The Crowd and the Void


The multitude exists only because the void does, and the impact of its presence in architectural frames comes precisely from the contrast with empty space. Tienanmen Square on two consecutive First of May – the second one of them coinciding with the SARS epidemic – serves as an exact portrait of the capacity of plagues to decompose the social fabric; the concentrations at the Washington Mall or the Peine de los Vientos show the role of the landmark – the obelisk, Chillida’s sculpture – as symbolic magnet or geographic referent; and the contrast between the squares of the Amsterdam playground and the Navarrese demonstration eloquently shows the choral language of bodies, festively accompanied when scattered, dramatically alone when in a group. The round image of the meeting at the Ciudad Universitaria de México and the concert under the Art museum of São Paulo underscore at once the importance of the built stage and the arbitrary nature of the pretext, ironically revealed in the naked mass congregated by Tunick in Helsinki or the installation by Gormley in Malmö. But maybe what we need is precisely a hole, an empty space or a circle of blood in the ring of history, always busy with unanimous multitudes...[+]

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