Where You Go Bernadette? (2019)

Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) is an emerging Archistar who flees Los Angeles to settle in Seattle. Her subsequent travel to Antarctica is finally liberating for her and her family.

Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett)

“Listen to me. Mom has made her own choices. Instead of facing reality, she chose to escape. And not for the first time. She escaped from Los Angeles. She escapes any personal responsibility. And what did she do yesterday when confronted with that fact from people who wanted to help her? She escaped… yet again. Look at me. We’re gonna live our lives and when she is ready to rejoin us… she will.”

The Architects and Builders Association of America recently polled 300 architectural graduate students and asked them which architects they admire most. The list is what most would expect. But tucked amongst the Frank Lloyd Wrights, Mies van der Rohes, Frank Gehrys, and Lorenzo Pianos is a woman who is virtually unknown. Bernadette Fox, one of architecture’s true enigmas, is extraordinary for many reasons. She was a young woman practicing solo in a male-dominated profession.

What have you been doing in Seattle for twenty years? “Well, I guess I just wanted to leave LA in a snit, you know, and when I determined that everyone felt sufficiently sorry for me, unfurl my cape and swoop in to launch my second act and show those bastards who the true… bitch goddess of architecture really is. But then, yeah…”

“I would really like a shot at designing that new station.” You’re an architect? “Well, no. considered myself much of an architect, per se. I’m more of a, um… problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.”

Fox, come here. I googled you. So why are you here? “I am trying not to be a menace to society anymore. And, look, I probably did get a little carried away, but, Ellen, I would really like a shot at designing this new station at 90 South.” What do you know about that? “Well, I, I know they’re dismantling it, and they’re gonna build a new one. You know, anyone who’s gonna have a shot at redesigning it, they’re gonna have to go visit and see it for themselves.” No one just visits the South Pole. It’s essential personnel only. And as far as I can make out, you fall in that rather large category of nonessential. “It’s just, the way I work is I have to inhabit a space, you know, before I can even begin designing it. Before I can discover what it needs to be. You know… God, just thinking about it’s got my heart racing. Oh, no. It’s not the bad kind of heart racing, as in, ‘I’m gonna die.’ It’s the good kind of heart racing, as in, ‘Hello, can I help you with something? ‘Cause if not step aside ’cause I am about to kick the shit out of life.’” Do you have any idea what overwintering entails? It’s twice the challenge anyone ever imagines going in. The only ones who can cut it are the ones who have a little bit of an antisocial streak in them. You have to be comfortable spending a lot of time alone. You have to go for long stretches without exercise. Showers are few and far between. “Sounds like I’ve been in training for this for the last 20 years.”

Color palette

The journey into the Labirinth

“The labyrinth is a form, but for those who live it is the experience of an impossibility to come out of it and therefore of an errand never ended – this is the source of its charm and the fear that inspires.” (Umberto Eco, The Infinity of Lists)

“The labyrinth stimulates and simultaneously responds to a longing for discovery, and its exploration is the archetypal act of the spirit that seeks. In this sense the impulse towards the discovery of exploration clearly shows the geographic value of an activity that is primarily mental and then concretely operational.” (M. Cristina Fanelli, Labirinti. Storia, geografia e interpretazione di un simbolo millenario)

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