City Bild

Urbanism Divison of the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation, OECD. The first exhibition about a research project: 'Cities as Bodies'
September 14 – October 5, 1990

Exhibition view: City Bild, Esther Schipper, Cologne, 1990

Photo © Lothar Schnepf

Exhibition view: City Bild, Esther Schipper, Cologne, 1990 

Photo © Lothar Schnepf

Exhibition view: City Bild, Esther Schipper, Cologne, 1990 

Photo © Lothar Schnepf

Original exhibition invitation (recto) 

City Bild

Urbanism Divison of the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation, OECD. The first exhibition about a research project: 'Cities as Bodies'
September 14 – October 5, 1990
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You can build structures based on the principles of the body. 

 

One cannot realize architecture with paradigms from only one sex.

 

The body is delimited by its skin, itself stretched taut by muscles and tendons. This is in turn delimited by clothes. The act of clothing is the first architectural act.

 

From the clothing on out we proceed with the formation of kinesthetic experience in space. Extension from the body in space, achieving architecture, proceeds through the act of adding skin, enclosing self. 

 

We are not licensed to practice architecture, but the architectural profession is not licensed - not enabled by law to produce an architecture generated from desires of the body. It is not able to produce an architecture which manifests how the body wants to work – how it stands, how it jumps or runs, how it moves.

 

We generate from our primary investigations a new, and possibly disallowed, methodology of building. The situation is exploratory. Without an established body of knowledge or practice, we let no person among us take charge. We enter uncertain terrain.

 

We seek to build on our experience and discoveries with real-world constructions, engaging real-world funds, so we declare that our intellectual property in this project is common, to be owned by a corporation, and that the specific works produced by us are held by us as a corporation.

 

The name CITY BILD, as a label and area of research. The company is the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation, or Ocean Earth, or, as somewhat-aggressive acronym, OECD

 

Eight years ago, OECD mounted its first exhibition in what was then also a primary investigation, a new, and possibly disallowed, methodology of building. The situation was exploratory. Using concepts such as SPACE FORCE and TELEVISION GOVERNMENT; we entered uncharted terrain - and we achieved a consequence in the real-world of historical dimension.

 

This first exhibition, of CITY BILD, first images potential cities for the living and engenders the on-site projects, the realistic technologies, that then construct potential cities.

 

Underlying all is the drive for Futurist Body Madness. We seek to build membranes, then force and equilibrium fields, which enhance the sensations, even the abilities, of the body. We work with forces taut, forces loose and extendible, forces continuing the kinesthetic dynamics of the assemblage of tendons, muscles, nerves and tissue around an ever-collapsing skeleton, not as a static structure able to stand, that is the body?

 

Knowing ourselves, we take what seems to be the two body actions: stand/walk/balance, or fall/run/leap. What else is there to do with a self in this life? With a body?

 

Cities as Bodies is a research project. It arises from efforts throughout the century to build a new vocabulary of construction. Nothing yet is being achieved in real building. But, as mandated by the 1980 corporate charter of Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation, all is directed towards real building, of entire cities, drawing upon ideas of Futurism, Constructivism, and Mega-structural Fantasies of Metabolism and Post-Metabolism in recent decades. A clean break is made away from Modernism, along with attendant Post-Modernism, or other historicist references. A clean break is made, further from objectifying the Building, and of regarding the Building, the Edifice, as a Work of Art, or perhaps less, Design. We are not interested in buildings. We are not even interested in 'cities'. We are interested in the body and how it feels amidst other bodies, in space. 

 

Although there is much precedent here, and although there have been many influences, including most pronouncedly research for projects of Gordon Matta-Clark, based in turn on projects of the Constructivist Leonidov, as conducted in that eminently alterable fantasy-city, Los Angeles, we take our cue for this research from questions posed in 1989 by Ocean Earth founding shareholder, Eve Vaterlaus.

 

She asked, at a party shortly before we embarked on our first survey of the Persian Gulf, what could be the implications in architecture, the Meaning for US ALL, of variously attempting to move, and be attractive, or have self-assertion, in clothing. 

 

Discussions followed, essays followed, and it was concluded that:

 

1)    Architecture is not something to just look at, but something more, to move in;

2)    The first act of architecture is putting on and moving around space within clothes;

3)    A quintessential first manifestation of architecture, a most dramatic effort at organization of movement of the body in space, is the design and wearing, chiefly by women, of the corset. 

4)    Primary research on these questions, and on all aspects of body relating to space first through clothing, would be conducted chiefly by women. 

 

The need for such change becomes evident from the condition of present cities. Despite the maxim of Leon Battista Alberti that architects must first assure that cities have clean air and water, not one industrial city today, given the use of polluting fuels and toxic wastes, can claim to be well built. The fuel base at least must be totally changed. And with this, as the editor of Architecture d'Aujourdhui remarked of Ocean Earth, an economically practicable plan emerges for the building of infrastructure that ecologically works. Here is our objective. 

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