Myths and Habits in The Improvised City

Last Thursday Julian Worrall’s Llabo hosted a lecture by young Dutch designers Krijn Christiaansen and Kathelijne Montens. The two presented a variety of practical and whimsical projects intended to accommodate public spaces in Tokyo and surrounding areas. Unlike the overly sleek areas such as the Tokyo Midtown or Shiodome, Christiaansen and Montens’s urban landscape projections are palimpsests that incorporate the history and practical usage of public spaces. Their purpose is not to organize (and subjugate) the environment in(to) artificial constructions that conceal practicality, but to adapt spaces for real public usage.  Not surprisingly, the drawings in the presentation looked more like clever child fantasies than organized and sterilized adult designs. They reminded me of Ilya Kabakov’s total installation The Boat of My Life, where he ingeniously presented his life in a shape of a giant boat subdivided into compartments, each storing bits of his protean past.

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