Building Without Content
^ Jesús Gil y Gil in his jacuzzi 1994. Corruption star of the housing bubble in 1990s-2000s Spain. EFE
Trade under inflated values generates economic bubbles. Prices constantly fluctuate and thus become impossible to predict. Like soap bubbles, it is just a matter of time until they burst. A bubble contains the maximum volume within the minimal surface, and the tension of the surface is directly proportional to an ideal stability.
Spanish real estate bubble generated a trend of what could be named as Building without Content. This idea brings Deleuze’s cancerous Body without Organs – associated with true freedom, unstable virtual potentials of the self, endless reproduction of the same pattern -, together with Agamben’s Man without Content or self-annihilation. Analogously, Building without Content (BwC) can be understood either as an object that has had enough from its own content; or as the action of building objects without any content. They are mega- or infra-structures designed to be functional only until the day of the opening, but not rationally planned to last in time. BwC are born dead before birth. Their content consists of speculating with restrictions, rather than aiming to efficiency, functionality, utility or needs. The paradigm of government towards development legitimizes BwC within mediocre economies: create new jobs, reach European standards, become a global reference… As Aguilera Klink defines it, it is the contraposition between the instrumental (aiming a specific use) with the ceremonial (the paraphernalia).
A new web has been launched revealing corruption scandals of architect Santiago Calatrava, and accused, as The Guardian titled it yesterday, for ‘bleeding Valencia dry’. The name of the site created by left party Esquerra Unida is a beautifully dirty pun: calatrava-te-la-clava. In it, we can find a list of disastrous Buildings Without Content, as well as irregularities with his contracts and bills towards public administration budgets.
Here are some other relevant resources on Spanish space of corruption. In Germany, when a politician has plagiarized bits of his PhD, he is obliged to resign. In Spain, when politicians are charged for embezzlement of public funds, they are reelected and can govern again. [Check the updated list of politicians charged with corruption included in the lists of candidates for past election]
Speculation in Spain_Ecologistas en Acción