The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized


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Stephen Lauf

"Finding the New Testament Buried in Snow"

2002.09.04 13:20
Re: finding the NT buried in snow
In an email sent to me directly, Saul Fisher wrote:
Dear Stephen,
I know it's impolitic to ask people what their poetic allusions are supposed to mean, but your latest missive is a bit unclear, even from a poetic perspective. What would you have us make of the Kahn quote that you provided from Scully? It would be interesting to hear what anyone else, Scully included, has made of that particular quote. Your notion that the NT is to be found, buried in the snow, as a trope on Kahn's quote seemed to me a little elliptical. Is this supposed to comment on Kahn's self-conception as regards his Jewish identity? It strikes me that the clearest thing one can say about Kahn's explorations of his own social/ethnic/religious identity is that he spent a great amount of time and effort working on Jewish-related projects (not just the crucial Hurva synagogue plans, but also the Trenton Jewish Community Center, the Mikveh Israel Synagogue (Philadelphia), Mechanical Engineering Building (Tel Aviv University), and the Memorial to Six Million Jewish Martyrs).
Cheers, Saul
to which I replied:
Dear Saul,
Thanks for taking the time to inquire about Finding the New Testament Buried in Snow. I will outline to some extent the intention/meaning of this work.
1. see "sorry Vitruvius, sorry da Vinci" beginning at wqc/01/0012.htm . This set of pages concisely documents the appearance of the circle/square juncture diagram as I have found it a wide variety of works. The Timepiece of Humanity being the clearest connection of the circle/square diagram and the New Testament.
2. I am currently working on Somewhat Incompletely Louis I. Kahn, a compact disk publication, and I am well aware of Kahn's 'Jewish' work, particularly all the early works (mostly built and some projects) in and about Philadelphia that date pre-1950/Yale Art Gallery. Some notes/texts of this publication and my thoughts on the Jewish connection are within the design-l archive from August 2002.
3. For a completely artistic interpretation of the work in question, consider that what Kahn did (as quoted by Scully) was to reenact Christ's last wound via the "sword to the heart," and then reenact Christ's short/dissolved burial via "burying [the New Testament] in snow." Then consider Stephen Lauf reenacting Helena Augusta's discovery of three buried crosses.
4. a second interpretation of Finding The New Testament Buried In Snow is that how Vitruvius and da Vinci (et al) see the conjunction of circles and squares is the Old Testament.
Hope all this helps round-out and/or square the "elliptical."



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