7 August 2008

Tate Modern 'Global Cities' exhibition

The Global Cities exhibition at the Tate Modern last summer was not a raving success. Rem Koolhaas talked bollocks about slum dwellers being 'more free' in their architectural choices because they weren't constrained by Evil Conservative Planners - the fact that they're constrained by lack of money and materials, which likewise generates stylistic uniformity, didn't seem to occur to him. Graphs appeared without scales or quantification, statistics without context and sometimes flat out wrong (a 10 km square is not the same as 10 square km, oh innumerate curator). And most of the video works were vague, uncontextualised, and a bit dull.

But I found some pictures on my phone of the cool stuff, so I thought I'd post them:

Nigel Coates (2007) Mixtacity
An artistic reading of urban planning for the Thames Gateway - brilliant because at first the only weirdness seemed to be that the buildings were made of biscuits & rolls of thread; then, as you looked further east, the buildings themselves got stranger and stranger, but so gradually that it all seemed plausible.

A plywood model of the residential density of a city, possibly Mumbia. Pretty but essentially meaningless, given that there's no scale attached. And can the city's borders really be so sharply defined, moing from ultra-dense to barely populated in the space of a kilometre or less? I doubt it. So what's the point of such an impressionistic rendering?

Not sure who this was - Planet of Slums is a Mike Davis phrase, but he wasn't a contributor. But as a signpost of increasing class segregation in the city, it's apt - makes me think of the vitriolic battles over hipster appropriation of Brooklyn, New York.

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