Conceptual Cluster 9: Ficto-Criticism

by sepidehkarami

Metro-cable in Caracas by Urban Think-Tank

Metro-cable in Caracas by Urban Think-Tank


The Red-Haired Man

There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears. 
Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically. 

He couldn’t speak, since he didn’t have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose. 
He didn’t even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had no innards whatsoever. He had nothing at all! 

Therefore there’s no knowing whom we are even talking about. 
In fact it’s better that we don’t say any more about him. 

Daniil Ivanovich Kharms

This is a story about somebody who does not exist, somebody who exists through nonexistence. It is a story about a man’s existence and as he does not exist therefore there is no story. The story eats the existence of a red-haired man through description and illustration of how he does not exist. The story and the character contradictorily negates each other; the latter through vanishing from the context of the story and the former through describing his disappearance in the sequences of narrative. The writer brings a nonexistence to existence by describing his nonexistence. In other word, by describing somebody who does not exist he brings him to existence and at the same time by describing his nonexistence he negates him. There is a conflictual dialogue between existence and nonexistence, between affirmation and negation in this narrative. At the end of the story both the character and the story arrive in a zero point of existence and that is how a void is produced; like nothing has ever existed. Ultimately the title is also killed as there is no “hair” because there is no “man”, and “red”, bewilderedly has no place to sit. But while reading and getting to the end there is an intention to go back and read it from the scratch; an intention or insistence to bring both the character and story to existence. There is a struggle between the story and itself, a continuous and fast “undoing” of every given fact by “turning it on itself”, which I believe is a sort of “interruption” –in Anna Gibbs’ term- in the progress of the story. In fact the story eats itself through continuous and fast tiny interruptions in tandem. The voice of the writer interrupts itself.

“Interruption” as one technique germane to various forms of fictocritical practice can also be transformed in the practice of architecture when it is defined as a practice writing on the site. The idea of “fictocriticism” in general can define the practice of architecture that aims in making a gradual change in the fabric of the existing social order; that its intention is not to impose a language of its own but to enter critically into existing linguistic configuration. One challenge is to find and making apparent the discontinuities, ruptures, gaps and silences that lies in the politics of urban space and act within these ruptures to interrupt the continuity of dominant power. I would like to call these interruptions “micro-revolution” through special interventions. They are opportunist actions that are waiting and searching for the exact moment or place of possible action. One of the most famous projects by the architect-activists Urban Think Tank, Caracas Metro-Cable can be a translation of an interruption in a continuity of dominant urban flow.  The metro-cable is an additional loop of transportation, that connect the most desperate parts of the city, the informal settlement to the loop of transportation of the formal city. The stop in the formal city metro is the place of interruption. Metro-cable actually interrupted the loop of formal flow -that is mostly servicing the higher class- by injecting the informal flow that is highly excluded from the right of being in the city and using the formal infrastructure.