introduction to dodospace

the word dodo comes either from the portuguese doudo or doido (stupid) or from the dutch doodaarsen(fat-arse). the dodo was a large non-flying bird native to the isle of mauritiana, famously exterminated by human senselessness. It was also known as walghvogel (disgusting bird) , for its unpleasantly tasting meat. a queer, unattractive and relatively unaggressive specimen that had adjusted to a detached environment, the dodo was only dominant because it remained secluded and free from menace. the arrival of foreign colonial exploiters, pigs and other prowlers sealed the fate of this lowlife yet innocuous creature. before the dodo disappeared, a few live specimens were taken to fairs and colonial shows, but the bird never generated much interest, and its ugliness prevented it from being collected and bred like other more attractive exotic creatures— the peacock, for example—. very few people had actually seen or known about the bird, to the point that it came to be considered a mythological creature. around the nineteenth century, two events brought the dodo back to human conscience: the discovery of a fossilized dodo skeleton and lewis carroll’s self-portrayal as a dodo in his alice tales.

as the name implies, dodospace is extinct: a space that has disappeared and left little evidence of its former existence. even in the likely case of remaining fragments—a familiar detail feature, a hint of the former structure, a trace of paint—dodospace only survives in recollection. thus, it is deformed; renditions of it are usually (helplessly) inaccurate, clouded by nostalgic—or even mythical— delusion. dodospace is what is left of the useless architectures isolated from chronic, accelerated change in a city. dodospace is like the lingering after the clearing of crash sites, those sudden, violent standstills.

what is the use of dodospace? before it actually disappeared, dodospace did have a function, albeit a marginal one. nonetheless, this minor role was deemed unimportant—occasionally dangerous, or at least uncomfortable—and the space was therefore ruthlessly and carelessly erased. dodospace was once a place for outcasts and odd types: unproductive twelve o’clock drunkards and hookers switching shifts, petty thieves and pushers, queers out to mingle, class clashes and infrasocial frottage.

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