Saturday, February 16, 2008

My site, my story, my building...

I was telling a story about my building and discovered it…


The earth is an archive of man’s successes and failures. The earth is the fabric that connects all of mankind throughout his entire existence. The earth is the keeper of the story of man. Within its depths of earth are the stories of time and place. To venture into such a place would be an experience into the philosophy human existence. If the surface of the earth were to decide to let us in we would find a seemingly endless amount of emotion and passion that has been used to develop who were are today.

Across the globe mankind has forced his way into pockets of buried stories. In doing so we only hear fragments of misunderstood ideas. Today the earth has decided to give us our stories back. Around the planet in cities and villages, in farms and cemeteries the ground is opening; opening is a reveal for the adventurous, curious, or anybody who wants to listen.

A tectonic rift at SW Broadway and Madison is taking place. Accessing from Broadway is an entrance to the archive of man. This archive is connected to many others just like it around the world. The clay and sand link them together across continents and oceans. Coupled with modern technology the language of clay can be interpreted. Through bandwidth we can share the interpretations amongst ourselves. With the power of the keyboard we all speak the same language. Stories once hidden can be rediscovered.

As we walk into the narratorium from the street the city disappears. The threshold really is the entrance into another world. The fissure creates a ramp down into the depths of darkness. The seemingly unstable wall barley holds onto a roof that doesn’t seem to be touching the walls. Cracks of light squeeze in between the roof and wall and forces its way down on the rough walls. The walls are then bombarded with their own hidden stories of light and shadow. The ceiling begins to lower as the descent into the cavern is lowered. Soon the crushing feeling makes you forget the city you came from. You are living in the moment of excitement and fear. The ramp grows darker but there is a spot of light up ahead where the ramp turns to the left.

The walls are now transcending from a rough sheared stone to a more refined, and polished artifact. The heavy ceiling is still low but the frequency of good light increases. Perhaps it’s just because the eyes are adjusting to the darkness, and the walls are reflecting more light now. Each step echoes across the hard surfaces and traverses the space a hundred steps in front of you and behind you all at once. An omniscient sense of time begins to set in. Every step here and now is sending a hundred step into the future and a hundred steps into the past; ripples in time. Again, another corner is rounded and deeper still we go. The walkway is wide enough for two people to pass each other comfortably but not wide enough to be comfortable considering the pressure of the earth above.

Around this bend are low frequency red lights. In the red your eyes can see without losing their night level adjustment. Pilots use this kind of light to read their gauges and study maps while still being able to peer through the darkness in their windows to find their way. A doorway to the left is saturated with white light.

While crossing through the doorway the light is blinding to the darkness adjusted pupils. As the visitor regains vision the narratorium is revealed. A large open space, free from the pressure of the underworld, is where the stage sits. A ceiling of gridded and frosted skylights hovering two stories above reinvigorates the soul with a deep sense of spirituality even if the visitor doesn’t recognize it as such. Light is plentiful and the space is filled with forms of technology to help translate the stories held in the earth. The perimeter of the room is filled with mezzanines that look as though they are trying to communicate. Lights flickering, voices speaking, music playing, crying, yelling, secret whispers; these are all lures that draw our attention. Small rooms on the mezzanines are forums for one or two people to occupy. There may be more in the forum but only a couple in the physical room in this place. Others from around the world may be in the same forum at the same time.

As the ramp up the mezzanine climbs back to the surface the world begins to transition again. To leave this world of stories you don’t simply backtrack. This story is constantly moving forward. The ideas of man should build on each other without having to backtrack. To backtrack would be a disservice to humanity. It means failure. Even if there is a need for change it should take into account the modernity of the world without having to back-step in order to move forward.

The accent begins to reveal portions of the city. Certain portions of the skylights will begin to frame out a building or a stoplight. The fissures in the earth begin to show the breaking up of the narratorium. The earth welcomed the visitor in but bitterly spits you back into the cold, dirty, wet city. The walls once again regain their rough texture, the level of refinement drops back to natural elements. The passage out drops you into the plaza that is the sky light for the world beneath.

In the plaza is a feeling of the spirituality held below the surface. Small glass tombstone like plaque walls map out the layout of the spaces below. The glass has projected onto it the images of the story tellers and the responses from the listeners. The projections are a ghostly form of voyeurism for those passing by who may not know the about the power of the narratorium. Some of the stories being projected maybe from places around the world while some may be what is taking place just below.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Now, this is absolutely brilliant. As I was reading, it was like an existential, but also transcendental, exploration into the modern consciousness. The evocation of the feeling of the place is incredibly strong, yet at the same time, it isn't really about a place. It's far beyond that. Wow wow WOW!!!