The House of Zeigeist: domesti(city) and anonymity, in Osama Bin Laden`s architectures. By: Gonzalo Pedro Carrasco Purull + Livni.
Video-tape and satellite TV.
On 7 May, CNN aired a video (http://youtu.be/7gLyDnUNp5M) provided by the Pentagon showing Osama Bin Laden in the shelter of Abottabad (Pakistan), place where it was finalized passed on Monday 2 May.
Of the five recordings perhaps the most noteworthy, is that it appears the former terrorist leader watching television. Is dressed in a thick brown coat and a dark wool cap. We notice that the room is cold. He is seen with his right hand manipulating a remote control. Is changing channels on your satellite television. The device sits on a standard desktop computers, such as «ready to assemble.» Along with television, features an extension which are connected several outlets. A poor installation, which feeds a series of technological artifacts. Cables that run up the wall toward the dish. Cables connecting the TV with the decoder. Cables that feed at least two computers, which are right and left of Osama. He sits on the floor, or on the edge of a bed too low, which makes watching a television screen from bottom to top, a position that can not be sustained for long. Search for news channels on a television program which apparently does not include sports or movie channels. A book rests on TV about a cover which can be seen not been cleaned for a long time. The whole house looks messy. The floor of the room is full of cables, adapters and plugs, covering nearly the entire Arab motifs carpet on which rest the feet of Osama. A black curtain covering what looks like a window. With his left hand, Osama stroked his beard while balancing your body rhythmically forward and backward. To his left a kind of cushion covers partially a calculator such as one still finds in the neighborhood stores, those models that print the results of operations on a roll of paper. Of the three screens that are observed, two are from another is cathode-ray TVs. In the only one that appears on, Osama returns repeatedly to the start menu. Luce restless. As much as search fails to find the news you expect. The calculator, computers, everything suggests that signals in the news looking beyond the pictures. «Codes, potential targets, hidden messages? We’ll never know. Or simply be signs of boredom, someone held for five years in a house too small, too crowded, too messy. A house without a view, limited in its banality. Built from the waste from the West.
In the last refuge of Osama Bin Laden has collapsed domestic space XX and XXI century. A space on-mediated environments where technologies deployed around the detritus of cables, plugs and extension cords. Prison environments and cable television, artifacts that fit in any way, filling every corner. Spaces filled from the detritus of late capitalism, artifacts made of black plastic at some point in Malaysia or Singapore, to be then transferred to Pakistan.
In the house of Osama, allegedly sought anonymity uses the most abundant product of the contemporary city: the banal. And hence its success resulted in nearly six years of invisibility. In the refuge of Osama collapses the anonymous architecture of the suburbs, the outskirts of the cities of the developing countries of the parking lots of supermarkets, technical floors of skyscrapers, from the cellars of outlet stores, of call-centers. The other side not only of modernity, but the post-modern and hyper-modernity. Spaces without irony, no invention, no reference. Spaces without historicity, but pure waste. Areas where the narrative, the story has taken the embodiment cathodic reality shows. Areas of saturation, where the geological strata are no longer, but rather behave following the accumulation of a heterogeneous landfill or the bottom of a shopping cart in the middle of the month. Spaces where there is no room or the sign or the meta-text, but for over-writing the text message itself or tweed. Counter-space palimpsest, short-term memory, memory, post-it. Areas of pure instrumentality, the super-immanence. Where there is no end, only means. Spaces with the average life of a container of yogurt.
Osama could not understand the art of which they built many of the cities of the contemporary world – beyond the architecture of high culture – making their last refuge, the best place where we can read traces of the contemporary world . The house in Abottabad – well understood – is pure zeitgeist.
Abdullfattah Amal Ahmed, the youngest of the three wives of Osama Bin Laden, he spent the three-year high to live in the house of Abottabad, surrounded by people. Besides her husband, had to live with nine of his children, and two Pakistani brothers – and Tariq Arshad Khan – and their families. In an area of almost half a hectare, the bin Ladens do much of their daily activities on the top floor of his house with three floors. Along with them, kept an animal population consists of several rabbits – they used to give to local children – more than one hundred chickens and a cow pregnant.
The house was furnished with the minimum. A blackboard on the first floor served as a classroom for children, who never went to school. The house was formed by a series of rooms, each of which had included a bathroom and a kitchen, which became highly autonomous operation of the premises of the house. All around – and surrounded by a wall 18 meters high – there was a growing area, which provided much of the diet of Bin Laden. Diet as found in the house, was made up mainly of dates, nuts, eggs, olive oil and dried meat.
The house had no air conditioning, but a heating system. It was built from a series of extensions, carried out from the main block.
Life inside the house Abottabad seemed monotonous and equal discourse. There was more contact with the outside world, except the visits of Pakistani brothers Rasheed’s shop, located on the corner. Where advantage to buy sweets and drinks for children. The remaining purchases are made by the brothers in Sajid store, located next to the road. While the supply of fresh bread, it from a furnace adjacent to it.
The only person with whom contact was maintained with its neighbor, the farmer Shamraiz, who helped them with the continued cultivation of the garden of the house.
The remaining days were well behind high garden walls. The city had come in the form of rumors heard in the distance, mixed with the sounds of animals and people in the house. The presence of kitchens in each of the bedrooms, and the scarcity of furniture seems to realize that they ate separately, never or rarely in groups. One bedroom house with doors and windows closed, where the nights and days should have passed in fear. Waking up to every sound. Waiting, waiting, the final assault.
Welcome to life in the suburbs.
The myth of the cave.
Tora Bora was the obsession of Donald Rumsfeld.
I had to erase and outside the fortress built by the Taliban – with U.S. help – and that served as hiding the world’s most wanted man: Osama Bin Laden.
The image of the fortress of Tora Bora – located in eastern Afghanistan, soon was filled with the aura of myth. Built in the depths of the mountain, Tora Bora was believed equipped with its own hospital, offices, dormitories, a hydroelectric plant and a ventilation system itself and even roads capable of carrying heavy weapons and tanks.
Rumsfeld soon formed the idea that there was only one unassailable base, but had many more, dozens of them. Only that could explain the poor results of the intense bombing carried out on the mountain.
Tora Bora was the mythical cave opposed to that other myth that was the modern skyscraper. A myth that Osama himself had become his first goal. An operation of architectural criticism that killed more than 3,000 people on that September 11 in Manhattan.
Thus the organization of a complex spacecraft, such as the towers designed by Yamasaki, is opposed by another type of spatial complexity of sign and direction.
This is evident when reviewing images of the newspapers in the months following the bombings showed Tora Bora in its full spatial extent. Preferably explained in section, Tora Bora was presented through a series of levels, pavilions and platforms, which overlapped shaping a complex network of campuses. A spatial configuration that otherwise could not be closer to the imagined spatial complexity of the scene (Dutch) architecture of those years. Diagrams were aware of a particular sensitivity to the architectural space, which was recorded beautifully in the works of visual artist Leo Berk. Who – interested in registering invisible spaces such as underground mines – produced a work entitled «Tora Bora» (2009). Which consists of three pillars, which hang a series of interconnected boxes, which generate a series of spatial relationships between them. Stairs, platforms, boxes and volumes – within which other boxes guess – give shape to this diagram of the fortress of Bin Laden.
What this impregnable fortress, could be explained in part by the invisibility of the mountain itself. And also the inability to determine its organization. Borrowing concepts of Gilles Deleuze – everything else was so common in architectural environments at the beginning of the decade – one could argue that Tora Bora is the structure of a «rhizome», which «folds» and «re-fold» building a configuration that is not based on any idea a priori. The construction of Tora Bora is pure process. Pure forward and dig.
Tora Bora so represented, may be seen as the perfect fit between form and program. On the strength, form and content is a single entity. Moreover, we can say that its form is content.
The Seattle library would be just around the corner.
Doom (promenade architecturale – redux).
In 2003, the artists Langlands & Bell create a work entitled «The House of Bin Laden», to which would get the Bafta Award 2004.
The artists on a trip to Afghanistan in 2002, found the remains of one house that served as a refuge to Osama in his flight the months that followed the U.S. military raid in the country. From a multi-media installation, Langlands & Bell rebuilt the lair of bin Laden. Thus using virtual reality technologies, offering visitors an «experience» to tour the interior of the house. An experience that borrowed the first person narrative of popular video games in the mid-nineties, like the famous «DOOM.»
The viewer provided with a joystick and a screen in front, could cover the interior where all objects registered appeared that they realized the terrorist leader’s daily life. Approach where the viewer also assumed the role of the agent who hunted bin Laden (http://www.langlandsandbell.com/the-house-of-osama-bin-laden-video.html) A promenade architecturale » through which anxiety voyeur merged with the hunter. A clumsy move accelerated by enclosures consist of flat surfaces without tectonics. Where the material of architecture had been reduced to a bi-dimensional mapping.
A promenade architecturale that military logic would «seek and destroy», where spaces are not places to stay and stay, but to cross and advance to the next stage.
The world’s most famous house.
A concrete wall separates the sun bathed the house the rest of the neighboring houses. Has been coated, but shows areas where the stucco has subsided, revealing the inadequacy of the implementation of the structural work under him. Is topped by barbed wire. Under the wall grass grows, it is spring. Along the wall, the fields are open furrows, waiting to be planted. The house is white. It has three levels. House a line marked by a ledge formed by the projection of the slabs. The walls show signs of moisture, while the lime has been removed in some areas displaying the gray concrete. The house has few windows and these are mainly located on the second floor. The windows have wooden frames and small natural white awnings, as reflected. The third floor has almost no windows, only an opening in its center, partially covered with a wooden plaque painted blue. A set of irons that come out of the roof, guess what they contemplated building a fourth level. On deck, there is a volume of masonry without windows. In the garden grow several trees of green leaves, some of them even reach the height of the house. Others, outside it, grow aligned along a street. It’s spring, and the mountains beyond in shades ranging from blue to violet. It’s spring, and the sky is bright blue, interrupted only by occasional solitary cloud. It’s spring, and none that approach the house seems to know. It is spring in place in Pakistan. It’s spring, the world’s most famous house. VKPK.