Sunday, February 20, 2005

architecture and skateboarders

Photo: Olivier Théreaux

in the grand tradition of pairing two seemingly unrelated topics, this article from canada's The Dominion critiques an art exhibit currently on tour in Canada: Godzilla vs. Skateboarders. while they find the aesthetics leaves a lot to be desired, they think the theory is solid - recasting the uneasy relationship between skateboarders, architects, and nervous city planners. they sum up the exhibition:

The show offers many potential avenues of exploration for architects and city planners. From public housing with integrated skater-friendly half-pipes to art that "subverts the cliches of a formalist organic 'modern' sculpture," the overarching suggestion is that the relegation of skateboarders to skate parks and their marginalization by bylaw is a suppression of a potent critique and a source of linguistic, artistic, and architectural vitality. Quite simply,the show asserts that cities are choosing to reject skateboarders when they have the opportunity to learn from them.

with southern california's strong skateboarder culture and emphasis on progressive architecture, its easy to imagine it would find an audience here. no mention is made of whether the exhibit has any plans to travel outside canada.


At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quoting the dominion piece: "The embedded theoretical text also discusses the privilege granted to "the vertical" in urban architecture and posits the skateboarder as a subversive force that asserts her value in the horizontal plane. Emphasis is taken from the towering edifice and transferred to the ledges, curbs, benches and other ground-level surfaces that surround it."

Aha, but my favorite skateboarder/ architecture juxtaposition is an old Mountain Dew ad that featured a kid using the Chippendale-esque cutout in the top of the Sony Building as a half pipe, then taking the elevator down with a bunch of suits. Vertical indeed!


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