Culture And Society
Work title: Excise
Money pervades all that is socially acceptable.
Money is necessary to buy and sell land. It is needed to occupy it. Money is necessary to procure apparatus for that land. It is required to power it. Work and money and labor are conjoined. Monetary commitments require that land, apparatus, and energy generate income.
Public space without money is vandalism.
Public space cannot exist where income is required. Separating public space from money is not a modification to existing monetary sequences; it is full commitment to their suspension. It requires an architecture of public defiance.
Dissatisfaction continues to grow in Metropolis. Ground level plazas, once crowded with people, are vacant from compulsory migration into the vertical economies rising overhead. Public space has disappeared.
An allotment of Citizens is asked not to work—the economic stability of Metropolis depends on it. They are left frustrated, confused, and disappointed. As they wander the empty streets, unsure about life without work, concrete is everything. They resent their own inaction.
Cracks in the sidewalk grow from metal fence posts. Someone leverages a post to remove a portion of the concrete, just to view the ground. The Citizen lowers her hands to the dirt. When she feels the cold soil in her hands, relief is contagious.
Countless eyes now focus on the hard surfaces, discerning layers of neglect. Fissures in the cement extend everywhere. The Citizens spread out, looking for entry points.
Their digging begins by prying through fractured concrete to create individual spaces. Excavating over the course of days, individual spaces intersect. Citizens meet, share stories, and work together to increase their impact. The momentum of intersecting excavations draws them together.
Citizens uncover the physical reality of infrastructures that once supported their vertical lives. Caked with dirt, the exposed pipes, beams, and columns are shrunken, fractured, decaying. They leave these discoveries undisturbed. The malnourishment of these foundations provides evidence of the hidden compromise perpetrated during the ascendance of vertical economies.
Piled along the edges, the broken rubble of concrete sidewalks and marble plazas offers access to those entering the excavation field. Citizens who have not exerted their bodies in months descend from their elevated workspaces to join the digging. They want to feel their bodies at work. They want to know the intermingling of sweat and soil. Citizens continue to join, and the echoes of digging reverberate in the columns of their buildings. The excavation accelerates departure from the lifeless towers.
Dirt is collected into barrels. Vibrant bacteria in the dirt, now exposed to the air, awakens and feeds; the microbes electrify. Citizens distribute electrodes of found metals amongst the soil, and a network of wires quickly connects the growing matrix of barrels.
Rough edges of the excavation field vibrate with communal excitement as the terraced retaining walls fill with Citizens desiring to rest, socialize, and watch. This communal boundary extends along the streets and plazas. Gratified with the hospitality of joined areas, they collaborate to create an excision—a public space.
Citizens pulse through the expanding circuit board as capacitors connected to the barrels fill with energy. With time, power is harvested. Citizens no longer rely on energy distributed from the towers; the fuel cells eliminate the need to labor within outdated economies.
Excision restores collective will to the Citizens. As they remove the sidewalks and soil left inert by the vertical economies, they celebrate a new corporeal unity.
Their digging will persist.