Hadid's Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion was a heavily curated experience where the husky voice of French actress Jeanne Moreau (thought it was Hadid's voice at the time) led you through the interior for a 35-minute tour of 18 handbag-inspired installations by international artists. Did anyone else think of the intro to Aladdin where the peddler draws the viewer in via his narration?
I went for the architecture but left amused by the installations. The whole experience started out with a strong socialist vibe. The entrance had multiple checkpoints manned by individuals dressed in black slim outfits, akin to the uniforms in Demolition Man. There was also a huge line surrounding the pavilion, fortunately, we had tickets so we didn't have to wait for four hours in the rain (sorry Michelle, Janey). Since we were early for our scheduled time slot, we still had to wait a few minutes and during that time we were told repeatedly what the rules were for the visit.
Upon entering, we were ordered (yes ordered) to check our coats and bags. Next, we sat along a bench while the proctors came around to hang what I believe were SanDisk Sansa Clip mp3 players around our necks (ended up ordering a cheap refurbished unit off of eBay a week later). That's when the whole pledging experience kicked in. We were told to sit there and wait for the initial commands to being our journey through the pavilion, surprised they didn't supply us with blindfolds. "Stand up, turn left. Walk down the corridor..."
My favorite installation was the third piece, a small dark corridor separating the first two pieces from the rest. Created by Argentina's Leandro Erlich, the "Le Trottoir" video installation is a looped Parisian cityscape reflected in a puddle on the ground running down the corridor. There were other notable pieces, but the real journalists will probably offer a more profound write-up. Yoko Ono's Wishing Tree did remind me of the temples in Japan where you tie less than steallar wishes to a tree or another apparatus for the wind to wisk it away. And according to Yoko Ono, her inspiration for the Wishing Tree came from the temples as well.
Check out the real-time streamed videos off my HTC Touch Diamond via Qik.com. I loved the door / hatch located behind the ticket booth. You'll find a better video showing the interior installations here.
In some ways, Hadid reminds me of Gehry, but because I really like her current design language, you won't find me hating on her work to the degree I hate Gehry's. Others have noted how she has been blessed with a wealthy family backing up her career and I'm neutral on that advantage. As long as she keeps producing stuff like the Pavilion and the Innsbruck Railway Stations which employ the same design language, I'll be happy (just don't over do it). It'll be interesting to see where she goes from here. Her early work which I had an opportunity to view at the Guggenheim a while back was atrocious, so let's hope her tastes doesn't go in cycles.
On a final note, I thought I was being ingenious for comparing Hadid to Ursula from the Little Mermaid, but it looks as though forum members of Archinet.com one-upped me on that note. Check out the list of architects and their look-alike counterparts.
Thanks to Joy for taking the photos!