Thursday, November 15, 2007

Crystal to L Tower: Reductio ad Absurdum

Way back in July, I lamented the largely positive reception (or, anyway, the not--as it absolutely should've been--negative reception) given Daniel Libeskind's Crystal. The prevailing reasoning, I groaned, seems to be that if a piece of architecture is sufficiently grotesque then it can be justified aesthetically on the condition that it draws considerable (even if largely disbelieving and disgusted) attention to itself. To illustrate the folly of this line of argument, I drew it out to what--I'll admit now--seemed even to me to be a rather overwrought conclusion. I said:
Presumably, this way, grizzly school bus accidents become a manner of success given the amount of gaping and double-takes they elicit from passersby. Indeed, it seems to me that Libeskind should have been very much more successful by this standard if he had just stacked a bunch of cubed units to spell out LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK down the Bloor streetscape. Or, simply, FUCK YOU.
A bit much did you think? Well, get a load of this:

Yes, yes, yes. I hear you. Looks like a big dick to me. Eric at Diogenes Borealis sees this too. But he comes up with an even better interpretation which strikes me as being spang on:
Maybe it isn't a giant penis, but just a huge metaphorical middle finger raised to the citizens of Toronto.
There isn't a doubt in my mind that that's exactly what it is.

(Though, given that it looks as though the thing is facing south over Lake Ontario, I have this awful feeling that there'll be a lot of glib Torontonians strutting about crowing that the L Tower is symbolic of our attitude towards the United States. Dogs and their vomit, what what?)

via Small Dead Animals.

Diogenes also has some good stuff on the Crystal as well.