CNCRT

 

INVISIBLE LIVES

Jeff Wall, After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue,1999-2000.

We are born somewhere in Europe. 
Where? Perhaps doesn’t matter.
We share a common story.
Our teenage years pass taking courses:
Arts, sports, math, catechism and summer camps.
We are told to learn English. We do.
We are told to learn Computers. We do.
Then forced to have an iPhone. 
We make friends and play with other kids,
While our parents watch our future.
They want their sons and daughters to become doctors, lawyers and architects.
Never artists, musicians, painters and hippies. 
They pay our school and university bills.
Where all their money goes?
We get rules to follow.
“— Finish your homework!”
“— Study, You should be the first in class!”
“— Work! Do not waste your time!”
We obey; we become responsible.
Discipline and daydreams. This is our daily “meal”.
We imagine prestigious careers.
(We had to study, intellectually or not).
We want white-collar jobs.
We do, but we become precarious. 
No collars: at least backpackers.
We meet colleagues and make friends.
A lot of smileys. We all are beautiful.
The more we travel, the more we meet similar to us.
We ask, how do we work?
As us. Perhaps too much…
Projects, pain, exploitation, smiles, anxieties: it is our University Life.
We don’t’ sleep that much. 
Be responsible, do not go out, do not love, do not have time, hurry up, do your exams.
Projects, pain, smiles, anxieties: it is our Office life.
Common lives everywhere. USA, EU and WWW…
Sorry. EU is a daydream, while World Wide Web a daily place to join.
“— Hurry up! Where are you at?”
“— Be organized”
Send this mail. Print this stuff; Clean your desk.”
I cannot find my name in the project”.
No 48 hours per week. No weekend. No holidays: It is our working routine.
We don’t’ sleep that much.
Do not go out, do not love. No time, no social life, no family life, no sexual life?
Architect or Student? What’s the point?
We are invisible.
We do 5 years of University.
No more than 5 years in an Architecture Office.
And then? Another office with better pay?
Money, get away.
Get a good job with more pay and you’re O.K.
Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream.
(Sorry, my parents called.)
How do we live? Parents still pay that bills.
We learn all new kind of computer programs and tools. 
We write emails, messages, reports and papers.
We learn how to format PCs and access servers.
We learn how to be engineers, lawyers, secretaries.
We were optimistic.
We wanted occupation and stability but we surrendered to constant change. 
Every month and every year. No prevision.
We travel – low cost planes, metros, trams and cities.
New colleagues and more smileys.
Other dreamers, other invisible lives.
Where do we go? – We ask.
What for? I forgot.
What was the dream? We have to go back to work.
8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of leisure was Fordism.
24 hours of work is Life.
Is this our dream?
No, it is capitalism.
We hate this shit 🙂
A skype call on Sunday night. 
New colleagues, New friends, But no smiles.
What are we?
Designers, architects, thinkers, entrepreneurs, vain and eternal-students.
Are we foolish?
No, we organize, we struggle and we cooperate:
Mies was a white-collar?
Le Corbusier not.
We loved him. He loved to be precarious.
Our History is full of singular authors.
We all know what they did, but not how they worked.
Could they have been collectives?
We are. It is how we work.
No matter what we do, architecture follows this principle.
No matter what we do, everything is self-referentially.
(We know, it is a negative thing!)
We have no employees, no-hierarchy, no authors.
It could be Mies-like, Graves-like or Jefferson-like,
Finally, no-author-like but all common like.
Collectively.

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