Suburban Viruses

Dublin Canyon area housing development, California

Taut’s bright Utopia is present in the ecological fantasies of the sixties, both in their fundamentalist and ruralist version and in the realistic one of urban renovation: the energy crisis – as before the political and social crisis of the ancien régime – generates new city models. But the energy boom of the two last decades of the past century has nurtured a torrential growth of the city, that spreads like the flood of the Dutch metaphor, extending with the gregarious unanimity of West 8’s satirical installation, and colonizing the planet with the viral proliferation shown by the aerial photographs of MacLean. The catholic city of Pugin regretted that the chimneys and factories of the industrial revolution hid the spires and belfries of churches; a century and a half later, the Islamic city of the Turkish cartoon deplores that the skyscrapers of the urban revolution should impose themselves on the domes and minarets of mosques. The religious, cultural or symbolic rejection of the metropolis, however, does not reveal that the Babel of our days is horizontal, and that the appealing ideal suburban communities of times past have been replaced by the covetous metastases that stamp their violent mark on the landscape...[+]

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