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Aldo Rossi vs King Kong

The Modernist trope of the grid as a cage of capitalist reason


In his long and not entirely distinguished film career, King Kong has menaced several landmarks of modern architecture: the Empire State Building, Tokyo Tower and World Trade Center have all fallen prey to this hairy metaphor for the unleashed id. But in this drawing by Jacopo Nori, rather than wreaking havoc on the ordered world of rational technology, he seems to dwell in the realm of the unconscious, under the light of the stars, and enclosed by a rendering of Aldo Rossi’s San Cataldo columbarium. It suggests that Kong’s architectural victims are the real monsters, and that the Modernist trope of the grid is a cage of capitalist reason which entraps the vital albeit unruly forces represented by the giant ape in the deathly stasis of reification.

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