NEW Story: Drip
✿ This article was featured in Issue #7 of the Atlantic Bulletin
NO REALTORS EXCEPT THE STATE ■ THE COUNTY THE AGENT OF THE STATE ■ THE ARCHITECT THE AGENT OF THE COUNTY
It is clear that in Vekllei democracy is a way of living more than it is a form of government. After all, by metrics of representation, the Atlantic nation’s electoral system often sputters and fails, undermined by the bundling of the human and natural votes as equal, and the wildly disproportionate borough system. But if democracy is a way of life and not just a ballot in its box, then we can see democracy acted out all around us in Vekllei.
Cities are living things; they are made up of people hurrying and talking and building. In cities, we see Vekllei’s centralised society/decentralised life contradiction lean towards “deurbanisation” and “local transparency”.
The four principles of Vekllei life are:
- Self-management and self-interest through Sundress Municipalism.
- Classification of property as an independent social organ, like nature.
- Abolishment of currency and currency-substitutes.
- Economic feminisation.
Ranked in order of their immediacy to the average person, we can see that Sundress Municipalism is at the core of Vekllei life. What exactly is Sundress Municipalism? It describes the organisation of Vekllei cities, which are arranged around the following principles:
- Local employment, or “commutelessness.”
- Slumlessness, beautification, and a will to architecture.
- Property stewardship.
- Open air and clean water.
- Land usefulness ("friendliness").
- Private ownership of private needs.
- Public ownership of public needs.
These values are oriented around a deeply Vekllei valuation of space, and the accessibility of place and material to ordinary people. They also reveal some peculiarities in their listing – what constitutes a private and public need, and what constitutes ownership, are deeply spiritual concepts in Vekllei, and their use here relies on uncoded intuition. Let us not forget we are dealing with a state that considers itself to be the human ambassador of the ground on which it sits, and so “public” and “private” include the nonhuman in their metrics. This is how, much to the amusement of foreigners, buildings can and often do “own themselves” in Vekllei. Most ownership is proved by stewardship; the use of space. The person who works the shop and lives above it, owns the shop.
This image depicts the Vekllei city of Adouisneh, the florid culture capital of Vekllei’s Northwest. It is one of the “Five Crowning Cities” of Vekllei, measured by population and cultural significance, and was the site of one of the earliest parliaments in the world, centuries before the monarchy would come to power. You can see here the tension between old-world European planning and new-world Sundress Municipalism in the architecture and layout of this city.
A cactus bloom is beyond any bloom, I think, manufactured by plants anywhere in the world. And there you have an interesting syllogism, haven’t you? The desperate nature of the armed plant and the exquisite, beautiful efflorescence it produces. Something to think about. There you see, revealed, some processes of nature, the significance of which I don’t gather at the moment.
– Frank Lloyd Wright, Nov. 1952
Perhaps urbanised modernity is the cactus, and Sundress Municipalism is the blossom.
It is not that Vekllei’s feminised Municipalism represents a clean departure from how cities look and feel, but instead constitutes a rethinking of urbanism; it is an ideology of homesteads, decentralisation, clean air, food production, arts and crafts, leisure, and the spirit, if not the literal presence of, “disposable income.” It is not enough that a factory should be the property of the people who work in it; a factory should become adjacent to the home, a part of it, designed in ways that benefit the good instincts of ordinary people. Vekllei is a celebration of the architect; automatons may now do a lot of the work, but all design is deeply human.
This is the heart of the dream. Vekllei is not a big enough country to gift each person an acre of land to do with as they wish; it is, however, sophisticated enough to decentralise that “local acre” among the community, cultivating those same values in a modern skyline and allowing the city to flow across the landscape, changing as it responds to the place around it. Ownership is important; stewardship is especially important. By allowing people to own and use land, you give them dignity. Above all, design and architecture are important for the same reason spatiality is important – they give presence to and emulsify work and leisure.
After the mid-twentieth century, modernism began to encircle the world and the architectural and urban images once projected as utopian began to fill real space. In the 1960s this reached a saturation point; utopia was, ironically, realised.
– Karatani Kojin, Architecture as Metaphor, 1983
This occurred because, upon realising that art must be removed from architecture in order to safeguard it against a looming “loss of subject,” avant-garde thinkers methodologically reestablished architecture as ‘construction’ – utilitarian efforts towards grand ideas. With art removed, architecture was able to close in on the inherent placelessness of utopia. In Vekllei, this approach is extant (though diminished by their absurd place-metaphysics) through Newda, the indigenous design ideology that continues to service architecture through social, rather than artistic, methods.
The “big idea” Newda is an agent for, wrapped up in Sundress Municipalism, is very straightforward:
The city should be everywhere and nowhere.
In Adouisneh, despite its thousand years of history, we can see postwar Newda come to life in its integration and decentralisation of the “city” as a living process, moving people and their concerns closer together. Developed only with the consent of the architect, Vekllei has become an architocracy, serving decentralised, pleasant living through bureau monopolies.
Perhaps, after all, it is the necessity of state authority that is the cactus, and the middle-class free lifestyles of Vekllei people that make up the blossom.