Required Reading, Hrag Vartanian και Lakshmi Rivera Amin, δημοσίευση στο Hyperallergic [20/1/2023]Marilena Pateraki
- Adrian Anagnost writes for Bloomberg that the Modernist design of Brazil’s Presidential Palace, mobbed in early January in an echo of the US’s January 6 attack, might be uniquely positioned to deter protesters and crowds:
The design of those structures seems to have helped stymie their efforts, as Niemeyer’s clean concrete shapes, vertiginous curves and top-heavy piloti columns reject human intervention. Unlike the complex forms of the US Capitol, Niemeyer’s facades offer blank walls of concrete and glass — many of which protesters promptly broke. The ease of entering may have muted the attackers’ energies; with few human targets for their protest, they milled about aimlessly. While footage from DC on Jan. 6 showed bodies clambering over each other in order to grasp architectonic handholds or massing furiously at narrow ingresses to force their way into the building, Brazilian protesters lined up along Niemeyer’s ramp ascending to the roof of the Brazilian Congress building. They may have been yelling and screaming, but they had to obey the spatial logic of the site. Brasília’s forms guide mass movement in ways that DC’s Neoclassical buildings do not.
Brasília is also no stranger to such displays: In recent years, the Monumental Axis has served as a spectacular backdrop for nurses protesting Bolsonaro’s Covid response and Indigenous groups seeking continued land protection. At the same time, its proportions can render political action strangely inert. The “transparency of [Brasília’s] open spaces” limited political gatherings, explains historian Kristi M. Wilson, especially during the 21-year period of military dictatorship, when “the sheer expanse of Brasília made it difficult to organize.”
- This week in architecture-washing, the Saudi Arabian government is continuing construction on the Jeddah Tower and other structures as part of its broader “giga-projects” plan to pour resources into architectural development, Nabih Bulos writes for the Los Angeles Times:
Other detractors level an often-repeated criticism that the Saudi government should invest in improving creaking infrastructure in Jeddah rather than building fancy towers. Recent events demonstrated their point: A few days of heavy rain in November saw widespread flooding in the city that killed two people and forced schools and universities to close; pictures on social media showed cars swept away by the deluge. Earlier this month, authorities warned of more flash floods and called on motorists to stay home. In 2009, floods killed 123 people.
Beyond the forced evictions, skeptics say there is a mentality at work that aims to create closed-off, Disneyland-like communities that function as profit generators but don’t provide the texture of a real city.
- For the New Yorker, Dan Kois delves into the book cover art of Lorraine Louie, whose designs defined an era of ’80s covers:
In 1983, Louie was hired by Judith Loeser, an art director at Random House, to design a new imprint of quality paperbacks the publisher was launching called Vintage Contemporaries. An editor named Gary Fisketjon had been given the brief of publishing literary fiction—reprints and original, never-before-published books—in a trade-paperback format, distinct from the mass-market paperbacks in which most fiction was reprinted. Fisketjon and Loeser wanted the books to look like a series, and to look different from other books. In those days, “covers simply weren’t a priority,” Fisketjon said in an interview with the blog Talking Covers, “or else were subject to mediocre taste or none at all.”
Η συνέχεια εδώ.