The simulated city | Marc Chalamanch


Marc Chalamanch, New York, 2010)
Marc Chalamanch, New York, 2010)

“A place can be defined as a place of identity, relational and historical, a space that cannot be defined as a space of identity not as relational not as historically, one will define not place. (…)”

Not places, spaces of anonymity”, Marc Augé

The cities make up, turned into perfect images, to be able to sham for what the company expects from them. They are camouflaged behind an apparent and wished disinfection, concealing the fact that the life is and is not simulated. They fight insatiably to preserve the purity of his gray, clean and mute walls, which they say are a reflection of the progress, opposite to walls that they speak what his citizens wish, a few walls that look for another “progress”.

El Muro de Berlín, en Bethaniendamm (1986)
The Wall of Berlin, in Bethaniendamm (1986)

The cities are thought for imaginary citizens about protected worlds of males and villains, that they themselves generate; a few cities that look for a vision sterilized of the spaces shared to hide the difference and to dismantle the non-controlled initiatives arisen from the own company. Cities for a few citizens who are submitted to a constant bombardment of premeditations that prevent them from taking the initiative, leaving them as nake spectators of what would have to be his own reality. These citizens are turned into simple actors of a simulated city.

"Tower, Landscapes and contemplations", Kate Kataila
“Tower, Landscapes and contemplations”, Kate Kataila

The simulation is the brand repeated up to the satiety of what there inhale those who direct “his” cities, since it that of Barcelona was a: ” the best shop of the world “. His inhabitants only can move in them under the threat of a great book of instructions, prohibitions and punishments that they try to protect, quite under the euphemism of the public-spirit turned, sometimes, in cynicism. It is the city where it is excluded from all it to turn into the business of some few ones, and to be able like that to construct the city of “they”. A city that departs from the exclusion, which is invaded by eyes that see everything to promise us our safety, eyes that monitor the “villains” – who do not know – and of I happen to you that if they know well whom you are. A “tidy” city, without realizing, for a political sense destined to neutralize the aptitude of the public space to create citizens’ social generating relations.

“The simulation does not correspond to a territory, to a reference, to a substance, but it is the generation of the models of anything royal without origin or reality: the hyperroyal thing. The territory already neither precedes the map nor survives him. In forward it will be bad the one that precedes the territory – precision of the shams – and the one that generates it, and if it was necessary to take again the fable, today they would be the girones of the territory those who would rot slowly on the surface of the map. They are the vestiges of the royal thing, not those of the map, which still survive spread by a few deserts that already are not those of the Empire, but our desert. The own desert of the royal thing.”

Jean Braudillard

The new one, old woman, city fills of zombis that do not look at the eyes, which they do not know of ” good days “. A persons’ city turned into GPS of an urban mute geography. The city of the dictatorship of the short time, of the urgencies of a present that escapes, of a disintegrated territory led by the loneliness. It is the city where we turn into public individuals protected by our masks of codified roles.

“Nowadays, our environment is Ileno of a vacuous brilliancy. AI like the domestic appliances that populate the shelves of a shop of opportunities, our cities have dried off and estan barren. During the last ten years, to the cities they have been deprived of the dampness as if they had thrown them in a gigantic tumble dryer. Though we are surrounded with infinity of products, we live through an entirely homogeneous atmosphere. Our opulence is supported only by this chunk of transparent movie.

The simulated life is formed on the base of the transparent movie that covers the company. For example, men and women detain in certain places, before going home after the work, in order to eat, to sing, to dance, to chat, to see movies, to go to the theatre, to practise games or to go shopping. EI available time and the space in some place between the office and the home to do exercise, for example, in a sports club – are totally fictitious. The people eat up any thing that they serve him as if those plates had been prepared by his own mother; they sing and dance as if they were stars of cinema; they debate topics with whom it wants that it is around it as if they were intimate friends; they go shopping to have good dreams, and act in an artificial space as if really they were running for the field or wallowing in the sea. All this they are simulations, from the space and the actions up to any thing that they could obtain there. Even more, this life and this space simulated have invaded the offices and the houses instead of remaining modestly in a neutral zone since it is the downtown. Our families and our works are now all simulated. Nowadays we cannot distinguish the reality of the unreality.

We have lost not only the sense of the sight, but also that of the taste, the ear, the tact and other senses related to the reality. Already we are not sure of what is really tasty, of what we hear, of what really we feel, etc. Our body has changed, though not us demos account of it. This is like that because the systems of communication strictly between ourselves, or between the consumer goods and we, have suffered radical changes. We have transformed our body in such a way that we can invest the relation between reality and unreality with the simple movement of an image.”

Architecture in a simulated city“, Toyo Ito Jorge Sainz’s translation

When a city hides his own reality and to his own citizens, it turns into the jailer of consumers, instead of turning them into his protagonists. The city is a city when it has citizens, and these are civil when they have the tools to appropriate of her up to making her his. If the city is a mirage of what some of them would like that it was, then this one turns a simulated city that simply hides, behind a thin mirror, his own reality. A reality that on having been ignored and forgotten is deteriorating up to turning into the real and unfortunate protagonist of the city.

"Chantier Barbès-Rochechouart Billboard", Pierre Huyghe, Paris 1994
“Chantier Barbès-Rochechouart Billboard”, Pierre Huyghe, Paris 1994

“I am more puzzled by the way in how the event takes place that in the same event “. Pierre Huyghe analyzes largely of his works the importance of the vision, his processes and constructions, in a company of the spectacle where the subject is constant scourged by the dizziness voyertista provoked by the multitude of images that they him propose. His works try to reveal of what way the persons can react to all kinds of attempts of homogenización or standardization of the behaviors and attitudes (to turn them into consuming liabilities) by means of the construction and reconstruction of the look that allows to escape of the control and the passiveness of the contemporary company.”

The city captivates, imperceptible control, permanent control“, José Miguel G. Cortés (page.159)

Adding up is the only way for a royal city, in order that a city grows with his citizens and finds his own truth, instead of simulating for the one that the world expects from her. A city that can find in his citizens the potential to be what actually is and what no other city can manage to be. A city that he entrusts in if same and in his citizens, more than to reflect in the deceitful success of other cities. A city thought for his own reality, more that designed according to the copy of another distant reality.

“Eventually, the life between the buildings is more important and also more interesting of observing that any combination of coloured concrete and you form edificatorias striking.”

The humanization of the urban space“, Jan Gehl

Puesta de sol en una pantalla de leds gigante en la plaza de Tiananmen el 16 de Enero del 2014, en un día de alerta por alta contaminación en Beijing, China.
Puesta de sol en una pantalla de leds gigante en la plaza de Tiananmen el 16 de Enero del 2014, en un día de alerta por alta contaminación en Beijing, China.

Marc Chalamanch · Architect
Barcelona. February 2014

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