View current page
...more recent posts
I'm in a mild state of shock: my review of the Xtreme Houses book was censored by amazon.com! Here's what I wrote:
Archiporn subverted, January 14, 2003During the vetting process, the editors changed the phrase "sexual recreation centers" to "inapropriaterecreation centers" (sic). Not only did they alter the meaning, they added a misspelling and a typo! In case you're wondering what I was talking about, here's the relevant passage from page 96 of the Xtreme Houses book:
Within the comforting scheme of the shelter mag "livestyles of the cooler than you" compendium, this book slips in a lot of pointed politics. Atelier van Lieshout, for example, upends notions of private property and public propriety with its communal settlements and sexual recreation centers; its mini-state of AVL-ville, in the port of Rotterdam, was apparently so threatening to the commonweal that it was forced to shut down. Many of the architects are ardent recyclers who make buildings out of such castoff consumer materials as shipping containers and automobile tires. Just as artist Michael Rakowitz taps into the heating ducts and hidden crevices of cities for his temporary dwellings for the homeless (when landlords' backs are turned), Xtreme Houses uses the glossy book format to slide agitprop under the radar of the big business/publishing Monoculture. For those who would confine politics to specialized journals and photocopied broadsheets, this may be disturbing. Also, the book is not typographically cute or "webby," as one writer stated. It has text on the left, pictures on the right, and clear captions; Wired magazine circa 1994 it's definitely not.
[In Atelier Van Lieshout's] buildings, often the bed provides a starting point, as in La Bais-o-Drome, a mobile home dedicated to "loving." At its core is a voluptuous bed littered with ultra-soft pillows and beside it a minibar stocked with mood-enhancing drink. In a similar project, Commune Bed (1998), AVL produced a bed large enough to hold a full scale orgy. Lining the sides of this bed were holsters carrying a selection of pornographic magazines, an assortment of sex toys, plus an array of drink and drugs to help cajole things along.The irony here is that the book flew under the radar of the big business & publishing Monoculture but my review didn't.
Compostopia features a large bed with the capacity to sleep at least ten people, but here the bed looks very utilitarian and implies rest rather than recreation. As well as providing sleeping quarters, the Compostopia construction comprises a small vegetable garden, a makeshift gym, washing facilities, a compost toilet, the produce of which can be used to feed the garden. In Sportopia, a variation of this assemblage, a cage was added for the practice of sadomasochistic sex. Here the effluent from the toilet can be recycled by channeling it into the cage to satisy any visiting coprophiliacs. The basic structure is made from scaffolding poles allowing it to be easily erected at any location and in many different combinations.
Update, 2012: I resubmitted this review with compromise language and the revision was accepted:
Atelier van Lieshout, for example, upends notions of private property and public propriety with its communal settlements and semi-ironic "sexual recreation centers"; its mini-state of AVL-ville, in the port of Rotterdam, was apparently so threatening to the commonweal that it was forced to shut down.