Encyclopedia Ichnographica

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Benjamin Franklin Parkway


in the thick of reenactment season
2003.09.04 18:08

I purposefully walked from the front door of the Philadelphia Museum of Art down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the far side of Logan Circle and then back to the Art Museum. I did this to get a real sense of the scale of the virtual axis of life within Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius.

In reality I was walking across the forecourt of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, then down the steps that Rocky made famous running up, then across Eakins Oval, where the largest painting in the world once was, then down a tree covered allee along the south side of the Parkway stretching for three long blocks, then around Logan Circle, and then back in the direction I came although this time along the north side of the Parkway.

In virtuality I was walking through the Nympheum Neronis high on the Vatican Hill, through the Porticus Neronianae, through the Templum Martis (Temple of Mars), through the Area Martis where the Triumphal Way begins its "march" (this is around where the Rodin Museum is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and, as luck would have it, where the route of many of today's Philadelphia parades begin), then I walked around Hadrian's tomb, and then I walked back.

The whole walk took about 40 minutes, and if I had gone all the way to the LOVE sculpture at JFK Plaza across from City Hall, the walk back and forth would have taken just about an hour. ... I made mental note of most of the memorials on and along this stretch of the Parkway--Washington Memorial, Civil War Memorial, WWI Memorial, a plaque in the cement on axis at Logan Circle states that the trees along the Parkway were planted on honor of the soldiers of WWI, and a Shakespeare Memorial in front of the Free Library.




Re: more news from Philadelphia's Logan Circle
2003.09.12 10:40

I returned to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to continue virtually walking along the Campo Marzio long axis from Hadrian's Tomb to the tiny 'intercourse' building along the banks of the Tiber.

The most thought/memory provoking Memorial around Logan Circle is the one dedicated to the Colored Soldiers" who fought in World War I. Remember, the Parkway was executed between the two World Wars. There it is, literally etched in stone, the description of "Colored". Otherwise, it is a very handsome memorial, and evokes an enormous amount of respect.

I am somewhat surprised at the predominate amount of military/soldier memorials within/along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and I can't help but see how this all relates perfectly to the Campo Marzio, since the original Field of Mars is exactly were ancient Roman soldiers used to exercise. I [re]read the other night, in Building The City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, how the site of the Parkway, after demolition of the many previously occupied city blocks but before ultimate construction, was used briefly by troops before going to battle in Europe.

Lots of pictures were taken at and around Logan Circle before walking the rest of the axis toward the LOVE sculpture at JFK Plaza (now popularly referred to as "Love Park"). This part of the Parkway is integral to the city proper, thus tall buildings and regular pedestrians (half using cell phones) are in abundance--this contrasts with the Parkway north of Logan Circle, which is several large blocks of mostly open lawn. Just before reaching JFK Plaza, there is the Memorial dedicated to Holocaust Victims, on the Parkway since 1964. In the warmer months, the whole length of the Parkway (on both sides) is lined with the flags of the all the nations of the world--I believe this was started in the late 1970s. The nations are presented in alphabetical order, except the flag of Israel is next to the Holocaust Memorial, just like the flag of the Vatican is next to the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

John F. Kennedy Plaza/Love Park is one of Philadelphia's 'living rooms', and the Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture has been there (I believe) since the Bicentennial/1976. At first just a temporary installation signifying the meaning of Philadelphia--City of Brotherly Love, the sculpture became an endeared feature of the city and was thus made permanent. When I first took pictures of LOVE in October 2001, a newly engaged couple asked me to take a picture of them in front of the sculpture--the resultant picture was to be part of their Engagement Announcement. During the 1990s, Love Park became notorious as a preferred venue for skateboaders [indeed actually famous in overall skateboarding folklore]. Lots of damage was done, and skateboarding here is now prohibited--although I think special/official skateboarding competitions are still conducted here.




Re: Ichnographia Romaphilia
2004.12.16 13:56

While working with Piranesi the discussion is often enlightening.

"So why exactly did you produce two versions of the Ichnographia Campus Martius and keep everyone none the wiser?"

"Overall, I just wanted to see who would find the two versions first. They were found, eventually (after more than two hundred years), but it's embarrassing for all the Piranesi "scholars" because it wasn't one of them."

"Why do you think the so-called scholars failed? Why did they not see what was always right in front of them?

"Simply put, they never reenacted the source."

"Kahn reenacted the source, and he didn't see the two versions."

"Well, I'd say Kahn was busy manifesting new versions of his own."

"Perhaps it's just plain destiny that Philadelphia itself reenacts the source."

"You know, I love you guys like brothers."

"That's fine as long as you realize that we're all independent as well."

"Ha, tell that to Romulus and Remus."

division isolation separation boundaries oh my!!
2006.02.18 13:51

...they are Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius, i.e., Rome and Center City Philadelphia aligned along their respective axis of life and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Both axes uncannily match in length, and the circumference of Hadrian's Tomb uncannily matches Logan Circle.




S + M + L = QBVS
2006.08.02

Hi Steve:
I had taken out Scully's American Architecture and Urbanism. On page 224 I noticed this picture--don't know if you had seen it before. Contrary to what the caption says, Kahn's plan for Philadelphia was not "drawn over" the Piranesi plan: it's plain to see from the photo that it was just pinned over it. It's a very interesting picture in light of what you have since done: Kahn simply covered over his Campo Marzio with the Philadelphia plan, whereas you have actually conjoined them.
Tony



Thanks Tony. I've never noticed the image on page 224 before. It's neat, too, to see that Kahn had a copy of the Ichnographia Campi Martii in its second state.




Lost's ending
2009.01.29

I now suspect, after seeing the third episode of Lost season 5 last night, that Lost will end with all of its original cast alive and together. This is how I see the current time traveling coming to a conclusion. It will be like Finnegans Wake and like Il Campo Marzio. Too bad Bloomer didn't make this vital connection.

So now it's exploration of the possibilities of the space-time continuum. Like Proust was a neuroscientist, was Piranesi, with the Ichnographia Campus Martius, a scientist of the fourth dimension? (Here is where I have to review Dixon's "Ichnographia as Uchronia".) Is Ichnographia Quondam also a study/experiment of architecture (and urbanism) in the fourth dimension? For IQ the time continuum connection is the Axis of Life/Parkway connection, which comes after Piranesi's own Porticus Neronianus/St. Peter's connection.




Re: Reenacting Paintings
2009.02.09 09:14

Finally read the article, and yes it would have been more complete if the notion of reenactment was also addressed, as reenactment involves all the issues: reproduction, cloning, authenticity, degrees of separation, even, to some extent, space-time. I'd say the degrees of separation issue is here the most important in that, like you mention, the reproductions come extremely close to the original, and can even occupy the space of the original, but the reproductions can never be the original. I'm reminded of that aspect of calculus where the curve continues to more and more closely approach + or - 1 but never reaches the actual integer itself.

"Bifuracted authenticity" is an interesting notion, but, in terms of authenticity, it's a little misleading--there is still really only one authentic work (the reproduction Marriage of Cana even in original context is still a reproduction). Nonetheless, it brings to mind notions of the Baroque--"Within his double theater Bernini capsulized the beginning of Western culture's new bifurcation of the real and the illusory, introduced mirroring as a henceforth dominant (post) Baroque (stylistic) theme, and, at base (or should I say at the ultimate end), inverted reality into a reenactment of its own illusory mirror (--is this perhaps also the genesis of historiography?)." Plus, the mystical notion of bilocation, or is it actually something scientific as in the space-time continuum? Is the match of the Campo Marzio Axis of Life and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway an example of "bifurcated authenticity"?

So, generally, my take on the article is that 'reenactment' is missing and really should have been included. Greenaway essentially performed two reenactments--one the reenacted natural lighting in situ, and two the reenacted lighting on the reenacted painting at another/nearby site--and Factum Arte reenacted the Marriage of Cana at its original site.

Here a Versailles, There a Versailles, Everywhere a Versailles, sigh--going Baroque in the space-time continuum!




Match of the axis of life and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
2012.06.29 - 2012.06.30
12062901 12063001



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