Sunday, November 15, 2009

the nomadic city

an interview with constant nieuwenhuys by linda boersma at bombsite

has images CN made around his imagined urban environment "New Babylon" (text) a city for Homo ludens freed to romp in their creativity. Inspired by a gypsy camp near Alba Italy, CN saw the ceaseless wanderings of people as attempts to
realize a need "for playing, for adventure, for mobility."

His answer was NB:

"where, under one roof, with the aid of moveable elements, a shared residence is built; a temporary, constantly remodeled living area; a camp for nomads on a planetary scale."

Symbolische voorstelling van New Babylon (detail) (Symbolic Representation of New Babylon), 1969, collage on paper, 55×60”. Photo: Victor E. Nieuwenhuys.

He envisaged a system where all work would be fully mechanized and, living within the meta-construct, we would be free to drift in a timeless state, space becoming an effortless media through which we could move, manifesting our creative spectrum.

"Mobility, the incessant fluctuation of the population -- a logical consequence of this new freedom -- creates a different relation between town and settlement. With no timetable to respect, with no fixed abode, the human being will of necessity become acquainted with a nomadic way of life in an artificial, wholly 'constructed' environment"

While fully in the Situationist's camp CN was, however, criticized by Debord. (excerpt from "Non-plan" by J. Hughes)

i think this is a valid critique of the project, which reaches just a bit too far past the present to ever get any closer to now, but ad-campaigns do change the way people live. Maybe by comparing NB to a Coca-Cola ad Debord was slyly congratulating CN on creating an alternate future that was so rich and compelling that people wanted to live there.

the deliverables are great anyway

Secteur Jaune (detail) (Yellow Sector), 1958, wood, metal, Plexiglas, 9×37 x 35”

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