Turbulence… ‘Damn…my skirt!’
She nervously tried to wipe off the coffee stain, pushed the button and leaned back the leather seat of Business Class, thinking on white parrots. Brussels was winking underneath. Her feet rubbed smoothly the carpet of the airplane cabin floor…
‘White parrots…why white parrots? Must be that fashion show in Paris last week’.
Turbulence above Europe does feel different from those over Atlantic. Imagine if there was a competition –or even a TV show- where candidates were to win by guessing on which country they were flying above only by experiencing turbulence…but that has nothing to do with white parrots…or maybe not.
It’s all a question of identity and consciousness. Her space is a place of transience. Strangely she could identify a place by its singularity on minor things, the taste of a sugar cube, the smell of a corridor, the edge of the pavement, the warmth of a door handle, turbulence. It is not a matter of memory and oblivion though. In reality, oblivion or aberration of memory –to be precise- is an actual choice rather than a consequence, especially for a female in her early thirties.
It’s all a matter of consciousness and a mechanism of ‘reading’ space. ‘I am a trace over a huge live map’. (Melancholy of solidity activated). Recognising herself as a body of a trajectory over places and time zones made her wonder where ‘home’ is. She couldn’t tell. Her facebook profile indicated Athens as her hometown. Her identity was degenerated to a drivers licence code, a passport serial number and a credit card pin. Along with her, every place she has been into follows the pattern.
Places of identity, what Marc Auge` calls ‘anthropological places’ have worn the mask of spectacle. Places of spirituality are converted into stages of sightseeing and the latter is indicated -if not publicised- the same way as season sales on shop windows.
‘I wish I had bought that hat at the airport… maybe next time… wait… was it Heathrow?’
‘Yes… definitely Heathrow!’
The forces of the two tribes lined up in perfect array on the chess mat floor of the atrium. The space echoed the breaths, the sighs, the slight nervous movements of feet.
The conflict counted decades of juxtapositions with neither improvement nor actual result. Under the ‘shelter’ of the Great Fortress the Neo-Classicists and the Meta-Modernists crossed their ‘pencils’ fighting for the throne of Design World.
The last battle ended with the Innovators undertaking a sacred oath of faith. ‘We shall wear but black till we reign…’
11.00 am. I entered the London Design Museum dressed in total black.
12.30 pm. I called my friend. No answer.
13.30 pm. I found her in the Museum Shop picking on design-napkins, design-cutlery and design-coffee mugs.
13.35pm. I saw it. The little black book of fate was smiling at me on top of a pile of heavy Contemporary Architecture Atlases. I was already in defence. “Why Do Architects Wear Black?”[i] I instantly looked at myself and my surroundings. It seems I was able to make up a complete mystery tale involving a Secret Society of my Kind committed to follow a certain dress code, in order to justify my personal taste – was it instinctive choice rather than taste I cannot tell-. I was in defence. There was a potentially effective psychograph of the gamma in my wardrobe based on my profession.
Totalitarian minds may associate black to authority. Pessimists indicate their sorrow and melancholy. Architects refer to nothing but… themselves? One can find a million notions to correlate; Formality/ Sophistication/ Intellectuality/ Existentiality/ Religiousness/ Simplicity… and the ultimate dress code is still alive. I fear to think I might choose to wear pink dotted orange uniforms when I decide that the battle has come to an end.
I opened the book on a random page…and then another one…and another one. The whole book was in manuscript; scanned, digitalised and printed. Not only our closets were open but our handwriting was also publicised in a form of some kind of statement autographs giving reason the content of that closets.
10.00 am. next morning I entered our Building dressed in total black.
10.15 am. I called my colleague. No answer.
12.30 pm. I put the hammer in my right butt pocket, and left the studio to have coffee.
12.35 pm. I saw him.
A tall 30-something brunet in black was the last in queue in front of the cafe’ desk. ‘People look gorgeous in black’, I whispered to myself. It is not a Question of Design. It is amazing how casual and simultaneously elegant a person –not necessarily an architect- may look in black. I bet his coffee was black too. He smiled back. The longer I had visual contact, the more obvious it was. Black is indeed ‘safe and practical…good and dangerous… mysterious… deep… true… intuitive… simple… real’…
Yes, I did buy the book… and yes, he is an architect after all.
[i] ‘Why Do Architects Wear Black’, (Ed.) Cordula Rau, Springer WienNew York, 2009.