The In Crowd

Published in SCI_arc’s Offramp #9.

Lady with the Cigarette: She looks positively like a pickle in that dress.
Man with the Eye Patch: Must have put on a few pounds. But you mean a gherkin, darling?
Lady with the Cigarette: Yes, so very round. What about her kin?
Dancing Woman: I heard she’s still saving up for a crown—in a bit of a money bind.

If Koolhaas’ and Vriesendorp’s The City of the Captive Globe suggests a representation of an architecture of undeterred individuality regulated by the grid, The In-Crowd counters with an idea of interrelation and reaction—an exquisite corpse­exercise— where you might hear or see one fact and ignore the rest. Both are types of collections that reposition or reorganize the known to make the familiar strange. For the OMA project, the collection was a reconstitution and juxtaposition of histories into a spatial diagram of a sensibility. It was a framework that equalizes diverse references from Malevich, Dali, the set of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Le Corbusier, Ungers, et al., neatly isolating them on the grid for later use.

As a collection, rather than being captive, The In-Crowd is fluid. It is less an indexed collection and more a loose group. It is a cocktail party, a place of interchange, associations, random appearances, unwanted advances, a place where ideas and personas both true and false rule. The dual images improvise an oscillating dreamscape, where a who’s who of tall buildings come to gossip with one another, while simultaneously producing a group of shapes that borrow character through reaction. We are allowed to witness the previously unknown excitement of the cylinder! If The City of the Captive Globe is a storage unit, The In-Crowd is a space briefly jolted from the things that are, to the things that could be. Both visions are allegories for a disciplinary architecture dependent on plurality and heterodoxy. While one seeks an implicit control, however, the other finds delight in the game of telephone in which the iconic and semiotic can quickly become makeshift and provisional.