antipodes cafés Cornerstones are a group of concrete urban interventions spread in diverse encounters of the city and its construction sites.
Each cornerstone refer to a temporary venue of antipodes café Series, but moreover this, all of them are simple milestones of a city in transition, celebrating the invisible ephemeral, now written in stone.
Cornerstones are symbols related to the beginning of notorious constructions. As the name suggest, they are fundamental pieces defining the position of an entire structure.
During the longstanding existence of the ceremony around the placement of cornerstones, several rituals where performed, including oblations, speeches, decorative performances and transformations of the cornerstone into a visible symbol, for highlighting diverse information in it, usually engraved.
Besides specificities of this rituals, all cornerstones wish for eternity while remarking the moment of the construction and –in mostly all of the cases– those behind the decisions of the construction in question, or power structures proper of the specific context.
So what antipodes café has to do with this exclusive extravaganza?
æCornerstones are carefully developed dètournements*, exposing elitism and its perpetuity by purposefully setting narrative elements precisely in the antipodes of those obscurantist ideas.
Each æCornerstone is conformed by a precast concrete square pyramid, fastening a pole with a reflective double sided sign in its top. Standard materials proper of construction sites, as well as their dimensions, visual composition, typography and the procedure of emplacement.
After finishing all construction permits for the creation of a venue of the æSeries**, authorities are reached for assigning an official address, which is engraved in the base of each cornerstone, together with the year of its emplacement.
Once the venue is removed–or relocated– the cornerstone disappear from the site, or takes part in the new place and the new address is also engraved in the concrete base. On the top sign, one can read the name of each venue in a reflective double sided sign.
When facing this subtle gestures, one may continue throughout the rest, now with perspicacity, and perhaps accepting the invitation of appropriation of processes and contexts.
As all cornerstones after their emplacement, antipodes cafés ones are also extraordinary visible but yet imperceptible, as they vanish in the city under development but not in finished buildings. If an æCornerstone stay longer in the same position, its formality will naturally highlight a misplacement, or its sculptural character, evidently reminding a moment of any city, usually deleted from history.
Where is the place in history for construction processes? Is this a history meant to disappear as the thousands of wooden barracks and of migrant workers?
Wasn’t 15 the first odd number of the newly made main avenue of Oslo? Wasn’t that number written on stone for more than a year before the one that will be unveiled on a precast hotel?
In addition to continue developing æCornerstones for upcoming venues of æSeries, antipodes café will explore the possibility to leave for longer term –as a sculptural work– the first of its cornerstones, right where it was placed at Stasjonsallmeningen in September 11th 2015.
æCornerstones also implies a ceremonies related to their emplacement, relocation, as well as specific celebrations around them.
“The French word “détournement” means deflection, diversion, rerouting, distortion, misuse, misappropriation, hijacking, or otherwise turning something aside from its normal course or purpose. It has sometimes been translated as “diversion”, but this word is confusing because of its more common meaning of idle entertainment.” [translator’s notes: Ken Knabb]
- Debord & Wolman, 1956, “A User’s Guide to Détournement“.
- Asger Jorn 1959, “Detourned Painting” Exhibition Catalogue, Galerie Rive Gauche.
- Guy E. Debord, 1967, Chapter 8, theses 204-209 of The Society of the Spectacle.
antipodes café Series (“æSeries”) consist in diverse explorations on everyday life, performed as short term site specific situations and by the creation of venues, both cases contributing for unveiling the encounter of the city and its construction sites as a public space. Oslo 2013-2022.