martes, 8 de julio de 2014

Alexander 300 / the outburst of a metropolis

Alexander 300 / the outburst of a metropolis

Alexander 300 / the outburst of a metropolis

Trying to figure out why certain things work and others become part of a compendium which amounts to the potentiality of becoming that which was apparently left behind… and yet engenders a series of possibilities where time can only determine substantiality.

A swirling pool of ideas taking into account, it’s the mere action as a form of abstraction, particularly from time. The origin of language can be comparable in how the building blocks of nouns and adjectives through the conjugation of a verb can circumscribe a new beginning, the genesis of an idea.

A starting point has been thought-out in how to catapult a series of visions. Three hundred visions to be precise have been carefully sequenced in order to convey a predicament that represents in the long run, an element of resistance to predominant external forces. Forces usually identified with a mainstream where “traffic of influence” is the leitmotif of sorts inducing to what I consider unattained confusions. Most certain, is how applied arts have been purposely confused with fine arts! Falling in the danger of shifting predictability with unpredictability and even worse, functionality with transcendence…

From the time of the Punic Wars to the emancipation of the Hellenic Period, a constant ethos was sustained originally embraced by 300 souls whose sacrifice at the Battle of Thermopylae led by King Leonidas I 480BC, determined to a great extend the tenacity of what came to be to a large extent Occidental Culture!

Tenacity galvanized by Alexander the Great who stressed and put forward the idea of transculturation, where even today, more than two millenniums after the fact; he is still referred by to those cultures he affected as: “Alexander the Macedonian”. This level of eclecticism is light years away from current societal homogenization where everything has become a concept of design as part of a franchised business model! Nothing, not even anything manages to escape from its tentacles, even exuberant expressions associated to city planning like Dubai falls under the curse of franchise entrenchment, not to mention predictability.

The above is a sad reflection why great cities in cotemporary terms: Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, London and New York all start to look alike from the perspective of an elite consumer who is satisfied with the same flavor and seduced by the same aroma. In fact, one shouldn´t be surprised if they turn out to be the same person or affiliation in every city!

Nevertheless, as in all things, trends obey to a pendulum movement. An oscillation which facilitates the opportunity to strike back very much like Alexander´s hammer and anvil tactic of cutting through a dissipated flank. Napoleon who was thought to be invincible fell for the same by overextending his flanks at Borodino with a Russian army which was outnumbered three to one!

To question ourselves over and over again, what is that thing we are striving for can be part of a permanent devastating landscape even if for the majority is something completely unnoticed. Comes to my mind how certain models are been delivered as something fresh and innovative, when the palpable reality is a rehash for the twentieth time version of some Barcelona Pavilion or Bauhaus reminiscence or any derivative as a reiteration of the same over and over again! Nothing wrong with Walter Gropius, it’s just the mere feeling we need to urgently move on…

In the case of Latin-American capitals, certain references have been resumed where cities like Mexico City or Buenos Aires give lead way to a pre-Hispanic model intertwined with a Viceroy in the case of Mexico and a colonial abundance forecasted with a strong European migration in order to conceive the prospect of a city like Buenos Aires. Poles, north and south have been the cultural melting pots which reflect upon an insular western city like Santiago, Chile.

Our concern are what decisions can be made in view of a city as insular it might be surrounded by the Andes mountain range from the east, the Pacific Ocean westward, topped by northern Atacama desert and embraced from the south, by Patagonia’s cold rainforest archipelago, is literally pushing itself to a business center appealing standards of living differentiated from the dominant northern ring.

This counterpart of a southern projected globe like Nicolas Desliens 1566 upside-down world map appears to be a shift from the stereotype and hopefully, the already identified encasements of globalization. Many challenges lay ahead with a required new dialogue on interior and exterior habitat. The sustained increment of commercial districts like La Dehesa, Nueva Las Condes, Vitacura, El Golf and Costanera, are been filled up with class A buildings while the traffic congestion is coming to an alarming tenfold in the past 40 years from 150.000 to 1.6 million at a 5.6% growth rate.

Some of the answers are part of a reciprocal branching out from the city to regional Chile, not only from the assumption of decentralizing Chile´s 40% population density in its metropolitan area, but also, intrinsic value associated primarily to the nations geophysical dimension and its implications in the realm of a future environmental economy.

The idea of green great estate investment like Douglas Tompkins Pumalin Park in Northern Patagonia or an ever growing boutique model hotel industry is captivating not only the imagination of Chileans, but a series of foreign entrepreneurs who foresee Chile as a quite promising destiny. In return, a sentiment of identity and sense of belonging is clearly a differentiated added value which can be reflected for example upon large commercial spaces in the form of permanent public installations or more intimate interior space installations for captivating working and/or residential spaces.

In this respect, Alexander 300 is a particular glimpse of what is, how it relates by contrast and how we conceive the virtues of a future prospect of what could be… I leave to the spectator foremost, the prerogative if time is still in our hands and how the necessary empathies can be established through the eyes of the beholder.


Atelier Alexander Sutulov
Santiago del Nuevo Extremo
July 2014