Wednesday, 29 February 2012

200words: roca gallery

“...How long will it be before you are made clean?” Jeremiah 13:27

Zaha has conceived an immaculate space for androids to wash their electric sheep by night, a virtually spotless bathroom where the hash-tag generation can perform their algorithmic ablutions, and where homesick aliens can hang their towels on scripted fixings beside their washbasins 2.0. Melancholic and strangely waterless, it is yet a beautiful thing. With all the sensuality of a conch shell combed from the barren beach of Imperial Wharf. Here is a gem, a cavern of delight, sculpted by the surge and throb of digital streams whose hypertext hydraulically has gouged grooves with a ripple and bubble, smoothed to sexually slick finish. It is a lickable tribute to our present obsession with the body, as much as it is to the erasing of the body in our obsession with cleanliness.

I was struck by the joints and junctions which distinguish this building from its YouTube rendering. This is the work of art in the age of mechanical production, a strange dialogue between us and our robots. Traces of production keep us from complete immersion in this confection, disclosing the contrivance and boasting in machine power. Such concessions in realisation function both as an architectural Brechtian alienation device and a signature that Zaha and her machines was here.

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