# STUDENTS /// The Second Community: Identity Tourism California City by Fredrik Hellberg

It became a sort of tradition on The Funambulist to publish regularly the work of specific people whose interesting projects, add one by one over the years compose a coherent ensemble. Fredrik Hellberg is one of those people. After his Manhattan Oneirocritica, his Japanese Embassy in London and his essay about Meta-Virtual Solipsism, his work is back on the blog with his thesis project at the Architectural Association that is now competing for the RIBA’s 2011 Silver Medal.
The project, already published on dpr-barcelona for its homage to Konrad Wachsmann is named The Second Community. It starts with an exhaustive research about three community based on the notion of game: Online-role playing gamers, the Burning Man Festival and the Cosplay Conventions and the architecture that result from such gathering. Considering the abandoned city of California City in the desert, Fredrik designed a gigantic structure -indeed influenced by Wachsmann and Buckminster Fuller- that can host a new form of event that gathers the three concerned game gatherings.

His project, in addition of introducing this poetical structure, impresses for the numerous technical means it uses to describes itself. The important amount of documents that follows the text constitutes only half of the whole set Fredrik managed to compose in order to give to his project a strong consistency. The notion of tourism as a form of territorialization and deterriorialization being important to him, he fabricated his boards as maps that literally unfold the project in front of the viewer (see the following film).

The following text is his introduction to the project (for more renderings and another approach to the project read the article on dpr-barcelona):

THE SECOND COMMUNITY
IDENTITY TOURISM. CALIFORNIA CITY

ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
DIPLOMA UNIT 5. (Re)public: Third Natures, Carnal & Mundane Assemblies
Tutors: Efren Garcia Grinda + Cristina Diaz Moreno. Tyen Masten
2010 – 2011

In the desert  northeast of Los Angeles in an abandoned city called California City the 739600m2 Second Community floats above the desert floor like a mountain avatar. In its crater the 1500 heliostatic mirrors reflect the light onto the artificial sky covering the desert of the trans-identity port. With a capacity of 40,000 people the port gathers in its featureless white space individuals open to role-play.

The Second Community explores an alternative identity tourism that goes beyond the virtual space of online role-playing games, the open desert of the Burning Man festival and the convention halls of Cosplayers. Spanning half a kilometer the artificial desert of the port isolates the person in a void of imagination where the persona of an individual becomes a fugitive and creative semiotic gadget which collectively generate a public space of radical self exploration an experimentation.

The porous mountain avatar surrounding and supporting the sky of the port collects its energy from the concentrated solar power plant in the center of the crater, harvesting the power of the sun and delivers it to the caves around the centered port where the identity tourists prepare for the events in the port.

Totally! And I was like, this thing is full on ugly. Like a bridge on acid with all that metal and stuff. And oh my God, its freaking huge and it was so strange, cuz there were like no walls or doors and everything was like totally white. There were like thousands of people totally doing weird cool stuff. You should totally come, its freakin gnarly!


 

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