THE HOUSE OF CRIME – St. Louis, USA
The more you peer through the window, the less you see, said Lao Tzu. The very same Lao Tzu who was placed by the quintessential North American architect, F. L. Wright, on top of the list with his “mentors.” Followed, in the second place, by none other than the Son of God, Jesus.
Strange the relationship between freedom and self-restrain!
The West in particular epitomized freedom with an unending expansion, westward, mostly, since similar attempts eastwards usually ended in disaster.
Thus The United States came into being. But this birth started on the East Coast and progressively moved westwards. We read in some books about the sense of perplexity experienced by the “pioneers” when they arrived on the West coast, as if indeed they arrived at the end / beginning of the world. The eternal recurrence of the same can be, truly, quite perplexing, for the one inclined to think that freedom is an unending expansion, usually linear.
The Gateway Arch by Eero Saarinen in St.Louis was built to celebrate this “great” expansion Westwards. Of course, the indigenous Indians were not asked what they felt / thought about this. While the white man expanded freely in a linear fashion, the Indians were confined to circularity, that is, to the reservation park.
But to return to the Gateway Arch.
With all due respect to Eero Saarinen, a quite skillful architect, this work seems to transcend that sense of measure Scandinavians in general seem to possess. Indeed, this work does have a certain demagogy and triumphalism that makes one wonder… what was, after all, the Great Expansion Westward…?!? Was it a disinterested journey of a dreamy pioneer, or an almost ferocious attempt to run away from old demons on one hand and to discover more gold on the other…?!?
As if to somehow acknowledge a possible truth in what we said, we just read that St. Louis tops the list of the places with most crimes in the United States.
So we ask you to imagine THE HOUSE OF CRIME to be placed right on the “sacred” ground around the Gateway Arch. Maybe the tension and confrontation between THE HOUSE OF CRIME and THE GATEWAY ARCH would create a more balanced view of the “victory” of “conquering the West.” Something maybe more attuned to Nietzsche’s call to sobriety with his words: “Celebrate your victory as a funeral!”
Design THE HOUSE OF CRIME in organic contradistinction with the Gateway Arch. You could even imagine an organic intertwining between the two structures, since we believe the “great arch” does not really tell the whole truth, happy as it seems to be in its technical wonders. You can read on Wikipedia all the technical data about this engineering marvel, less interested in the complexities of a more realistic symbolism and more interested in loudly celebrating something Lao Tzu would have been suspicious of.
Please send us ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that responds to the theme to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish all the works received on our website, www.icarch.us. The deadline is February 15th, 2011.