Thursday, May 15, 2014

Archetypal City, Steeples and the Phallus

The Frankfurt city skyline is almost archetypal. It's all about the money and the phallus. The banking centre reigns supreme over what's left of the medieval city post war. The picture is taken from an old church tower, nearly as high as the bank buildings. Both reach to the sky and in that dynamic, similar things are at stake. In medieval times, the city is the centre of the life force. The city is a protective mother. Yet the church steeple thrusts up to the heavens as a sign of power. In every society a single class claims universality - that is, it claims to stand for all citizens, not merely those of the ruling order. So do the bank buildings. In this brash and impressive display, they seek to convince us that we all share in the power of capitalism. As we have seen recently this is an illusion.  "The phallus hardens or softens in the presence or absence of energy." Single-sided to the last, the banks seek the comforting power of patriarchy - but are entirely oblivious to life and to the interests of the majority. The energy they draw on is fake, self manufactured and ultimately it dries up. The medieval tower also rose to the heavens and signified an altogether different power that was more than each individual, more than the sum of their parts. The aristocracy and the church offered itself as universal, just as the banker class does today. But the medieval city represented mother and children. What now does the city represent?