Focusing once again on architect ISOZAKI Arata, who supervised the ICC opening exhibition “The Mirage City: Another Utopia” back in 1997, “ISOZAKI Arata: SOLARIS*” was conceived as an occasion for discussing new urban models beyond previous architectural and urban design theories. While tracing back the transitions of Isozaki’s urban planning projects from the 1960s up to the present, the exhibition showcases a work-in-progress that keeps transforming with the involvement of multiple participants. This is done on the foundation of Isozaki’s latest project, “Zhengzhou City”, which is presently underway in China, and was also featured in “Run after Deer!” as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale at Palazzo Bembo in 2012. The program further includes workshops and discussions aiming to realize media artists’ proposals of the city as a festive space, exploring ideas of the city in this age of advanced computerization, while attempting to establish it as a dynamic “urban form apparatus”.
* “Solaris”: Stanislaw LEM’s science fiction novel published in the heyday of space exploration in 1961. Adapted by Andrei TARKOVSKY in 1972, “Solaris” became a milestone in the realm of science fiction movies that still enjoys a high reputation today.
Our Spaceship Earth is becoming increasingly hard to navigate as the urban environments that bury its superficial layer are getting out of order. What is needed is a new operating manual.
That is because the entire globe has been territorialized and urbanized after the big tsunami of globalization swept the planet twenty years ago.
Some predict that sediment that gathers in the wake of a tsunami will function as a catalyst for the generation of a new “island”.
Taking a cue from “Utopia” (Thomas MORE, 1516) that was allegedly discovered at the end of an epic voyage, I launched “The Mirage City: Another Utopia” (ICC Opening Exhibition, 1997), for which I set up the “islands” Prototype, Signatures, Visitors and Internet. They eventually disappeared again like a fata morgana, and in reference to SU Shi’s poem “The Ocean Mirage at Deng-zhou”, came to be called “Mirage City”.
In the process of the “Mirage City”, the inhabitants of the “island” have been treated as “bios” (Michel FOUCAULT) governed by “Leviathan” (Thomas HOBBES). However, those monad “bios” are equipped with “conscience” and “knowledge”. The cities on the Earth’s superficial layer are now in a state of Hundun (“The Normal Course for Rulers and Kings”, in “Zhuangzi”) — a chaos state.
With the “archipelago” growing into a galaxy, my intention is to create an occasion for discussing collective intelligence and immunitas as part of urban theory, while referring to Andrei TARKOVSKY’s 1972 movie “Solaris” (based on a novel by Stanislaw LEM). The exhibition’s name will probably solidify as a result of this.