The city as game | José Ramón Hernández Correa

One of the movements of forefront? Of the half of the 20th century International Lyricist was. I had not heard speaking about them, and I am finding out now, reading the book El Puño Invisible, by Carlos Granés.

The dadá and the surrealism left his seeds of unpredictability, illogical and I take things as a joke, that, joined the boredom and the lack of spiritual and intellectual horizons of after the Second World war, generated movements of the most diverse thing.

I will not do here a summary of International Lyricist, but only I will refer brief to one of his urban development expositions.

Ivan Vladimirovitch Chtcheglov, in his Form for a new urbanism, promoted the urban radical renovation, in order that the city was formed by spaces arranged for the adventure. The city was to live, and the life was game and excitation.

In the same line, Gil J. Wolman preached the unitary urbanism, which understood the city as exciting space, against the boredom and the borreguez of the middle class.

Naf Naf de primavera 2011
Naf Naf spring 2011

I copy textually what Granés says:

“Between his offers they were asking to make the meter opened in the night, when it was stopping the traffic of trains. Also that were kept the corridors and the routes badly illuminated; that were opening the roofs of Paris themselves to walk along them, conditioning stairs and creating gangplanks where it was necessary; that were leaving the opened gardens themselves 24 hours; that were installing switches to themselves in the lampposts of the streets in order that the public was deciding the degree of lighting; that were changing arbitrary the indications of stops, destinations and schedules of the trains to favor the eventful destinations; that suprimieran the cemeteries and they were destroying the corpses; that were abolishing the museums and the most important works of art were distributed by the bars of the city; that was giving to himself free access to the prisons and there was contemplated the possibility of turning them into tourist sites; and that in addition were resigning the distinctions between tourists and prisoners and even were avoided a period of imprisonment between the visitors.”

It is not bad, truth? We take it as a mere suggestive provocation, ado, and do not give him any importance. Four madmen.

Plan Voisin de Le Corbusier
Plan Voisin by Le Corbusier

Nevertheless, the ludicrous and tremendous Plan Voisin of Le Corbusier has explained thousand times in the school. Nobody took it seriously ever either, but it does not remove it in order that the Corbu continues being respected and even there continues being called he a rationalist.

Le Corbu happened to him to say that the center of Paris was an obsolete crust and that point was necessary to destroy it, and nobody had the value of reírsele in his face. In addition, the gentleman Voisin, manufacturer of cars, him financed the blurred one and the models.

No mayor thought not for a moment of noticing him, but Le Corbu obtained reputation (for what was an expert) and that still today continues speaking itself of his idea in the schools of architecture of the whole world. So, set to say foolishness, they make to me grace great more those of the lyricists.

Le Corbu and so many people others were claiming that a rational city would make more rational to the company, and the lyricists were thinking that an eventful and ludicrous city would make his inhabitants eventful and ludicrous. The two were committing the same ingenuous mistake of thinking that the space had the power to form the souls of the people. (As architects, all we think this way about certain way).

The rationalism voisiniano of Le Corbusier is of such a simplismo and it would generate tantísimos problems of all kinds that one prefers to the lyricists trucando the signs of the trains in order that each one goes to where it gives him.

The city of International Lyricist is the city of our youth, of the youth of all. It is the city where we have got lost by night (already so many years ago). It is a city of amusement and of adventure, of go well together, drunkenness, laugh, confusion and joke. But her of Le Corbusier… Do not be what to think. I do not want to say that it should be that of all the sad suburbs of all the big cities of the world, because they her have spoilt and committed adultery and he does not have the fault (too many times one has thrown the fault of everything to the modern architecture), but yes that is a simplification and a trivialization that reduces the city to the problem of the traffic and a couple of things more.

None of them was thinking seriously that his offer of city was managing to curdle. They were thinking only about the polemic, about the propaganda, about the discussion. Le Corbusier was much more forceful (and more ready) that the lyricists, and his idea (distorted, prostituted) has imposed partially.

The lyricists only have won in the theme parks. Probably it is because of it for what the people want to go to the theme parks.

José Ramón Hernández Correa
PhD Architect and author of Arquitectamos locos?
Toledo · april 2012

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