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2002.12.27 13:47
Re: WTC design reflections
The last time I was at the WFC Wintergarden was early September 1990, having lunch after a visit to the skydeck at the World Trade Center (also for the last time). I had been to the World Trade Center the month before (around August 15th, 16th or 18th maybe?) with relatives visiting from Germany, and we did go up to the WTC viewing platform then, but sky conditions were extremely overcast with clouds that day, so the skydeck was closed and only the indoor viewing floor was open--there wasn't much visible except straight down. My return trip in September was to get to the skydeck--I was up there probably around 9:30-10:00 am, and the weather was gorgeous, probably a lot like 11 September 2001.
Ah, to recapture those views, if only in memory (theater) right now. Can anything short of strict reenactment of the tower(s) again provide the same sensation of being atop an enormous(ly ideal) architectural pylon?
While religion might be for the most part absent from thinking about the site now (officially at least), the notion of worship is nonetheless still present. I wonder how many houses of worship the WTC site could comfortably accommodate among the rest of what is (commercially and commemoratively) proposed. Do any of the new proposals specifically address pilgrimage? Or is pilgrimage only something (to be) attached to the forthcoming memorial proposals?
There are memorials everywhere all over this planet, and, unfortunately, most are soon and easily forgotten--when's the last time you went specifically to an old memorial to specifically remember what is there being memorialized? There are comparatively few memorials on this planet that are pilgrimage sites as well.

2003.01.19 17:26
abstract for Studium Urbis's my abstract. I hope the formatting of the text comes through via email. If not, you can check quondam to see the format I intend. Thanks again for allowing me this opportunity to participate. I hope the abstract and the paper it portends meets your qualifications and expectations.
Mnemonically Delineating Veracity
"Authenticity is one thing, veracity another."
Marguerite Yourcenar, "Faces of History in the Historia Augusta" in The Dark Brain of Piranesi and other Essays.
An apparent lack of veracity has always been at issue within modern interpretations G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martiis (1757-62) despite Piranesi's extraordinary 'scientific' knowledge of ancient Rome and it's remains as evident throughout the four volumes of Le Antichitā Romane (1756), as well as throughout Piranesi's other archaeological publications, including the Il Campo Marzio dell'Antica Roma. Contemporary architectural theorists from historian Manfredo Tafuri to architect Peter Eisenman view the Ichnographia as a city devoid of its own history, thus a plan prognosticating autonomous urbanism, yet that is exactly what the Ichnographia Campus Martius is not.
Beginning with comparisons between select portions of the Piranesi's Ichnographia and Giambattista Nolli's Pianta Grande di Roma, it becomes clear that the Ichnographia is an elaborate mnemonic devise. Like the imaginary building plans that Roman orators created in their minds as an aid toward the memorization of their speeches, the Ichnographia is literally an imaginary plan manifest as an aid toward the memorization of virtually all of ancient Rome's history. Thus the Ichnographia is not a fantastical reconstruction, rather, like the art of memory itself, the Ichnographia is a reenactment.
'Mnemonically Delineating Veracity' concludes with a brief reenactment of how an independent artist from Philadelphia came to discover a heretofore unnoticed initial(?) printing of the Ichnographia Campus Martius.
Stephen Lauf

2003.05.28 11:20
Re: story telling
Piranesi very much utilized/executed a 'narrative' approach to design via the Ichnographia Campo Marzio, which predates Cooper Union/Hejduk by about two centuries. Moreover, Piranesi's approach may well have been inspired/influenced by the mnemonic design methodology of Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, which comes from 1900 years ago. Story telling/weaving/fabricating (like the above) is a very basic form of reenactionary architecturism.
Is reenactionary architecturism essentially an architecture that does not forget?

2003.06.24 14:20
Re: Götterdämmerung?
Remember, mnemonics is a technique of improving the efficiency of the memory, and not memory in and of itself. Memory is mental reenactment, thus mnemonics is a technique of improving the efficiency of mental reenactment. Mnemonics is very much an 'architecture' of reenactment.
Cloning too is reenactment, albeit extreme/pure reenactment--how exactly does one describe the degree of separation manifest via cloning? --not a zero degree, but not exactly one degree either--is it then virtual and real sameness all in two (or more)?
Is cloning also radical repetition? It certainly is a radical form of reproduction.

2003.08.15 11:03
death of the original Ezeri Mester
...a vast architecture of mnemonics, a House of Zeitgeist, you might say.

2003.08.23 13:34
Re: calendars of space, time, place
Of late, I more see (my 'brand' of) "calendrical coincidence" like a somewhat large mnemonic structure/house comprised of 365.25 rooms, one 'room' for each full planetary spin as the planet itself makes one full rotation around the sun. Many different 'events' get sorted into these individual rooms based first on the day, and then second by the year--historical events, saints days, Holy and Holidays, personal events, etc. I'm realizing it is interesting to "remember" history in this manner, where, instead of 'analyzing' events by decade or quarter or half century, for example, analysis is done by a specific day or days cutting through all solar years.

2003.09.01 14:09
Re: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Regarding paradigm, the dictionary definition is that of being a model, which is not exactly the same as a "meme". For example, the shift in antique Roman culture from Paganism to Christianity is a paradigm shift that occurred largely because of the legalizing of Christianity and the outlawing of Paganism. One could say that Christianity spread within the antique world via "meme", which in modern terms would be called evangelism, but the cultural shift from Paganism to Christian is very much based on legal paradigms.
I forgot mention in my last post the close relation between "meme" and reenactment (and what I have occasionally referred to as reenactionary architecturism). Reenactment as a pure function precedes "meme" in that the function of (human/individual) memory itself is a mental reenactment, thus "memes", more than anything are the spreading of mental reenactments, just like viruses replicate/reenact themselves.
When it come to "style", one could ask "What (if anything) is the style reenacting?" In Meaning In Western Architecture, without specifying reenactment, Norberg-Schulz nonetheless explains how the axiality of Egyptian temples as analogous to the axiality of the Nile, etc. Likewise, the cardo and decumanus of Roman town plans represent (reenact) the axis of the Earth and the motion of the sun respectively. One could even ask what (if anything) does symmetry in design reenact? Does symmetry in design stem largely from the overwhelming symmetrical design of the human body?
If one takes the design of the human body as a paradigm, can one then say that corporAl symmetry was then reenacted corporEAlly, and thereafter symmetry in design was spread as paradigm via meme?
Is it fair to say that A. is (or appears to be) taking the theory of evolution as a paradigm and via meme applying it to the history of architecture? Or is a theory of evolution already manifest as a paradigm within the history of architecture, and A. is (the first?) detecting it? Oddly, if A. is successful in his pursuits, the answer to both questions will be yes.
All of the above regarding reenactment stem from the logical hypothesis that a reenactment can never be as original as that which it reenacts, and that reenactment come with degrees of separation between the reenactment and that which is being reenacted. Thus (I see) paradigm as closer in degrees to something original and meme as closer in degrees to reenactment.
Here's one of my favorite examples of reenactionary architecturism: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constituted originated, but the design of the city itself is very much a reenactment--there are other historical cities named Philadelphia (today's Amman, Jordan, for example), and Holme's survey/plan reenacts a Roman camp town precisely, even to the point where the cardo here today, Broad Street, is the longest straight urban street in the world. After the American Revolution, Philadelphia became the first, albeit interim, capital of the USA, and it's architecture then began to reenact the architecture of ancient Greece, which was used a paradigm of "democratic" design.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the design of Philadelphia's new Benjamin Franklin Parkway set out to reenact the Champs Elysees of Paris, and there indeed are replicas of the palaces of the Place de la Concorde at Logan Circle, the centerpiece of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The design of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as reenactment becomes even more compounding when it is recognized that its design, as unwittingly manifest today, matches exactly Piranesi's design of an axis of life within the Ichnographia Campus Martius.

2003.09.10 15:28
What are you reading?
Lost in the Archives
"There is a crisis in the archives. Contemporary protocols for archiving and accessing increasingly vast amounts of materials present unprecedented possibilities and problems for the production, classification, and use of knowledge. Surveying the jagged edge between memory and forgetting, revealing the force and scope of some of memory's losses--its technical drop-outs, its lacunae, burials, omissions, eclipses, and denials--Lost in the Archives explores the thesis that memory is productively read from its failures and absences, in the not-yet or impossible archives, in archive fevers and dementias, in all the places archives cannot or have not looked. Investigations on the limits of memory are instigated by over 70 artists and writers, including Jacques Derrida, Atom Egoyan, Gustave Flaubert, Boris Groys, Candida Höfer, Rem Koolhaas, Sol Lewitt, Bruce Mau, and Jeff Wall. Like a purloined letter, the shelved and forgotten book wields its most virulent power precisely in being unread. Unread, if not indeed illegible, what is lost in the archive may prove to exert the most shocking force."

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

2003.12.14 17:42
Re: which Acropolis do you prefer?
The explosion of the Parthenon occurred 26 September 1687. It would be interesting to know how many people on Earth 316 years from now will know the date of the attack on the World Trade Center off the top of their head.
Collective memory is a lot more selective than criticism.
For how long did the 'ideal' design of the Acropolis actually exist? Moreover, do we even fully understand what the Acropolis was really like while it manifest it's most ideal existence. For example, how was it all painted? Did a fair amount of the ideal design actually fade as soon as the colors did?

2004.04.14 14:29
Re: this from UCLA
It seems clear that what the Palestinian students are doing is reenactionary. Moreover, what are walls if not seminal architecturism? "architecturalizing reenactment" sounds like a synonym for mnemonics (especially as outlined by Quintilian--reference Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory, page 3).

2004.05.02 12:01
Re: movement generates 3d
Which has a better memory, the mind or the body?
"The spin-doctor I most believe in is the Earth itself, mainly because of the calendar of seasonal reenactment it engenders." he said jokingly.
"Are you paraphrasing from Hemingway's A Moveable Feast again?" the other quickly queried.
Enter Eutropia "Hey! Guess what! Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheims and Sigmund Freud were all at the Vatican Museum doing a double-helix love/hate thing circa 20 January 2004. They were obviously avoiding us at Mediolandum. And that reminds me how 1699 years ago at Mediolandum yesterday my husband officially became a quondam Emperor."
Where does one stop being in Mediolandum and start being in Milan?

2004.06.06 8:27
from mnemonics to Mnemosyne
"As a result, I have recently become more sympathetic to the "cop-out" position, which would mean abandoning the flawed ground zero design process altogether in favor of reconstructing the twin towers more or less as they were. Certainly, I'm prepared to defend reconstruction as a cultural act. It would be an offering to Mnemosyne, mother of the muses, from whom all culture flows."
--Herbert Muschamp, "Back to Square One at Ground Zero" in The New York Times, 6 June 2004.
"To be honest, I wish all the tragedies of 911 just never happened. I wish the WTC Towers were still there, and I likewise wish they could be replaced just the way they were. But all of it did happen, and we will most likely never again see WTC Towers like the ones we used to see."
--Stephen Lauf, "WTC Viewing Platform or Husker Du redo", 10 January 2002.
'Husker du?' is Danish for 'do you remember?'
from mnemonic to Mnemosyne:
"Perhaps anyone dealing with the future of the World Trade Center site show read Frances A. Yates' The Art of Memory.
Just over a year ago I read (at least) the first chapter of The Art of Memory, "Three Latin Sources for the Classical Art of Memory," which clearly describes the principles of the mnemonic. For example:
"It is not difficult to get hold of the general principles of the mnemonic. The first step was to imprint on the memory a series of loci or places. ..."
--Stephen Lauf, "Re: These Muschampian NYTimes", 25 December 2002.



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