by Stefano Serafini
The biourban community is concerned about the spread of a new epidemic: the Biomarcophilia. It seems in fact that the revolutionary work by Marco Casagrande, European Prize for Architecture 2013 and vice-president of the International Society of Biourbanism, has a side-effect. Besides influencing an international community of designers while implementing the biourbanism theory (see for example https://www.biourbanism.org/summer-school-2013/), Marco’s work is stimulating irresistibly wannabe architects and artists and design zombies towards an embarrassingly slavish imitation of his projects, avoiding as much as possible to give him credits. The mimicking includes external features, ideas, and even terms. That, in the age of Google, puts these people beyond the boundaries of ethical despicability, and throws them into the no-man land of stupidity and grossness.
These copies would be useful if they could at least spread some of the real ideas of biourbanism and of the Ruin Academy. That’s why the ISB didn’t care that much about the same phenomenon happening to biourbanism ideas and writings most of the time. However these copies are incapable of grasping the meaning of what they are babbling around. All these people want is finding a spot of instant notoriety by riding biourbanism’s and Marco’s words which get transformed into labels, slogans, and empty show.
In a way this form of reaction to the work of Marco Casagrande by the stale “art” and “architecture” system could have been foreseen. The zombie market has lost every contact with reality and seeks to suck some blood from whoever has found his own way to build an authentic future. Nevertheless all the meaningless machine can deal with is just external signs, masks, fake copies.
To have an idea of the spread of the Biomarcophilia, please find down here a list of imitations with the corresponding original works. You are invited to seek for more. Hunt the zombies!
TREASURE HILL AND URBAN ACUPUNCTURE
– The Treasure Hill project was realized by Marco Casagrande in Autumn 2003 http://www.e-architect.co.uk/taiwan/treasure-hill-taipei. In 2013 the book Biourban Acupuncture. From Treasure Hill to Artena has been published by the International Society of Biourbanism: https://www.biourbanism.org/biourban-acupuncture-2/
– Urban Acupuncture was first published by Marco Casagrande in 2004, and it was added into the Tamkang University of Taiwan curriculum in Autumn 2004 under his professorship.
Here Vanessa Quirk nicely rips-off both on Treasure Hill and Urban Acupuncture, and even twists the Biourban Acupuncture to “Urban Agri-puncture”: http://www.archdaily.com/tag/urban-agriculture-series/
Khaerani Adenan at least quotes Marco Casagrande: http://khaeraniadenan.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/introduction-to-urban-acupuncture-towards-a-better-bandung-city/comment-page-1/
– The Paracity project by Marco Casagrande was made public in the CAFAM Biennale in Beijing, February 2014 http://casagrandetext.blogspot.fi/2014/03/paracity.html. It instantiates the ideas on how making real a transition from the post-industrial city towards a third generation city, that are long-running tenets of Casagrande’s sociological thoughts. It aims at solving the urgent sheltering need of overpopulated areas like Taipei, or of post-disaster districts. The project includes a cooperation with a Finnish company for producing the Paracity, and contacts with several governments and city councils in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Some Italian young (hem…) freelance designers launch a “Paracity” project which repeat terms, concepts and pieces of the original Casagrande’s work in a context of aesthetics and “original creativity”: http://paracity.it/about/idea.html
Bug Dome was built in Shenzhen, Autumn 2009. Marco as part of WEAK! (Marco Casagrande, Hsieh Ying-Chun, Roan Ching-Yueh) worked together with illegal immigrants, learning from their local knowledge according to his research about bottom-up and p2p design. The work has been then presented at the Shenzhen & Hong Kong bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Shenzhen 2009 http://www.dezeen.com/2009/12/14/bug-dome-by-weak/.
Even the Venice Biennale and the journal DOMUS have been infected by the biomarcophilia! Bug Dome shows up at the 2014 Biennale di Venezia, Chinese Pavillion, curated by Jang Jun and Pier Alessio Rizzardi, without quoting the original artists (except a sneaky link to Wikipedia).
CREDITS: thanks to Angelo Abbate for the photographic composition, and to Menno Cramer for the Biomarcophilia concept (updated version: Marcomimicry).