2014-09-08

From Manhattan to Sierra Maestra

The urban paradigm represented by Manhattan perfectly corresponds to the capitalist system of production and consumption, with its forms of exploitation and representation of nature. The built mass --capitalist consumption-- is organized as an almost completely regular layout, subject to a minimum of restrictions, with an almost unlimited capacity for growth. In the middle of this artificial mass is defined a regular void, Central Park, that recreates, also artificially, the nature --representative nature--. To these two elements --capitalist consumption and representative nature, a third element must be added --exploited nature, of the Earth and the men--, which provides resources and products for the consumption. But this exploited nature is marginalized in the imaginary of the city, is omitted in its representation, replaced, as mentioned, by the representative nature of Central Park. In sum, this is an unsustainable long-term paradigm, which requires large energy resources to connect the exploited nature and the capitalist consumption, extraordinarily aggressive with the exploited nature, including the productive work, and propagandistic in its essence, as the exploitation of nature is hidden and replaced by another empty, artificial, representative.

Against this obsolete and decaying paradigm, we propose another inspired by the Cuban revolution and its heroic resistance to the economic blockade by the capitalist empire. In this case, the nature of exploitation and the nature of representation are the same, modeled after the beginning of the revolution in Sierra Maestra and the peasant support to the guerrilla. Then, instead of a regular void constrained by the capitalist consumption, nature is now a multiform mass allowing a certain scope of moderated, proportioned and
limited consumption within. The model replicates itself following a fractal or homothetic logic, rather than a rational and infinite one, in the same way that the Cuban revolution functions as a reference for other struggles.

Image after William Bridges's Map of Manhattan (1814) [pd], Alberto Korda's Guerrillero Heroico (Heroic Guerrilla Fighter, 1960) [fu/fd] and Jim Fitzpatrick's wallpaper (1968) [fu/fd].