Conspiricy Theory | Fiction | Holes

Anti-aesthetic Parcel Portal

Sun 18th Nov ’12

Who suspects architecture in this innocuous looking wall arrangement at Zollamt Schöneberg? The fan is anti-design, as is the ticket dispenser, the calendar, the sign, the counter, the terminals.  Yet, the situation is full of architectural meaning, certainly to you as a user, as you queue at the customs desk under the president’s watchful gaze, wondering if (metonymically) his hands will eventually appear through the tiny window and fork over your in-laws parcel, once your number is called up silently on the display, and when that might be.

With these connotations of power, and a lovely unabashed expression of direness, the arrangement even acquires a kind of dystopian bureaucratic beauty. Beautiful how this single wall accommodates in such a matter-of-fact objectivity the essential devices, services, and functions, of gate keeping, which focus an almost unnerving sense of expectation and suspense around the wall’s small and ordinary, single aperture. Will they decide favorably? Will you be able to convince them that you are not part of a transatlantic children’s shoes smuggling ring? Will you be successful in unlocking this tiny door and will you at last get to see Joachim Gauck’s hands?

An eye and an appreciation, if not a fetish, for this particular Germanic aesthetic, the unabashed, almost futurist expression of bureaucratic function, I find a sheer indispensable source of stamina in the hallways of German government buildings. I was hoping that posting two almost identical pictures of the same subject could convey a sense of the  mixture of maddening ennui and anxiety I felt being at this architecture’s mercy prior to discovering the wall’s latent beauty.


3 responses to Anti-aesthetic Parcel Portal

  1. William Thirteen writes:

    sad to say i recognized the location before i started reading. the photograph of the president is an improvement since the las time i was summoned there. it’s almost as if he is right there, a source of moral strength, waiting with you…

  2. I.W. writes:

    A vast improvement too, over the last time I was there when I was summoned to retrieve replacement laptop screen hinges and two syringes of epoxy-resin glue. All I remember was 90 minutes of pot plants and grey carpeting.

    But they’ve really gone white-cube since then. There’s something very Carsten Nicolai about the neon-tube reflection bisecting Gauck’s face, and there is real geometric beauty in the positioning of the fan’s foot — to say nothing of the fact that it’s been installed on top of another piece of furniture.

  3. CD writes:

    The picture of Gauck reminds me of this guy: