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a British archival superstructure lightly touches the Roman soil

a British archival superstructure lightly touches the Roman soil

It is well established…that nowadays we prefer the replica to the original. We prefer the reproduction of the work of art to the work of art itself…when such discoveries were first made…it was like the discovery that masturbation with pornographic material is more fun than sex. Quelle horreur!’

‘permit me to cite one of my fellow-countrymen, “All that was once directly lived”, he wrote, “has become mere representation.”…he intended it, astonishingly, as criticism not praise. I would prefer to advance his thought in the following way. Once there was only the world, directly lived. Now there is the re-presentation of the world. It is not a substitute for the plain primitive world, but an enhancement and enrichment…This is where we live today. Is this our loss? No, it is our conquest, our victory. We must demand the replica, since the reality, the truth, the authenticity of the replica is the one we can possess, colonise, reorder, find jouissance in’

a manifesto: creative architecture

In Julian Barnes’ novel England England, the billionaire Jack Pitman hires advisers to consult with him about his massive project to create a luxury leisure experience on the Isle of Wight which recreates the essence of England. The theory of the consumption of replica over original is an extension of the argument for museums being a transformed format. They are no longer the national collection for preservation and re-presentation of cultural artefacts, it is a global entity of

The illustration shows a potential hyper rational advancement of this argument to the stage that we remove the original from the city to the safe confines of a massive archive in the air above. The new super-museum is a repository for a nations culture, much like the national archives are the singular place to find documents on governmental activities. The new layer of cultural sediment follows the Roman method of building upon the ruins and foundations of the last city thereby assimilating the material and elevating the living level upwards over the centuries of development. This new layer creates a final ceiling to this idea though, removing historic elements from the urban leaving it as the live laboratory for the invention and speculation over replica and experiential culture.

The shift in thinking about preservation from retrospective to prospective is afforded by this removal of all historic artefacts, leaving only the architecture which is a fixed fitting of culture, a hard furnishing. This shift is made possible by the realisation that preservation is an invention of our industrial revolution, and like all inventions it has a period of relevance before it must either evolve or be replaced. The ‘very fabric of society’ which may proclaimed to be under threat is in fact non-existent in the exclaimant’s definition, society is no longer interested or revolves around originality. To copy is now more relevant than mere influence or re-interpretation. What began with the love affair in the aesthetic of the machine and its process of reproduction, has now evolved into an expanding global scale where the action of influence and copy occurs at the rate of  conversational exchange.

In this current situation then, the idea of authorship is highly contentious. How do we determine the ‘rights’ to an idea, concept or even argument. Academic protocol calls for reference to prevent fraud but also to guide the reader to tangential or parallel arguments. In the creative industries, where the idea and knowledge that a person or collective possess is as valuable as the tangible products they produce, there is a system of defining Intellectual Property. Increasingly though we are seeing the replica preferred over the original as the users demand and can gain access to ‘protected’ products. The creation of interfaces that promote access over ownership are an acknowledgement that we are no longer interested in originality, merely the variety and complexity of numerous inputs. Also, this scenario means that those who produce and share are subject to a public rating or relevance. Here those with the precedented success or respect of society will prosper along with the quick rise of fashion or fad. It is this which the creative industry of Britain needs to acknowledge if it is to define suitable authorship protocol on an international level.

‘time is a problem,’ Jerry began. “you are only as old as you feel,” they say. Correction. You are as old, and exactly old, as you are. True of individuals, relationships, societies, nations. So England comes to me, and what do I say to her? I say, “Listen baby, face facts. We’re in the third millennium and your tits have dropped. The solution is not a push-up bra.”

‘We are no longer mega. Why do some people find that so hard to admit? The spinning jenny is in a museum, the oil is drying up. Other people makes things cheaper. Sometimes we are ahead of the game, sometimes behind. But what we do have, what we shall always have, is what others don’t: an accumulation of time…It’s a question of placing the product correctly, that’s all.’

‘England is a nation of great age, great history, great accumulated wisdom. Social and cultural history-stacks of it, reams of it-eminently marketable. If I may coin a phrase, We are already what others may hope to become. We are the new pioneers. We must sell our past to other nations as their future!


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