For the guest-curated sets of Project Heracles submissions by Lieven De Cauter and Dieter Lesage, Geoff Manaugh, Saskia Sassen, Bruce Sterling, and Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt, please look here. Elisa Poli is the next of our guest curators to select his favorite entries out of the hundreds Domus received.
And here they are, finally, the Pillars of Eratosthenes in Gibraltar. All of a sudden, there they are! Solid, right, justified, authoritative, undisputed, definitive, theoretical, geometric. It was, according to Sergio Frau, the mathematician and astronomer from Cyrenaica to have moved the Columns as far away as the Strait of Gibraltar. Impeccable conclusion of myth and ritual—the verbal one—measured only in words without the use of a compass which Alexander the Great replaced with a map whose precision was entrusted to the steps—as many as the breadth of his empire—of the Bematists, the Macedonian leader's odometer men. The geopolitics of power put the fate of places in the hands of new technology: physical space and its representation were no longer the prerogatives of past tradition but of future wars. So, from the Strait of Sicily that spoke Phoenician, Western gates migrated to the Atlantic to form a perfect counterpoint to that other channel, the Bosphorus, the Hellespont, theater of Trojan myths in which city walls were as vast as the agony of the hero's corpse. Hector no longer looked to nearby Achilles but to the increasingly distant Heracles; and the Mediterranean changed shape over the very short time in which the new boundaries of the world were traced in Alexandria.
Postcard #166. [above] A reconfiguration of the great economic and political centres of Europe, a new metropolis straddling two worlds, no different from the other except for size and quality. Electric light, symbol of 20th-century modernity, ensures the correct density in the project; at night, the city's visual noise creates more sharply-defined boundaries and transforms the symbol of a shift in the keystone of permanence of cultures in a perennial state of "approaching." Planes take off continually and ships dock in what clearly is the New Alexandria.
Postcard #112. The subway connects the neighbourhoods in the same city—left bank and right bank—parts of an urban fabric that speak a common language, common languages, applying shared laws that vote for the same policy and participate in the same economy. A means of transportation for daily migrations between Europe and Africa contained in a pocket map for transcontinental commuters. Let's meet at 15:30 at the exit of the Ceuta station. I'll be at the top of the escalator on the south side.
Postcard #104. Thanks to these gloves—Francois Perier assures Jean Marais in the film Orphée—you can pass through the mirror as if it were water. The famous scene imagined by visionary Jean Cocteau revisits the Orpheus myth in a psychoanalytic key, using mirrors as dimensional gates between a world aware of the super-ego and the dreams of the id. A device beloved by the great French filmmaker whose poetic power, if cited with discretion, is not lost today. It is not technology for long-distance communication, Wi-Fi or Skype, but a silent and erotic game of gazes that forces the audience—on both sides—into a long wait, into daily voyeurism. Graceful reconsideration of the timing of approaching the other: simple and fleeting thought.
Postcard #57.104 Thanks to these gloves—Francois Perier assures Jean Marais in the film Orphée—you can pass through the mirror as if it were water. The famous scene imagined by visionary Jean Cocteau revisits the Orpheus myth in a psychoanalytic key, using mirrors as dimensional gates between a world aware of the super-ego and the dreams of the id. A device beloved by the great French filmmaker whose poetic power, if cited with discretion, is not lost today. It is not technology for long-distance communication, Wi-Fi or Skype, but a silent and erotic game of gazes that forces the audience—on both sides—into a long wait, into daily voyeurism. Graceful reconsideration of the timing of approaching the other: simple and fleeting thought.
Postcard #15. The Bifröst bridge is a mythological place that Nordic gods used for descending upon the land. It is commonly called a bridge but in reality it is a rainbow. The distance between the earthly and heavenly worlds is based on the rift in power separating the human from the divine. The rainbow is not the balanced scale of justice and good government but a one-way street between poverty and wealth; a myth for those who still believe in the complexity of legend. On one side of the bridge is the poor dreamer and on the other a pot of gold coins that vanishes, however, before the rain ends, before it has touched the ground.
Postcard #111. The legal journey. Nothing changes except its meaning. Concise and effective, we await its coming into force in the Ceuta-Gibraltar tract.
Postcard #47. Many postcards praised the miracle as a solution to problems of intercultural dialogue, showing infrastructure projects with varying degrees of irony through more or less successful symbols. So I ask myself: what is the promised land here since the miracle seems to have already come about? In what direction is the exodus moving?
Postcard #51. In this bridge proposal, the lifesaver, beginning as a specific object designed to save lives, becomes a very pop transitional element. An ironic consideration—follow the instructions for use—on the true conditions of the crossing. Without putting the pained faces and boatloads of illegal immigrants into play, the problem reveals its true relevance, insoluble and difficult to curb, for which only first aid devices can be offered.
Postcard #40. A tribute to all projects that have narrated the cemetery of the "iron whales" with lyrical abundance. The aesthetics of rust and the poetics of inexistent sustainability. The myth of the "machine à habiter" truly seems to have not yet disappeared; perhaps this is the true temporal bridge between the two cultures—Le Corbusier's presumed and prejudicial Mediterranean.
Postcard #144. And if the solution to the problem were not to come from the West? The geographical reconfigurations resulting from the increasing impact of trends in the Asian markets on international policy decisions which the world's entire democratic system is going to face shows how Europe is no longer a suitable place to resolve complex problems. And the law of Archimedes is applied accurately and effectively by a young Chinese architect. Also to be reconsidered is the question regarding on which banks the bridge will rest...