Notes from Nowhere

laugardagur, október 22, 2005

MK Nowhere

Having moved into an installation, I have come to work in a Utopia. No- place like this have I known anywhere in my travels, no place have I known so wide and so owned, so busy yet so deserted, so bold and so square.

I have come to work the weekend in Milton Keynes. And until writing those words I had only in the back of my mind the question of what the name of this place means. And of course I see it now, the connotation of poetry fused with liberal economics, the allusion to England's historic mills, suffixed as an old town would be; the synthesis of the pastoral and the commercial in England's dream.

And this experiment seems to work in parts. There are trees everywhere. The post- revolutionary style boulevards are pleasant to stroll, easy to cross under, straightforward to navigate. Parking is ubiquitous and cheap. The malls are spacious and light, the people are friendly. We are in the heart of the country, and the country is singing a new song here.

The centre of this town is a grid, but unlike any old town, there is nothing at the centre of it. Of course there is no vacuum, no void; there is matter, and energy. But where is the monument to a near- forgotten hero; a warrior, a statesman, a poet? Where is the river that brought goods, the manor, the church? Where is our past, our soul, our link with the land or sea, with each other, where are the graves in which we will oneday lie together?

At the compass' point stands an idea, an idea that can be held in your hand. That can be packed in shining plastic or paper bag. An idea that sends bricks and glass into the sky like hills, that sends metal boxes around the road matrix. An idea that whirrs and hums and pulses and flows, that dances and winks and sings and complains. And this idea is only these things, and a countless thousand more. The idea is Choice, limitless and so extremely limited, definitely democratic and consequently inescapably tyrannical.

With no past but its imaginary memory, MK is free, but it can be only one thing. It cannot be backstreets brimming with stories and lives lived. It cannot be people moving in droves in the autumn streets, to the skip of a beat or a chance conversation. It cannot be wild or tame, noisy or quiet, alive or dead. It is not my Brasilia, it is neither that heroic nor that horrendous. It is not even paradoxical. What comes here comes from elsewhere, and what is raised here will fly away. All this town can be is a loose container, a gathered web, a leaking pot. And I have come to nowhere into this place. And to nowhere shall I return.


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