Archiprix Moscow Workshop
2013 the Green Group
Instructurs: Janna Bystrykh and Ekaterina Golovatyuk
The project page on the Archiprix website
The Green group looked at two different sites. The Yasenevo-Chertanevo Bitsevsky forest park which is situated between two residential areas. And the residual green space of Novokuryanovo.
The Yasenevo-Chertanevo Bitsevsky forest park serves the needs of the people living around the green area. The problem occurs at the edges where erosion takes place in the form of build structures invading the green space. To stop the erosion and to make the park better accessible, the group proposes the so called Bitsevsky Belt, that borders the park. In this zone recreational activities are planned. At night lights will mark the Bitsevsky Belt.
The participants who worked on Novokuryanovo started their presentation with a disclaimer: their proposal would not be big and hip. A thorough analysis let them to the conclusion that there was no real problem with the green space. To enhance the quality that is already there they proposed small scale interventions to gasp the best sound experience, the best view, and the best perception.
They say that before me this place was peaceful, just another piece of dirt occupied by the two legged forms. They say I was an accident, born out a subsidence in the crust that constitutes the surface of the planet. A result of a breach that mortified the two legged creatures and caused an obstruction that would last for centuries. When my conception occurred it took them by surprised. They called it a natural disaster - though there was nothing natural about it. It was a cataclysmic event, a calamity that deformed an entire region - an occurrence they could not control or explain - a message from the deep.
It seems to me they are always looking in the wrong direction. From the dawn of their existence, when the first flame was tamed by the two legged flesh creatures - they have been looking up, watching the sky, obsessed with the heavens, dreaming of stars and planets beyond their reach. They should have been thinking of the ground - the substance under their feet. Perhaps they think it holds only the past, a substance that belongs to the dead they bury, a reminder of a humble beginning - when they still sought shelter in the perforated soil.
Everything changed when they discovered the mysterious energy that resides in the depth. It was the perfect opportunity to take control of their fate and break free from the limited strength of the flesh. The power they so desperately coveted was finally theirs. And so they started digging. They drilled as deep and as much as they could - extracting metal and liquid for their precious machines, unleashing the spirits that lay closer to the earth’s core. The impact of this revelation was profound - there was no going back. No slowing down. No time to consider consequences. The two legged creatures had transformed nature - mechanically manufacturing the power of the gods - spreading, evolving, consuming and fueling their fickle empires with soil and rock, intoxicated by the hypnotic motion of the piston.
But when the ground moves they are helpless - suddenly reminded of their fragile existence - when the surface brakes they lose all control.
I have seen them change over time - reluctantly adapting to harsh circumstances. They move quickly, overcoming fear and uncertainty, defying odds - learning, forming groups, expanding, never stopping, never satisfied - unwillingly changing their own nature, becoming a force that could not be contained - they celebrate their ephemeral conquests, crowning themselves as rulers of the earth. And so, through skill and strength, they slowly and painfully dispersed the wreckage that followed my beginning, mourning the dead and cursing their luck. But once the reality of my presence had settled and enough time had passed they started to rebuild. And from the dust and destruction came a new beginning - an opportunity they could not ignore. At first arrived the settlers, the ones that dare explore the open wound and venture into the unknown space in my internal void. Those who decided to leave the treacherous surface and live in the shade. They came with rope and dagger, hanging from the edge, clinging fearfully to the rugged rock - carefully mapping the new surroundings. It was then that I decided to oblige them, perhaps out of guilt for the pain my birth caused them - I was set on helping them discover, adjust and blossom under my care. They started by building shelter: light structures of wood and fabric, objects that belonged on the surface now constructed within the dark domain.
More came from the surface, joining the ones that have settled at the core. I observed this process of rapid accretion, delighted by the success of our joint venture. The two legged forms had proven their agility once again - vigorously generating new specimens, incorporating themselves with the rock, bustling with energy - spawning a tingling sensation at the core of my rim. I was their protector, the one keeping them from harm’s way. An element formed by destruction now sustaining life, reconnecting them once again to the ground from which they came. And for a time they thrived: the population grew consistently, younger editions of the two legged forms found new ways to create sustenance from within thus severing unneeded contact with the surface. The transition between vertical and horizontal landscape was complete. A new society was formed: a self-sustained culture cultivated under my supervision.
But I could not protect them against their own nature. Not for long. A great tragedy was looming. - It started when a group of the new settlers had tried to take control of the communal resources. The old leadership responded by destroying the assets in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of the mutineers. Subsequently the core was divided to separate territories that inhabited the two competing groups. This shift in social structure led to the rapid depletion of resources due to the rising cost of security measures and the redundancy of wasteful systems. Dissolution was imminent. So they started digging again. They could not help themselves, constrained by their own patterns of growth they were compelled to risk everything we had built together. They dug deep into the dark soil, opening the old wound, feeding the extracted materials to their infernal machines. After a while they had reached the point of irretrievably. They had gone too far. I warned them at every turn, demonstrating the risks time and again, hoping against hope that they would stop. At a certain point I thought they had gotten the message - it was after the first collapse that ended so many of them. But they could not stop. They would not be held back - necessity defied logic and self-preservation. They disappeared into the treacherous soil.
They say I was a warning, a sign, a voice from the deep. Next time they will be ready. More will come and we will start again. We will live happily ever after.