A World in Ruins

Christian Lagata

In July 1972, the Pruitt-Igoe residential complex, a Le Corbusier-style housing unit built on the outskirts of Saint-Louis (Missouri) between 1952 and 1955 by architect Minoru Yamasaki, was blown up at the request of its inhabitants who were there forced into urban immigration. Critics dated that moment as the liberation of architecture from the pedagogical role imposed by the functionalism of the second postwar period. The pedagodgy movement that decided that the only functions of contemporary life were to produce, to rest/consume, to inhabit and to circulate rapidly. This system of integral control of bodies and minds was inherited from factory and prison and embellished by means of technological and consumerist comfort. 


Coincidence, bad luck, or a precise sign of the times, more than thirty years later, another collapse, that of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, built by the same Yamasaki, will mark a new moment of historical rupture. It caused crowd management protocols to be rewritten and citizens to live in a state of constant terror. More security cameras were placed to permanently monitor the city to prevent further terrorist actions, turning privacy into a utopia and living in a Big Brother-like surveillance.


Nightmare and dream, dystopia and heterotopia, city and apocalypse.  This video juxtaposes fragments, in the form of "found footage", of these two key milestones in the history and destiny of the world and the contemporary city. Audiovisual documents belonging to the experimental film "Koyaanisqatsi" by Godfrey Reggio, 1983. In which appears the demolition of Pruitt-igoe, being modified the original rhythm of the film that appears rewound, advancing it and returning it to a normal rhythm. And "WTC 9/11" by photojournalist Mark LaGanga's, 2001, who documents the collapse of the Twin Towers and the subsequent moments and from which only part of the audio corresponding to the collapse of the second tower has been used.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: A World in Ruins
  • Direction: Christian Lagata
  • Production: 2019.
  • Duration: 00:05:47
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Original format: HD 1920x1080