The Allegory of the Wallpaper
The story that follows, constitutes an allegory. It takes place in an undefined time and place. It represents ideas and conceptions. Any resemblance to reality (characters or events) is not at all coincidental; it is contrarily deliberate.
Once, there was a city built in the middle, and specifically in the exact geographical center of the Land.The city had no particular beauty, no coastline, no riverfront, neither a forest, nor a valley. It was merely erected on a strategic point, facilitating connection and commuting with the entire countryside. It had been developed along a main city axis, being oriented from north to south. An arcade aggressively intersects the main axis, that connects both sides from west towards east. The East side and the West side were identical twins.
The architecture was mainly generic, the buildings were erected to accommodate the city’s growing requirements, as a newly declared administrative capital, of a lately declared independent state. A few interspersed features, serve as landmarks and as reminders of previous colonial times. An uninterrupted Renaissance fortification encircles the city. A Venetian column, an arch, an Oriental bath and a Gothic cathedral, constitute some of its architectural spectacles. In modern times, when our story takes place, architecture has relinquished a redundant, generic expression of the recently declared administrative capital.
Similar to other cities, built adjacent to a beautiful natural landscape, our city desired a chance to stimulate and provoke the citizens’ life, architecture and urban growth. The City council, agreed to decorate the city with a Wallpaper! The idea was instantly seized upon by everyone, in a group-decision-making process. Once the decision was made, a troop of renowned architects and artists from all over the country responded by springing into action. Hundreds of donors and organizations, placards and logos were already placed adjacent to the freshly depicted landscapes. According to the sources’ testimony, the construction was developed into an on-going endless process, where artists kept depicting even seasonal changes.
Suspended along the center, the newly created Wallpaper was screened on both side of the city. A polyphony of various sceneries, - mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls and Amazonian forests- composed the landscape. The ongoing creation leaves the artists overcome with satisfaction
Architects reacted to those sceneries and sensitively adapted their architecture, in respect to the depicted landscapes. That was a turning point in the City’s evolution; whereas the Wallpaper is screening ideas reflecting architecture, and vice versa.
The wallpaper became a continuous confrontation of a dynamically changing city to an imaginary world: a collective excess of imaginary landscapes overlaid upon each other - an accumulation of the city’s public fantasies.
With the passage of time, people seemed to be pleased. The Wallpaper has evolved and daily updates, undergoes change from an animated painting to an information board. Newsletters, updates, announcements and advertisements have been integrated among the natural features. Architecture demanded to digest, adapt and reflect on an surplus of information, projected on the Wallpaper.
The people’s council did not take into account the undesirable outcome that the Wallpaper, suspended along the middle of the city, would create a division. The presence of the Wallpaper as a visual obstacle, led both sides to grow apart, creating a confrontation between them. On the other side, the Wallpaper depicted correspondingly different sceneries. While screening at both sides different ideas and backgrounds, both parts, (initially sharing the same history), are now confronted with different aspirations for their future. An aggressive megalomania, a massive building and a developing operation while both emerging and growing in height, are more and more confrontational to their alter ego. Year after year, heavily exposed and absorbing that information, the City ended up as a visually non-comprehensive settlement with significant changes on both sides. Space became the battlefield of conflicting ideologies, materials, typologies and structures.
An alarmed awakening of the City facing a blank Wallpaper to the echo of sirens! The scenery was covered over with white paint and ‘’out of budget’’ was written down in bold letters. A newly powered domain established new rules, giving an end to the madness of the Wallpaper. A congestion of cars, horses and people is queuing to view the blank. An absolute emptiness! Only the delirium of the people, the whinny of the horses, and the noise made by the cars, fill the scenery with substance. Any sense of vision is gone. A feverish ‘Horror Vacui’, a colorless end on the pantone of the City’s horizon, a farce that led the city to be known, as: the city of the lost History.
With the passage of time, the Wallpaper’s layers are scraped by people, or washed away by the rain the wind or eaten by termites, gradually revealing different landscapes. Stories from different eras are surprisingly appearing, and again the city rediscovers its history. Like an ‘’exquisite cadaver’’, images are collectively revealing and assembling compositions. History evolves, like a dream from which there will be no awakening, like a lie that was recognized as an undeniable truth.
The space along the Wallpaper’s line paradoxically divides and simultaneously provides space for contact: a Space, where collective memory has been recorded, where a City can pursue its identity. That’s the moment, where the History of our time can be reconstructed…