Ettore Sottsass. The Planet as Festival: Study for Temple for Erotic Dances, project (Aerial perspective and plan). 1972–1973

Ettore Sottsass The Planet as Festival: Study for Temple for Erotic Dances, project (Aerial perspective and plan) 1972–1973

  • Not on view

Concerned with the deterioration of urban life, Sottsass used the series The Planet as Festival to depict a utopian land where all of humanity is free from work and social conditioning. In his futuristic vision, goods are free, abundantly produced, and distributed around the globe. Liberated from banks, supermarkets, and subways, individuals can “come to know by means of their bodies, their psyche, and their sex, that they are living,” he said. According to his ideas, once consciousness has been reawakened, technology could be used to heighten self-awareness, and life would be in harmony with nature. Reflecting the counterculture of his time, Sottsass illustrated such instruments for entertainment as a monolithic dispenser for incense, drugs, and laughing gas set in a campground, rafts for listening to chamber music on a river, and a stadium in which to watch the stars.

Gallery label from 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design, September 12, 2012–March 25, 2013.
Additional text

Concerned with the deterioration of urban life, Ettore Sottsass used The Planet as Festival series to depict a utopian land where all of humanity would be free from work and social conditioning. In his futuristic vision goods are free, abundantly produced, and distributed throughout the globe. Freed from banks, supermarkets, and subways, individuals can "come to know by means of their bodies, their psyche, and their sex, that they are living." Once consciousness has been reawakened, technology would be used to heighten self-awareness, and life would be in harmony with nature. The Planet as Festival drawings are black-and-white studies for hand-colored lithographs. They depict such "super-instruments" for entertainment as a monolithic dispenser for incense, drugs, and laughing gas set in a campground, rafts for listening to chamber music on a river, and a stadium to watch the stars.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Bevin Cline and Tina di Carlo, in Terence Riley, ed., The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002, p. 134.

Concerned by the deterioration of modern-day urban life, Ettore Sottsass created a futuristic vision of "The Planet as Festival," a place in which goods are free, abundantly mass-produced, and distributed around the globe. Cities, jobs, and money worries are obsolete. Liberated from the demands of bank, supermarket, and subway, people can "come to know, by means of their bodies, their psyche, and their sex, that they are living." To advance this awakening of consciousness, technology moves into the role of heightening self-awareness. Life is in harmony with nature.

The fourteen "Planet as Festival" drawings in the collection, all black and white studies for hand-colored lithographs, depict "superinstruments" designed for our entertainment: a monolithic dispenser of incense, drugs, and laughing gas, set in a campground; rafts for listening to chamber music while floating on a river; a stadium in which to watch the stars and the rising and setting of the sun. This drawing shows a temple for erotic dances, a place in which to learn about sexuality. The humorous, cartoonlike perspective of the temple is juxtaposed with a traditional floor plan reminiscent of ancient Egyptian religious complexes. Phallic and orificial in form, the temple buildings have the dimensions of architecture but resemble utilitarian design objects—a laboratory beaker, salt and pepper shakers, and more. Sottsass was a founding member of Memphis (1981–88), a design group dedicated to the creation of brightly colored, eccentrically shaped objects devised without reference to functionalist aesthetics, and his background in industrial design is evident in these forms.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Bevin Cline, in Matilda McQuaid, ed., Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002, p. 164.
Medium
Graphite and cut-and-pasted gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensions
13 15/16 x 12 5/8" (35.4 x 32.1 cm)
Credit
Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation
Object number
1298.2000
Copyright
© 2021 Ettore Sottsass
Department
Architecture and Design
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