onsdag 2. mars 2011

an unfamiliar sound

A couple of years ago, the Swiss population determined, by election, to ban the building of minarets on mosques. This decision is highly controversial, meaning that the majority in this case will decide on a minority's right to express both their religion and their cultural heritage through a building design and denying them the right to express themselves in their shared, common public space. Is this a decision which occurs because of irritation over a change of the street space aesthetics or is it racism - different rules for different subcultures in society?
One of the most elaborate new buildings in Grønland is the Islamic Cultural Center Mosque in Åkebergveien.
In 2000, the mosque applied to get the right to call to prayer from loudspeakers outside the mosque. It was met with fierce protests, and it was even formed an action group against prayer. The end of the story was that they were allowed to pray in the framework of 60 decibels. Nevertheless, the mosque chose not to avail themselves of this opportunity and only prayer inside, probably to avoid confrontation (but they probably wouldnt had applied if it wasnt a wish...) At Grønland the senses have a stronger presence than elsewhere in the city. Here the scents are stronger, the colors more present and the sounds more intense than in the rest of the city. These are variables that help to stimulate the curiosity and differentiate streets from each other, these are little hints that tell about what happens but that might not be seen but nevertheless gives a broader expireience of the situation.
It is through these sensory experiences we can experience the city in its entirety, the perceptional account for only a small part of the overall experience, we must not forget the rest of the senses in our understanding of the city.

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