|FIELD:||Architecture and Art, history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, aesthetics, representation and design, lexicology, semantics|
THE TOPIC OF THIS ISSUE IS DEDICATED TO THE TUNNEL AND ITS IMAGINARY.
FROM VICTOR HUGO’S LES MISÉRABLES TO HARUKI MURAKAMI’S UNDERGROUND, WRITERS HAVE ALWAYS LOVED TUNNELS, THANKS TO THE METAPHORICAL POSSIBILITIES OFFERED FROM THE SUBTERRANEAN WORLD. OVERGROUND TUNNELS ARE INSTEAD THE PRIVILEGED FIELD OF UTOPIAN ARCHITECTS AND SCIENCE FICTION MOVIES SCENOGRAPHERS, WHO BOTH DESIGNED COUNTLESS AERIAL MEGASTRUCTURES FLYING IN THE DARK UNIVERSE OR LAYING DOWN ON AN URBAN GRID.
Mines and secret underground cities are now becoming popular tourist attractions, but far from those overrated locations thousands of clandestine explorers go through abandoned metro galleries, discover nuclear shelters and catacombs, organize underground parties and artistic performances, leave traces and design new routes.
This desire to penetrate mazes hasn’t always excited men’s mind: it was ‘invented’ 100-150 years ago, and it has probably a lot to do with the discovery of subconscious. After WWII and the Cold War, it owes much of its booming to the international flourishing of conspiracy theories.
Old tunnels are being stuffed with waste or precious materials, they become scientific laboratories, improvised agricultural fields, speleotherapy centers, illegal churches, even real estate developments.
Alternative ways becoming not just functional infrastructures but abstract subterranean voids where an uncanny feeling is always associated to: passing through these com- pact soil strata is burdening, the virtual pressure is stronger than the real one. Just deleting the dense outside, a pure corridor and a powerful perspective image works as a tool for escape. Due to its constraint and intimacy an intense experience happens: a common feeling which makes the intrusion a daily celebration of the site, and where people won’t simply meet as any other public space, but instead exchange their adventures in a new public domain.