Kulturtipps von Uli Rothfuss
der traum vom raum -
Cendrars, Corbusier, Chevrolet.
An essay on modern times made in La Chaux-de-Fonds
Présentation à l’occasion du congrès 29 – 30 / 10 / 2010
"La Chaux-de-Fonds – Chandigarh – Brasilia. Utopie et réalité de l’urbanisme au XXe siècle".
Is the fact accidental that three personalities have been born in the same location, La Chaux-de-Fonds, and time period, last quarter of 19th century, but started as original missionaries of modernity from here? This essay raises a hypothesis: the three carriers reveal a kind of mission of modernity. Despite of common motifs the three missionaries create very original roads to future (rue de l’Avenir). It is quite clear that the three tracks of life stories are similar to scenarios to future of real developments, which we can evaluate from an outlook after half of century of modern urban developments. Who is the most successful of the three heroes?
Evidently the most pervasive force of modernization is the mobility rush of Chevrolet who was the ingenious constructor and pilot of car races in the USA. He seems to be the incorporation of the mechanics of speed and mobility imagined in the poetry of Cendrars. Corbusier freed the habitations from its chthonic conservatism, mutating its grounding in the earth into a paradise like life in the air. Finally Cendrars is like an oversea bag of poetic and prosaic imaginations. Comparing the three locomotives to future an essential difference is elaborated: Chevrolet fits a mono linear trajectory to modernity, i.e. the absolute predominance of speed, mobility and traffic systems all over the world. Opposite to him Le Corbusier elaborates a multiple trajectory; in his work modern urbanism and architecture is basically influenced by the memory of archaic forms of habitations and settlements. But the most fascinating think tank of future is Cendrars playing with a rich repertoire of locations (between Western, Eastern Europe and Brazil) as well as time horizons (between Middle Age, modern history and events as well as myths).
La rue d’Avenir in La Chaux-de-Fonds seems to be an impressive project for further steps. The cleavage between modern planimetric logics and planning of future, on the one hand, and the imaginative poetic space, on the other, is the starting point of an international project named “Papillon” referring to a text of Cendrars. Planners of urban places exchange their models with imagination and poetry of artists and try to learn and to invent the faces of urban habitations in future.
Hans-Peter Meier-Dallach, Prof. Dr. Founder and Director of cultur prospectiv, an Institute at Zurich, addressing research projects in specific areas like urban and regional development, environment and social problems, dynamics of socio-cultural processes. The institute cooperates with international partner institutions, especially in Eastern Europe. The network organization World Drives initiated transnational research projects as well as cultural projects building bridges between social science and arts, for instance in form of expositions.
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