Folding Eisenman.

These past few days have been all about diachronical folding. Less with my hands, for once: they have been preoccupied with drumsticks and painkillers.

Read some great words from 1992 by Peter Eisenman, under the title of "Visions' Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media." He had some good ideas, stemming from Moebius strips and 'The fold, Leibniz and the Baroque' by Deleuze. The sticky+flexible oblique plane as habitable circulation / 'third architectural response' was just starting to get popular whispers. A year later "Folding in Architecture" was published.

His emphatic tone cheers me:

Folding changes the traditional space of vision. It can be considered to be effective; it functions, it shelters, it is meaningful; it frames, it is aesthetic.

Folding is not another subjective expressionism, a promiscuity, but rather unfolds in space alongside of its functioning and its meaning in space - it has what might be called an excessive condition or affect ... the deflection of the line in space means that there no longer exists a one-to-one scale correspondence.

Once the environment becomes affective, inscribed with another logic or ur-logic, one which is no longer translatable into the vision of the mind, then reason becomes detached from vision. While we can still understand space in terms of its function, structure and aesthetic - we are still within 'four walls' - somehow reason becomes detached from the affective condition of the environment itself. This begins to produce an environment that 'looks back' ... it does not seek to be understood in the traditional way of architecture, yet it possesses some sense of 'aura', an ur-logic which is the sense of something outside our vision.


I walked around his memorial to Jewish lives lost during WWII in Berlin earlier this summer:

No one seemed to know what it was about; you don't get told. This bothered some. I prefer to be shown, or at least feel out some meaning for myself. The distances between the pillars enforce a single-file route, and you catch glimpses of people getting lost, disappearing into the blocks. It felt a little like a forest. Interestingly, there's a plaque highlighting the illegality of public sunbathing on the pillars.

Eisenman countered his critics thus:

"Architecture is not about information -- we're saturated with information. The field of pillars is a memory of the unrecordable, unmemorable, unmarkable. I was attempting silence."


Anonymous mink said...

this thing of silence, it makes me uneasy. It comes up a lot in Holocaust discourse. A good essay, which deals with this is Dominick LaCapra "Lanzmann's Shoah: 'Here There Is No Why'" (Critical Inquiry 23 - Winter 1997). (- but it makes sense only if you've seen Lanzmann.)

Anyway the suggestion of silence - or the blank space of the page, however you call it - is very powerful and moving. Something so clear and simple, so strong and pure, it seems right. I find myself attracted to it, but at the same time repelled, because it is so dangerous.
you see, silence is recordable, is markable, is memorable. And we sometimes forget it so easily.

Me, i prefer music

9/11/05 23:54  
Blogger dan hancox said...

I'm with Eisenman too. Though at the risk of contradicting his statement entirely and saturating you with information, I understood that the Berlin Holocaust Memorial is intended to evoke feelings of nausea, sea-sickness and displacement, which is why the ground is wavy and the blocks are different heights. I haven't actually been yet because they were still finishing it when I was last there.

Did you go to Potsdamer Platz when you went to Berlin? It used to be no man's land between east and west so all of the buildings that fill the void are brand-spanking-new cutting-edge skyscrapers - all owned by management consultants and banks natch - it's a pretty awe-inspiring area. Solid modernity, nothing older than 15 years.

Have I mentioned before how amazing your blog is Miranda? If not let me do so now :-)

18/11/05 15:18  

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