mechanical floor

Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society, 2012 by Andrés Jaque. Photo by Miguel de Guzmán via elcultural

 

Mies Van der Rohe has many secrets to hide. His seminal Barcelona Pavilion (Expo 1929), from which we can only visit a distorted reconstruction since 1986, has recently gone through three brilliant interventions that expose a new narrative beyond manicured minimalism: Mies Cruising Pavilion Montjuic, An Unauthorised Exhibition by independent curator/retired architect Pablo León de la Barra and Friends (9/10/2010), Ghost Forest by sound artist/biologist Francisco López (14/06-31/08/2012) and Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society by architect/political innovator Andrés Jaque (14/12/2012-28/02/2013).

 

Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society, 2012 by Andrés Jaque. Photo by Miguel de Guzmán via elcultural

 

The three installations deal with a machinic vision of the everyday. Mies Cruising Pavilion turns the backside of the architectural icon into a sex machine that makes contemporary spaces of gay sexual intercourse accessible for the public eye. Travertine tiles serve as display for a parallel use of the city that surrounds it. Ghost Forest is a series of field recordings in nature that ‘reveal a ghostly spectrum of frequencies of the transposed forest environments.’ Francisco López’s piece consisted of an on-site live mix of these sonic layers, using the whole podium of the pavilion as a resonance chamber. The visitor barely realized that the amplified sounds of birds were coming out from the gaps between the floor tiles. A new space was discovered.

Jaque’s very recent piece communicates a long-term research on the actual everyday politics behind the miessianic object. After interviews with the cleaning and maintenance staff, architects, managers, invigilators of the pavilion, he has decided to bring up all the gadgets stored in that mysterious basement up onto the noble floor. The perfectly calibrated open flow space that Mies once thought about is masterly interrupted by water hoses, ladders, mops, cleaning boots, damaged travertine floor tiles, worn out red velvet curtains, fragments of original beams, cleaning products and a vacuum cleaner. Jaque’s anthropological irreverence perverts the mythical and brings it back to the human sphere.

Ghost Forest, 2012 by Francisco López. image via sónar festival.

 

^ Mies Cruising Pavilion Montjuic – An Unauthorised Exhibition, 2010 by Pablo León de la Barra & Friends.

 

^ ‘Miguel’ and ‘Ximo’ by Paco y Manolo as part of Mies Cruising Pavilion Montjuic – An Unauthorised Exhibition, 2010 by Pablo León de la Barra & Friends.

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