Thursday, December 25, 2008

The power of rumor

You were told that Marie Antoinette suggested the starving Parisians to eat cake if they have no bread. That was just a rumor. In fact, it could be Marie Therese, or any of the numerous 18th-century ladies who would have said that. The story could even be entirely made up for propaganda purposes against the royal court.

People like to gossip about things. During this process, guesses become certain, and fabrications become true. The Chinese are pretty sure that the Bird's Nest was conceived to appear like a bird's nest. Some people start from there and criticize: "Why do we have to use 45,000 tons of steel and build a stadium that looks like a bird's nest?"

Even so, people in general are still very proud of the Bird's Nest - it has created such a spectacular stage for the Olympics. Also in Beijing, the new CCTV tower is not so lucky. "That building looks so strange... Don't know what it looks like..." OK, a building must look like something. "Boxer shorts" becomes the nickname of CCTV. Nobody cares about the "coherent loop of TV-making" sh*t - it just looks like a giant pair of boxer shorts. Some people even say that this weird form comes from the original intention of this foreign architect to make fun of the twisted Chinese media...

Architecture becomes merely images for the general public, and it has to be figural. If you are lucky, your design looks like a dragon, a jewel box, or a cloud. If not, it could become a tomb (National Opera), some cofins (Guangzhou Baiyun convention center), or genitals. But hey, look at the bright side! At least right now, architecture is a gossip-worthy subject for them!

No comments: