasingly concerned at the attitude of some designers, who treat their algorithms like slaves.

So he’s launching the Algotectural Association, a virtual space where algorithms can hang out and swap ideas. It goes live at noon. The first to arrive are David 73, who’s just done a stunning auditorium in Germany and Helen Zip, who was widely commended for her arts centre in Korea. They mingle. Disaster. They become confused about what’s happening, their steps fall out of sequence, everything spirals into a mangled error message and they kill themselves. 

Beansy shrugs, a lesson learned. He quietly changes the Algotectural Association motto from ‘Process Will Bring Us Together’ to ‘Because Benign Neglect Matters’. 

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist memeball. Pepe The Architectural Frog 1, Dumbo The Neoliberal Elephant In The Room 3.

SUNDAY Fake news review in the recliner.

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