The Silent Witnesses


2011.11.12 10:04
Quondam's Fifteenth Anniversary
I read Sanford Kwinter's "Mack 1 (and Other Mystic Visitations)" last night and early this morning. Back in mid-October 1997, instead of going to the opening of Guggenheim Bilbao, Kwinter and Reiser went to a reenactment--the fiftieth anniversary reenactment of Yeager's October 14, 1947 breaking of the sound barrier. Kwinter calls the event a "commemorative re-enaction, of perhaps the second most significant accomplishment in the history of twentieth-century space," and, because architects did not somehow latch on to this accomplishment (back in the late 1940s), late twentieth-century architectural accomplishments like Guggenheim Bilbao are not as important as they seem. Apparently, architecture missed the real Zeitgeist "boat," however, and most thankfully, a reenactment can come to the rescue.
After reading, a few things started entering my mind, like didn't John Hejduk's Silent Witnesses architecturally address this very Zeitgeist? It's hard to grasp the impact of Silent Witnesses by just the images within The Mask of Medusa, but I still vividly remember seeing the models in person at Cooper Union (Spring Break, 1977). Hejduk definitely did not miss the boat, or the submarine, or the lunar module.
And what was I doing 14 October, 1997?

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