The starting point for her installation for 30 Artists / 30 Spaces is the diary-like novel, The Box Man, written by Japanese author Kôbô Abe in 1973, whose protagonist bids farewell to his present life to move into a box, into a mini-universe 50 x 50 cm in size, which gradually mutates into the real universe in which the box man can take up a position of observation, unnoticed and uninhibited. He draws up a new, private cartography of the city and makes classifications based on opportunities and probabilities. This life in the city of the nameless may be limited, but it is also liberating. Isa Melsheimer visualises and processes various fragments of this story in her installation, she presents – cast in concrete – the possessions of the box man and a curtain which can con- ceal the inaccessible urban landscape, a sea of houses made of glass. ( Dr. Melitta Kliege )
Like all colonists, Le Corbusier does not think of it as an invasion but as a gift. When recapitulating his life work five years before his death, he symptomatically wrote about Algiers and Cap Martin in the same terms: From 1930 L-C devoted twelve years to an uninterrupted study of Algiers and its future ... Seven great schemes (seven enormous studies) were prepared free of charge during those years. And later,1938-39. Eight mural paintings (free of charge) in the Badovici and Helen Grey house at Cap Martin.38 No charge for the discharge. Eileen Gray was outraged, now even her name had been defaced. And renaming is, after all, the first act of colonisation. Such gifts can not be returned.
P.S. In 1944, the retreating German Army blew up Eileen Gray’s apartment in Menton having vandalised E. 1027 and Temple a Paiella (her house in Castellar). She lost everything. Her drawings and plans were used to light fires.
P.P.S. On August 26, 1965, the endless redrawing of the Femmes d’Alger still unfinished, Le Corbusier went down from E. 1027 to the sea and swam to his death.
P.P.P.S. In 1977 a local mason in charge of some work in the house “mistakenly” demolished the mural Graffitte.39 I like to think that he did it on purpose. Eileen Gray had spend almost three years living on the site in complete isolation, building the house with the masons, having lunch with them every day. Then again, she did the same thing when building her own house at Castellar. The masons knew her well; in fact, they loved her, and hated the arrogant Badovici. They understood perfectly what the mural was about. They destroyed it. In so doing, they showed more enlightenment than most critics and historians of architecture.
P.P.P.P.S. Since then, the mural has been reconstructed in the house from the basis of photographs. It re-emerged from its original medium.The occupation continues.
(Battle Lines: E.1027, Beatriz Colomina)
We live for the most part within enclosed spaces. These form the environment from which our culture grows. Our culture is in a sense a product of our architecture. If we wish to raise our culture to a higher level, we are forced for better or for worse to transform our architecture. And this will be possible only if we remove the enclosed quality from the spaces within which we live. This can be done only through the introduction of glass architecture that lets the sunlight and the light of the moon and stars into our rooms not merely through a few windows, but simultaneously through the greatest possible number of walls that are made entirely of glass —coloured glass. The new environment that we shall thereby create must bring with it a new culture.
( Paul Scheerbart, Glasarchitektur )
If A made any error it was only that he was a little more overly aware of box men than others were. You cannot laugh at A. If you are one of those who have dreamed of, described in their thoughts even once, the anonymous city that exists for its nameless inhabitants, you should not be indifferent, because you are always exposed to the same dangers as A-that city where doors are opened for anyone; where even among strangers you need not be on the defensive; where you can walk on your head or sleep by the roadside without being blamed; where you are free to sing if you're proud of your ability; and where, having done all that, you can mix with the nameless crowds whenever you wish. Thus it will seldom do to point a gun at a box man.
(The Box Man, Kobo Abe)