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Inside the Density of G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius

pagan   1 : HEATHEN 1; esp : a follower of polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome) 2 : one that has little or no religion and that is marked by a frank delight in and uninhibited seeking after sensual pleasures and material goods : and unrestrained hedonist and materialist

christian   1 a : one who believes or professes or is assumed to believe in Jesus Christ and the truth as taught by him : an adherent of Christianity : one who has accepted the Christian religious and moral principles of life : one who has faith in and pledged allegiance to God thought of as revealed in Christ : one whose life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ

triumph   1 a : an ancient Roman ceremonial in honor of a general after his decisive victory over a foreign enemy beginning with his entrance into the city preceded by the senate and magistrates, the spoils, and the captives in chains and followed by his army in marching order and ending with sacrificial offerings and a public feast b : a triumphal procession or stately esp. public show or pageant

Pagan - Christian - Triumphal Way

The route of the Triumphal Way within the Ichnographia Campus Martius begins in the Area Martis, a forecourt to the Temple of Mars, and ends at the Porta Triumphalis, the Triumphal Gate within the Servian Wall.

Tafuri's critique of "operative criticism"
Via Heynen's chapter 3 of Architecture and Modernity, I'm now aware of Tafuri's critique of "operative criticism" and even though Tafuri espouses a "historical criticism", the operation of operative criticism is still very prevalent in the ongoing formulation of architectural history and theory. The prime example (for me at least) of how operative criticism still prevails is in the universal notion that significant architectural history and theory most certainly must emanate from the university, particularly from those who write or have written PhD dissertations.

Other examples include the whole way that "virtual" architecture is assumed to pertain to either virtual reality or computer generated topological architectural forms or some kind of fractal environment. All these (per)conceptions aside, it still remains a fact that the first virtual museum of architecture originates from a modest row home in an immigrant neighborhood of Philadelphia, yet this is not how the "official" architectural historians want this particular portion of architectural history to be written.

The theme of operative criticism is not something I expected, nor did I expect after finding out about it today, that it would describe exactly what I see as "current" history's greatest fault. I will carry this new thinking through as one of the dominant themes of Quondam 2000. Essentially, Quondam will be my vehicle to criticize the "operative criticism" of today, and, in so doing, I will actually objectively follow Tafuri's notion of "historical criticism".

2000.02.02 20:52
apples and oranges (as usual)
Paul writes:
Oh, oh. You have triggered another white-headed anecdote. For some obscure reason, related to some particular concern of the moment, I borrowed a copy of Oppositions from our school reading room and happened to be walking across our rotunda when spotted by our dean, who shouted to colleagues, "Do you see what I see? Paul with Oppositions!" I have never been an admirer of Eisenman (I respect him, perhaps, but do not admire his work, architectural or theoretical). Frankly, there was a lot of crap in that high-toned, precious little journal. Have you ever tried to follow Eisenman's "discourse" with Derrida? Pure comedy--what a put-on!

Steve replies (and asks):
First of all, Oppositions is not full of "a lot of crap," and to counter Paul's claim, see a bibliography of Oppositions at /oppositions. (I compiled this bibliography in 1997, but it hasn't been featured at Quondam for over a year. It's there again now.) There were over 150 authors that contributed to Oppositions from 1974 to 1984. Eisenman acted as co-editor of the journal with Frampton and Vidler, with each editor usually writing a short editorial or occassionally a full length article/essay. No texts by or discourses with Derrida ever appeared within Oppositions.
Paul's anecdote may manifest disinformation regarding Oppositions, but it is right on as to how prejudicious works (perhaps especially in academe)--Oppositions is associated with Eisenman; Eisenman is now most known for his advocacy of 'deconstruction' and his ties with Derrida; "I don't like deconstruction and what it is doing [or did] to architecture"; ergo, Oppositions "was a lot of crap."
Paul, how much of Oppositions have you actually read?

Three of the most inspirational texts I've ever read were in Oppositions. They are by William S. Huff, and they are his essays on symmetry. I believe Huff was a student of Louis Kahn. [Huff actually worked for/with Kahn, particularly on Tribune Review Press Building and the First Unitarian Church.]



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