This contribution is part of “In Context,” a series that features guest curators who browse the archives of MAS Context, uncovering new relationships between articles and establishing new topics.
Lately, a series of spatial mementos have appeared in our cities. Closed or empty urban spaces remain as scars of a time of abundance that may not be the same anymore. The result is a sense of emptiness, enhanced when talking about high density cities, that can be traced in different contexts; no matter if we read the city under it’s “public works” or as the place for “summer amusement.”
In “Empty Amusement,” a photo-essay by Yosigo we can travel through the emptiness of different amusement parks around the world and even feel the loneliness transmitted by it’s big, isolated structures. In this travel, our next stop is the abandoned mid-century public schools of New Orleans. Francine Stock wonders about the future of what once was an example on avant-garde architecture and now is nothing more than a collection of obsolete buildings. Photographer David Schalliol’s photo-essay “Isolated Building Studies,” remarks on the importance of the relationship between the current economic downturn and our built environment: nowadays it is more and more common to find empty, abandoned buildings in our cities, which easily can be the landscape of a Kafkian book in an existentialist context. “The Chicago Freight Tunnels” by Bruce Moffat talks about the differences between a normal subway station, filled with a crush of humanity during the day and the old freight tunnels, built in the early 1920s, most of them now lying empty in the bowels of the city. We finish with Maria Moreno-Carranco’s article “Publics Works,” which shows how we are able to transform the concept of emptiness through the practice of “spatial appropriation” in the urban landscape. As Moreno-Carranco points out, there are so many possibilities of transformation and subversion of the intended use of urban space. We see this last stop in our MAS Context travel as a provocation to re-think how can we transform emptiness and use it as a catalyst of relational infrastructures, which can be materialized through real citizen participation.
Photography by Yosigo.
Issue 6 | AMUSEMENT SUMMER 10
IS THERE A FUTURE FOR THE RECENT PAST IN NEW ORLEANS?
Essay by Francine Stock, president of DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana.
Issue 8 | PUBLIC WINTER 10
ISOLATED BUILDINGS STUDIES
Photography by David Schalliol.
Issue 3 | WORK FALL 09
THE CHICAGO FREIGHT TUNNELS
Essay by Bruce G. Moffat.
Issue 9 | NETWORK SPRING 11
Essay by Maria Moreno-Carranco.
Issue 3 | WORK FALL 09