TYPHOON: VERMAAK IS VERZET /
TRANS-ARCHITECTURE IN A PUBLIC SPACE
TYPHOON is a Trans-Architecture created for the Court square, the main square of the Westerkwartier, in the city of Oostende (Belgium).
John K Cobra was one of 5 artists selected to propose an artwork to celebrate and strengthen the social network of the neighbourhood.
This residential neighbourhood was build around 1900 for the working class that built the city of Oostende. The housing-model was developed according to the societal vision of the bourgeoisie. Architecture was used to condition the working class into their assigned role and to control their lives and movements. Space was reshaped successively by adding more concrete elements (walls, floors, ceilings, streets, parkings lots…) and by removing green open spaces in order to limit outdoors social interactions, protests against living and working conditions of the working class and festive gatherings like the fair. Escaping their oppressed position through the celebration of life and by public protest was hindered. Only once a year a big fair was organised on the concrete Court square. Call this Trance-Architecture, Phase I of my theoretical model called Trans-Architecture. Keeping the common people in some kind of trance, navigating in an architecture designed to contain the envies and setting clear limits, boundaries, commandments and taboos.
Even if it is still the poorest neighbourhood of Oostende with affordable accommodation and less developed infrastructure, it keeps attracting a diversity of minority groups settling in Oostende to make a living. It is a epicentre of underprivileged minority groups.
The city of Oostende and several organisation invited 5 artists to create an artwork that would celebrate and solidify the social network of the neighbourhood and it’s ethnical and cultural legacy. The creation of the artwork would happen in conversation with the residents.
John K Cobra believes that big societal changes are mostly instigated by the working class, were the hardship of life is felt the strongest and the urge to remedy is the strongest. Typhoon is inspired by DNA of the woking class.
Typhoon symbolises the popular culture of the working class mixing images of embryonal horses of a carousel at a Flemish fair and a monumental pillar, a symbolic space of power, around which the working class can gather to protest against their unprivileged position. The cultural tradition of the joyful fair is indissociable of the cultural tradition of activisme among the working class. Both traditions are systems of resilience against oppression by the elite. This pillar is an epicentre of power where the working class can celebrate and fight back. A space of critique against an oppressing world.
According to the principle of fluidity of Trans-Architecture, the monument consists of iron and concrete core on which silicone layers can be placed and removed. These layers are tools to support the performance of critique by the residents. The silicone can be shaped through the process of sculpting, writing, burning, cutting, painting etc…
The concrete core of the monument is protected against graffiti, but the silicone layers can be altered by graffiti and other spontaneous performance of critique. All voices are embraced.
The many layers of critique can be stored for later use.
The monument is fluid because of it is constant transformation.
Typhoon is a monument only existing as NFT. This NFT activates the pillar is a digital power figure challenging power structures and the status quo of the working class. It becomes a digital pillar, an epicentre for change.
Concept and design by John K Cobra
3D rendered images by Gilbert Balinda Achitects
The city of Oostende