Alter///scrinium. 10 Theses Of The Architecture. Exhibition Part 2011
Domènec Unité. Mobile (Roads Are Also Places)
  • Director: Domènec

    Born in Barcelona in 1962. Works predominately in the field of photography, video, installations and interventions in public space. Also he is a coeditor of the art magazine Roulotte.

    Selected personal exhibitions:
    2008  —  48_Nakba. Museu Memorial de l’Exili, La Junquera
    2007  —  here/nowhere  —  Ca lґArenas Centre dґArt, Museu de Matarу, Barcelona
    2002  —  Existenzminimum  —  Fundaciу Espais de Art Contemporani, Girona

    Selected group exhibitions:
    2010  —  Modernologies  —  Contemporary Artists Researching Modernity and Modernism  —  Muzeum
    Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie / Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
    2008  —  Modern Shorts (screening program). New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.
    2003  —  Kunst & Zwalm. Rosebeke, Belgium

2005,  10 min.
Section:
Alter///scrinium. 10 Theses Of The Architecture. Exhibition Part

Сourtesy of the Artist

So called “Unité d’Habitation”, a block of flats opened in Marseilles in 1952, does not have to be presented after almost six years of construction works. The creation belonging to the post-modernist program is a crowning jewel of conceptual designs belonging to a great architect, Le Corbusier, and in some way it is a try to rehabilitate social and political component of modernist architecture, that is space design idea determined to change the world at a gradual pace. However, “Housing Unit” became a radically different version of a utopian project, since it rejected a concept of living in collective household environment. Unlike commune houses, built under 20’s architectural avant-garde ideology, Le Corbusier’s concept offered some balance between private and collective way of living, turning his creation into a small compact location, where its residents could practically live in-doors without leaving to run their errands. Spanish artist Domènec’s video Unité Mobile (Roads Are Also Places) offers an original and quite witty narration based on author’s interpretation of classic situationism strategies. The artist created a replica of “Unite d’Habitation” and provided it with a transportation mechanism, a part of a remote control toy-car, then he let this installation travel the residential complex route. Author’s intention was to create extraordinary situation that could brake isolation of life style and everyday boredom. Surprisingly, the fact of an “unexpected guest” arrival did not result in any spontaneous or abnormal reaction. Viewers’ attention was short-lived, other than kids’ reaction, since they were less susceptive to strict standards of social behavior. Critical space, designed by the artist, is replaced by the process fulfillment space, that is more relevantly defined as “paralyzed observation”. In its turn this phenomenon being an integral part of reality is very difficult to register even by using a direct, non-artistic documentary-type narration. And at the same time it shows the isolation level of architectural ideas and their fulfillment, by making modernist symbols travel within objectified reality of the modernist project itself. The game initiated by the author cannot be treated only as a hooligan stunt. The artist makes an opposition between the status of “Unite d’Habitation” (a work of art turned into a well-known brand, since Le Corbusier’s creation is one of the most popular tourist attractions) and nomadic nature of a moving object that shows initial creative potential of lost architectural avant-garde. This harsh, though ironic infringement allows to reveal that political idea of modernist architecture had vanished in the sea of never-ending visual speculations and constant images consumption. The housing model with a mechanism is an ark metaphor that could bring its residents to a new historical dimension without controversy and genetic connection with the past, but in the end turned out to be just an architectural masterpiece.