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Nieuwenhuis, the great Dutch artist who provoked the world of
architecture with his vision of a “New Babylon,” was born 100 years ago,
on July 21st.The force of his ideas,
his creative vitality that challenged conventions and comfortable
assumptions, made us think: is a new kind of city possible ?We
feel we need that type of idealism that drove him towards the large
output that the New Babylon consisted of, that idealism and elan vital
that animated the 60s, in quest for a new beginning, if we can say so.Now, on the occasion of his centennial, we wonder: how to best celebrate him and his ideas ?The New Babylon remained on paper, in models, in writings… but as yet a “real” New Babylon was not, as such, built.And
we wonder again: what if, to truly envision a new beginning, we choose
for a possible locus for a New Babylon exactly where the old one is ?
That is, what if we make proposals for a New Babylon built around and
even within the precinct of Old Babylon, between The Tower of Babel,
Ishtar’s Gate, and the anachronistic palace of the deposed dictator,
Saddam.What if we bring the most
vibrant modernity, in the closest engagement with the oldest ruins, the
oldest memories, in the very place the Old Babylon stood ?Should
we be content with ruins ? Should we be content to just look at them,
with remnants of nostalgia ? What if we try to rescue the dead, to
enliven the ruins, to reconnect, in a dynamic way with the “past” ?What
if we bring Constant Nieuwenhuis and his ideas near the Euphrates, near
Baghdad, there were once stood the largest urbae, Babylon ?What if we create A NEW BABYLON starting from the very ashes of the old one ?Iraq is in trouble now and it has been for some time.What
if by imagining A NEW BABYLON right there where the old one stood, we
might initiate a rebirth of the country ? And maybe not just its
rebirth, but ours as well ?Just
imagine: the dynamic, metallic structures of Nieuwenhius, floating in
between and above the ruins of Old Babylon… just imagine Homo Ludens
creatively assuming the past, resurrecting it, its glory, its greatness.Just
imagine the young, creative forces of Iraq rebuilding from that “Point
Zero” of their culture, of their history… STARTING ANEW.
imagine the whole world watching, in wonderment… A NEW BEGINNING…
inspired by Constant Nieuwenhuis, inspired by a fresh modernity,
inspired by a new idealism… an idealism of cooperation and joy, on this
ravished earth.What do you think ?Do you think such a dream would be impossible ?
send us ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that envisions a true BABYLON
REDUX. The deadline is October 4th, 2020. Please register before the
deadline to receive a
number with which to anonymously identify your work. Please write to Let’s thus celebrate the Constant Nieuwenhuis’
Centennial. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Thank you,ICARCH Gallery