♩♬♩♪ • The Patchwork – James Harbard’s Esoterica


The Patchwork presents a selection by James Harbard

1. Gas – 4 (Königsforst)
2. Twin Cabins – Childhood
3. Snowman – ∆ (A)
4. Andy Stott – Merciless
5. Sackcloth & Scarlet – Mind Over Mirrors
6. Library Tapes – We Don’t Need You Anymore
7. Clem Leek – London Bridge, Wednesday, 5.30pm
8. The Caretaker – Increasingly Absorbed In His Own World
9. Tim Hecker – Sketch 4
10. Motion Sickness of Time Travel – Restless, Sleepless
11. Tim Hecker – Blood Rainbow
12. Aphex Twin – Xtal
13. Christian Löffler – Blind
14. Actress – N.E.W

Moscow, 1923

At school one day, a student designed a floating swimming pool. Nobody remembered who it was. The idea had been in the air. Others were designing flying cities, spherical theaters, whole artificial planets. Someone had to invent the floating swimming pool. The floating pool – an enclave of purity in contaminated surroundings – seemed a first step, modest yet radical, in a gradual program of improving the world through architecture. To prove the strength of the idea, the architecture students decided to build a prototype in their spare time. The pool was a long rectangle of metal sheets bolted on a steel frame. Two seemingly endless linear locker rooms formed its long sides – one for men, the other for women. At either end was a glass lobby with two transparent walls; one wall exposed the healthy, sometimes exciting underwater activities in the pool, and the other, fish agonizing in polluted water. It was thus a truly dialectical room, used for physical exercise, artificial sunbathing and socialising between the almost naked swimmers.

The prototype became the most popular structure in the history of Modern Architecture. Due to the chronic Soviet labour shortage, the architects/builders were also the lifeguards. One day they discovered that if they swam in unison – in regular synchronised laps from one end of the pool to the other – the pool would begin to move slowly in the opposite direction. They were amazed at this involuntary locomotion; actually, it was explained by a simple law of physics: action = reaction.

In the early thirties, the political situation which had once stimulated projects such as the pool, became rigid, even ominous. A few years later still (the pool was quite rusty now, but popular as ever), the ideology it represented became suspect. An idea such as the pool, its shiftiness, its almost invisible physical presence, the iceberg-like quality of its submerged social activity, all these became suddenly subversive.

In a secret meeting, the architects/lifeguards decided to use the pool as a vehicle for their escape to freedom. Through the by now well-rehearsed method of auto-propulsion, they could go anywhere in the world where there was water. It was only logical that they wanted to go to America, especially New York. In a way, the pool was a Manhattan block realized in Moscow, which would now reach its logical destination.

Early one morning in the Stalinist thirties, the architects directed the pool away from Moscow by swimming their relentless laps in the direction of the golden onions of the Kremlin.   …….   

for more; Rem Koolhaas – The Story of The Pool (1977)


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