Anton Katz’ kiosk project at Documenta made me a little sad and worried about the future of my city. I loved the way he described architecture as memory, something I have thought of before, something I was thinking as they tore down the oldest bus station in Tijuana, majestic stained glass roof and all. We have no architecture, and what we have is quickly traded in for parking lots and shiny new memories, private inaccessible memories that is.
As we were documenting Anooj wrote down the question “Who/what functions as the kiosk in your community?” On that same board memory displacement leading to a collapse of networks. Again, my heart shrunk. If we have no gathering space, if our downtown is made for tourists, if the city is so wide and badly connected, that you can’t expect people from the east to ever come downtown, who or what functions as our kiosk? Can there be a recovery of memory if there is no kiosk to reactivate? If there is no space to hold memories?
Being from the border, I like to think there is potential in fissures. In a sketch by Lebbeus Woods’ work in his “Inhabiting the Quake” project, he ponders on the possibilities of “earthquake architecture,” within these notes, capitalized and underlined, the phrase: THE FAULT IS OURS. I remember visiting a revisiting of his work at SFMoMA, he had recently died, I was still hanging around the architecture school I would eventually drop out of, I was newly in love with a boy I now struggle to remember. The fault is ours. In speaking of earthquake architecture, of course I knew it signaled a fault line, but it clearly heralded a responsibility, and a possibility, as well. It is our fault, it is our wrongdoing, but also, the gap, the space, the potential, the fault, the frontera, is ours for the taking. The fissures are ours. The uncategorizable is ours. The quirks are ours. The fringe is ours.
Anton Katz spoke of the potential of forgetting. Of how people with dementia embody ways of re-imagining relationships, identities, and time. People with dementia are time travelers. These words were not said, and are not repeated to romanticize dementia. My grandmother had dementia. I remembered this as Anton spoke. I wrote “dementia is scary”. And underneath “re-imagining is scary”. How can letting go, re-structuring how you perceive and relate to relationships, identities, and time, open up venues for re-imagining memories. The Amelia offered a family anecdote of a type of dementia that takes over bodily functions. The body forgets how to breath. So, there’s potential in forgetting, a path to completely re-imagining, but also the risk of shutting down completely, social collapse.
Given our forced dementia, given the erasure of architecture as memory, given the lack of communal historical space, can we venture into forgetting as a way of re-imagining, without complete collapse?