Monday, October 8, 2012

Ashes in the snow

A proper song for this reading, to give a little bit of atmo...

In the past two weeks, I was able to perform a small escapist experiment. By pure chance, I've stayed at my grandma house, in the provincial town. The house is practically abandoned since both my grandma and grandpa passed away a long time ago. However it is still a liveable structure, although it lacks internet connection and the electrical wiring begs for replacement.

The town itself, was a quiet little town but with great potential. It is situated beneath a dead volcano so the scenery and geological structures are very dramatic. It also has a bunch of hot springs and mineral waters that are bottled there. The architecture itself, was old, most of the buildings are built around 1920 or so. Unfortunately, the socialistic period brought the infamous socialistic architecture which is, again, the copy of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret also known as Le Corbusier, mental masturbation, style of architecture which is devoid of all sanity and identity. These buildings are actually, gigantic concrete hives, monolithic boxes that have no connection what so ever with their surroundings. In the US these structures are known as the projects and have many iterations out of which the glass cubes in the form of skyscrapers are the latest one. The general idea behind these monstrosities is to strip a nation of its identity, cause at the time when it was conceived, memories of the horror of World War One were still fresh. The national identity and the whole pre world war one history was seen as the main cause for the war itself. So in a way, this new architecture supposed to strip the nation of its history, thus eliminating the cause for future wars. You know, new building types, new cities...the clean slate. However, this idea was quickly subverted and for one reason only-the buildings were simply super ugly.

But, after the second world war ended, this type of architecture found the fertile ground in the war torn Balkans, and quickly the mindless gigantic box shaped hives started to accommodate new inhabitants. To keep the long story short, the hives hatched the most bizarre behaviour, by creating mindless drones and the one of the secrets of communistic endurance lies exactly in the architecture that produces these drones.

Same thing was done to my provincial town, but the lack of money, stopped the development of the hives.

All that changed, once the mineral water plant was privatised and sold out. For the small town, the sudden cash inflow, meant the only “rational” thing in the free market economy-a housing boom. So the mindless boxing returned. Instead to corner off the historical town centre and make it free of traffic, the overbuilding resumed, wrecking out the architectural fabric of the city. The net end result of this sudden avalanche of modernisation was that in the main street all historical buildings are torn down and instead of yards with trees and flowerbeds new shopping centres and malls were built. The entire city was transformed into the giant shopping mall. And then the sprawl continued towards my neighbourhood. Villas with yards were torn down and replaced with the, slightly scaled down copies of the hives. Those copies were smaller but equally ugly and dehumanising. The yards were paved over with concrete, trees and greenery disappeared and with it the temperature and the noise lever rose.

In order to fill up the void that was created by this, our old friends were brought in. The dogs, the big ones. So the once quiet neighbourhood was transformed into a concrete hive and as the icing on the top of the cake, the noise from the endless barking now echoes between walls of those modernistic structures.

Up on my return to the capital city, I've learned that the stray cat that was living underneath my window, lost all four kittens, due to cars and dog attacks, and that cat colony at the building across mine was destroyed by the new owner with the German shepherd. So instead of one killer now I have two. 

The destruction is complete and once again, points out at the fact that in every process of destruction, dog is always a necessary companion.