Encyclopedia Ichnographica

Lauf, Stephen

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Lauf, Stephen


reinterpretation
2002.08.22 16:28

Within a short text entitled "Virtual Architecture - Real Space" from the book Asymptote Flux (2002.05.24), Hani Rashid writes, "The Campo Marzio of Piranesi, for example, can be reinterpreted as a data environment in which the buildings and architectures he envisioned each represent an idealized accumulation of "architectonic" information." I'm curious as to why Rashid didn't bother to mention that this "reinterpretation" of Piranesi's Campo Marzio stems from research done and published via www.quondam.com, a virtual museum of architecture.




research assisance
2655b
2002.10.27 13:50




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.




cloning architecture - a global search
2004.06.16 05:53

On the Campo Marzio issue, I've (already) compiled a bibliography of architectural literature on Piranesi's large plan. Briefly, before Tafuri there is Fasolo in 1956 (who Tafuri in places reiterates, but he did not note any of the 1956 mistakes), and Scully on Kahn in 1962. Tafuri's Architecture and Utopia was first published in Italian in 1973, and his The Sphere and the Labyrinth was first published in Italian in 1980. Since 1980, most architectural writers have sprouted off the Tafuri branch, and there is only one architectural writer who, in 1981, began to sprout off Kahn's branch of investigation entwined with reenactment.




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."

Koolhaas versus the Actor
2005.05.09 09:45

David R. Marshall in "Piranesi, Javarra, and the Triumphal Bridge Tradition" (The Art Bulletin, June 2003) also relates information regarding the Campo Marzio plan, that prior was only available at Quondam, without giving the reference a proper citing.




Envisioning the Past
2005.06.25 14:15

Sam Smiles and Stephanie Moser, editors, Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005).

I've been looking forward to getting/reading this book for almost a year now because of Susan M. Dixon's "Illustrating Ancient Rome, or the Ichnographia as Uchronis and Other Time Warps in Piranesi's Il Campo Marzio." therein.

I've known Sue Dixon since 1975, as we started architecture school together. Sue and I had many phone conversations regarding Piranesi and the Campo Marzio from 1994 to 1997. We hardly communicate at all anymore, and that's mostly because Sue sees my Campo Marzio work as too outside the realm of academia and also somewhat infringing upon the work that she herself wanted/wants to do. In her last email to me (of almost two years ago) she actually suggested that "publishing via the web is not copyrighted." Of course, I immediately informed her that her supposition was completely bogus, and it is indeed unfortunate that such a notion is indicative of how academia chooses to view any kind of publishing that is outside of academia's own control.

I still like Sue, but I don't like the academic mold that she and all others like her have to conform to. I particularly dislike how my unprecedented Campo Marzio work remains academically unrecognized. Granted, I was surprised to find Sue actually mentioned me in a footnote within her essay above, but all that really does is point to a rather large lacunae in her references. I'll be "de-constructing" "Illustrating Ancient Rome..." in a series of subsequent posts... Here's something for starters:

The whole point of Dixon's "Illustrating Ancient Rome..." occurs in one sentence on page 121:

"In this sense, the Ichnographia reads as a memory of an ancient Roman past rather than a historical reconstruction of it."

This passage is remarkably similary to a sentence within the abstract to "Inside the Density of G.B Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii" which I wrote in 1999:

"The hundreds of individual building plans and their Latin labels within the Campo Marzio do not "reconstruct" ancient Rome as much as they "reenact" it."

It looks like Sue hasn't realized that human memory itself is nothing but a reenactment.

...footnote 16 of "Illustrating Ancient Rome..." reads:
I thank Stephen Lauf for pointing out this late fourth-century monument. It is situated on the right bank of the Tiber, just south of the bridge leading to the Mausoleum of Hadrian.

The monument Dixon notes is the Arch of Gratian and Valentinian II, but the arch that Piranesi delineates within the Ichnographia is the Arch of Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius, so I'm not really sure what Sue is thanking me for (and I certainly hope that she is not somehow covertly implicating me as to making a mistaking identification). There are a couple of possibilities as to what really happened here:

1. Sue could be recalling some long ago phone conversation that we had. I doubt this though.

2. Sue is referencing (albeit incorrectly) page 6.1 of "Inside the Density...". If this is the case, then she should certainly have provided the full bibliographical reference.

3. Sue could be referencing the "Honorius, Flavius" entry of Encyclopedia Ichnographica that was published at Quondam in 1998. The Arch of Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius is indicated there as well.

Will Your Work Be Remembered?
2005.08.05 14:36

Since memory is really a mental reenactment, perhaps the better question is, "Will your work will be reenacted?"

Be careful though, because reenactment without giving credit to the source is plagiarism.

A bit of my work was 'remembered' by David R. Marshall in "Piranesi, Juvarra, and the Triumphal Bridge Tradition" (in The Art Bulletin, June 2003) when in footnote 155 Marshall states, "...but the Area Martis through to the Nympheum Neronis, including the Templum Martis is a hieroglyph of St. Peter's, to which it corresponds topographically." Marshall does not name the 1998.05.10 source of this information, however. Furthermore, Marshall's note is misinformation in that the Porticus Neroniani and not the Nympheum Neronis forms part of the 'hieroglyph'.




It rocked Eisenman in his chair...
2005.11.08 15:23

The following is part of an unexpected email I received about an hour ago:

"I am a student at the Yale Graduate school of Architecture. We have Eisenman as a professor and he makes us analyse, among others, Piranesi's Campo Marzio. Along with my own analysis, I used some of the more striking parts of your very interesting and excellent analysis. It rocked Eisenman on his chair and he is now inquiring into your analysis, of which he had not heard."




It rocked Eisenman in his chair...
2005.11.10 15:03

To be honest, I care very little about what Bloomer wrote or how she intellectually operates. What I do care about is what Piranesi delineated via the two versions of the Ichnographia of Il Campo Marzio.... All I have ever done is analyze the Ichnographia itself, which is exactly what virtually all other contemporary writers on the Ichnographia have not done! I have never been interested in spreading some current/trendy intellectual "thought" by troping Piranesi and the Ichnographia, a course of action begun by Tafuri. What I am interested in is to find out what Piranesi did himself.



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