[1981] 1994

Simulacra and Simulation

[1981] 1994 Simulacra and Simulation
1999 The Anaesthetics of Architecture, chapter 1

reenactment architectures
...the whole notion of reenactment itself, and how it differs from simulacra (I think) and plain mimeses (also I think). The key factor is the "acting" out again of a prior event or situation, which is different from just copying.
The more I think about this project, the more issues that come to mind. Besides the list of buildings already written, other examples include: my birth reenactment; Southern Bavaria: Ludwig II and the Passion plays; my sacrifice reenactment, the old Sears firehouse, the Great Stupa/tomb of Augustus.

Encyclopedia Ichnographica
When I read your list of the five types of design, I immediately wondered if the notion of reenactment architectures may engender a sixth category. I know that reenactment is very much related to Mimetics and even Anthropomorphics, but I also see an important distinction between the latter two and the notion of reenactment, in that reenactments are not exactly copies, nor are they reconstructions, rather they are repeated rituals that have a core essence/event that is continual but also slightly changed over time and according to present circumstances. For example, Hadrian's Villa is perhaps the first (virtual) museum of architecture and the first reenactment 'theme park', the reign of Ludwig II of Bavaria was nothing less than a reenactment of previous European absolute monarchies, Disney's Cinderella castle/Magic Kingdom (modeled after Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle) is then a reenactment of a reenactment (deluxe redux redux), Princess Diana's funeral reenacted Ancient Rome's Triumphal Way in every single detail including the massive (global) crowds that watched, and Las Vegas is undoubtedly today's world capital of reenactment architectures, even to the point of synthesizing a new reenactment urbanism. Moreover, now that I think of it, Rowe and Koetter's Collage City in part very much purports reenactment architectures/urbanisms although I believe the word reenactment is never used. Even if reenactment architectures are only a subset of Mimetics, I believe that reenactment architectures will nonetheless become a predominant design methodology throughout the coming millennium. It is then towards the notion of understanding and formulating a theory of reenactment architectures that I plan to further use what Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius teaches me.

I'm (spot) reading Hilde Heynen's Architecture and Modernity (MIT Press, 1999). Hilde was a member of NeTHCA's (Network for Theory, History and Criticism of Architecture, Belgium) scientific committee which selected my paper for INSIDE DENSITY. Hilde was also a key organizer of INSIDE DENSITY, and she recognized reenactment as a powerful concept. Her book towards the end deals with mimesis, and I now see further how mimesis and reenactment cut a similar profile, but I also see how the concept of reenactment potentially manifests an annexation of mimesis.

Re: reenactment
As it happens, I purchased and started reading Baudrillard's Simulation and Simulacra just over a week before I went to Brussels (i.e., mid-November). I was prompted to do this when (in early November) I started reading Neil Leach's The Anaesthetics of Architecture, where, in the introduction Leach writes a good bit about Baudrillard's sim-sim ideas. I right away saw the SIMilarities to what I'm formulating re: reenactment, and thus sought out Baudrillard's book.
I've only read like the first three essays of Simulacra and Simulation, and that's now over a month ago. Of the three essays, only the first relates reasonably to reenactment; the other two essays reminded me of Barthes' Mythologies. I have to finish the book, as well as give it a more careful analysis. So, your wondering about "similar/different/parallel ideas" is right on target, and that is precisely what I intend to investigate.
The excerpt you supplied from the online source is very useful, particularly the passage:
So it is with simulation, insofar as it is opposed to representation. The latter starts from the principle that the sign and the real are equivalent (even if this equivalence is utopian, it is a fundamental axiom). Conversely, simulation starts from the utopia of this principle of equivalence, from the radical negation of the sign as value, from the sign as reversion and death sentence of every reference. Whereas representation tries to absorb simulation by interpreting it as false representation, simulation envelops the edifice of representation a itself a simulacrum. This would be the successive phases of the image:
* it is the reflection of a basic reality.
* it masks and perverts a basic reality.
* it masks the absence of a basic reality.
* it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum.

If I may be so bold, I'd say that the notion of reenactment is indeed missing form the above set of 'simulation', 'representation', 'sign', and 'simulacra', that is, even though what Baudrillard says here is succinct and 'correct', it might just be nonetheless incomplete because reenactment is a continuation, an ongoing affirmation of specific past 'realities'. There is more than a mere thin distinction between 'reflection' and 'ongoing affirmation' or 'continuation'. The core issue for reenactment may be the distinction between ENACTMENT and a subsequent(ly necessary by definition) REENACTMENT. Is it correct to say that, for example, Beethoven's actual composing of a symphony is the enactment of the symphony, and hence every performance of the symphony (even the first performance and regardless of the interpretive differences of the rest) is a reenactment? As I said here about a month ago, reenactment involves a play with degrees of separation, specifically degrees of separation from the original enactment (and what Baudrillard does above is essentially map out degrees of separation in the mostly negative extreme).
So far, for me at least, the notion of reenactment (especially with regard to architecture and design and the built environment in general), helps raise significant questions, the answers to which may define what reenactment is or what reenactment is not.

Is Disney's Magic Kingdom really a reenactment of the Garden of Eden (including the unavoidable temptation of capitalism) with some very carefully designed degrees of separation? Is Las Vegas really a reenactment of all that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil had/has to offer? And yes, is New Urbanism really a reenactment of the WHITE (Aryan/American) DREAM?

Unthinking an Architecture
"Nimiety" deals primarily with reenactment as the conclusion to mimesis and simulacra; my attitude of reenactment also expands to include the "abundance of redundance" (as a counterpoint essay?).

2005.10.10 12:43
swarm theory in architecture
From the back cover of The Anaesthetics of Architecture (which really has nothing to do with "swarm theory, camouflage and escape behaviours" except superficially):
"In this culture of aesthetic consumption, this "culture of the cocktail," meaningful discourse gives way to strategies of seduction, and architectural design is reduced to the superficial play of empty, seductive forms."
Wow, that sounds a lot like what W. just wrote about Leach's recent talk on "swarm tactics."
The Anaesthetics of Architecture (especially chapter one: "Saturation of the Image") would be a whole lot more meaningful if the notion of reenactionary architecturism had been incorporated with Leach's other borrowed (mostly from Baudrillard) thinking.




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