Reenactionary Architecturism

1   b   c


2000.11.12
ideas
From Ulysses' Gaze: "First God created the journey, then there is doubt, and then nostalgia." This very much reminds me of how reenactment works.


2001.08.02
/reenactionary - more topics
1. cardo -decumanus - Roman camp; Ichnographia; Philadelphia; go to City Hall tower.
2. the crucifixion of St. Peters - the inversion of Christ's crucifixion; the Porticus Neroniani as inversion of St. Peter's Basilica; is this the origin of Piranesi's overall inversionary reenactment theme? (It certainly could be) -- this could certainly lead to the double theater of St. Peter's Square; the double inverted theaters of the Ichnographia; then the Bernini double play; the Baroque ending (for sure).
3. Stirling by Giurgola - the ACLU building and the early Stirling & Gowan campus buildings.
4. Aldo Rossi- In Memorium -- I just found out tonight that I may have discovered the Plattus 'Triumph' article the very day that Also Rossi died. This is a powerful segue into the whole triumphal way story including the axis of death. I could prepare all this for publication 5 September, 2001.
5. "Viva Villa d'Este" - what the classic age of Las Vegas reenacts.
6. Las Vegas reenacted - this is a picture essay of Atlantic City.
7. dies sanguines - the whole story: ancient Ballona; Santa Croce; 20 March 1956; 20 March 1980; 20 March 1997--this then could lead to the "sacred" new history of/in Tacony Creek Park; collecting sacred wood on the feast of St. Barbara.
8. the local acropolis, the Parkway, Founder's Hall, the Merchant Exchange.
9. Bryn Athyn - the whole story; kind of like 'madness'.
10. "Madness" - the Ludwig II story; Passion Plays.
11. cloning - is this exactly what makes reenactment a topical issue "NOW"?
12. chronosomatics - BIA.
13. check quotations from Homo Ludens for possible reenactment connections vis-ŕ-vis the Ichnographia; there may actually be a better connection between Ludens and /recombinant.


2001.08.21 13:47
persistence
It seems axiomatic that reenactment has a lot to do with persistence, and, when you think ahead to human cloning, persistence has a whole lot to do with reenactment.


2001.09.24 17:41
Re: travels in hyper-reality
Here I refer back to the degrees of separation that manifest the limits of reenactment. The degrees range nicely from the closest to authenticity, clear away to the furthest artificiality.

2001.09.28 10:41
Re: travels in hyper-reality
I find it highly ironic that the movie Suburbia is first and foremost a piece of entertainment, moreover, a piece of entertainment that reenacts what is considered "gritty reality [i.e., authenticity] of youth alienation from the dreary suburban gravity of small town living in the mid-nineties." It seems that "learning from" Suburbia is itself "a symptom of our social preoccupation with the entertaining experience."
If anything, architects and designers and social engineers should begin to understand the pervasive workings of reenactment in order to start generating a 'better' learning/entertainment environment. The largest themed environments today are for the most part fantasy reenactments, and for the most part the general public is completely aware of the fantasy. That the fantasy is many times also so real, only adds to the appeal. Again, the issue is the blurring of distinction between what is real and what is artificial, and therein lies the further fulfilling of fantasy, a longed for fulfillment which may indeed engender the very core of the desire for entertainment.
Reenactment has been a integral part of architecture and design for at least 4500 years. The Great Pyramid is a massive reenacted mountain that fits perfectly on Earth via its alignment with the cardinal points, and with its quondam capping of electrum (an alloy of platinum, gold, and (I think) silver) this mountain further reenacted both a volcano and the sun rising and setting over the mountain. When new, the Great Pyramid at Giza very much manifested an artificial and themed environment, and for sure was one of the most entertaining sights/sites that has ever appeared on this planet.


2001.10.08 10:23
Re: reenactment and its [un]limits
The theory of reenactment is foremost a theory of history, specifically a theory of history espoused by Collingwood. I see relating this theory to architectural design more as ascribing a name to a practice within architecture design that continually [re]occurs, albeit a practice heretofore (conveniently?) unrecognized.
In all my writing on reenactment so far, I have never made the suggestion or issued a dictum whereby architects should design with reenactment in mind. My objective is to demonstrate how reenactment already works with many cases of design methodology.
Perhaps now I can answer your question. Taking the example of Ludwig II of Bavaria's palace Herrenchiemsee as a prime example of reenactionary architecture (a real reenactment of the Palace of Versailles), we have here a building that was built to be a royal palace, but was never actually lived in by any royals, and is now-a-days a prime tourist attraction within Bavaria--surely a building that manifests "permeable socially constructed use-value". This building is today largely considered kitsch by the architectural/aesthetic community, yet the quality of the craftsmanship within the building is of the highest standard. My guess is that the building is considered kitsch simply because it is not an 'original'. Yet the case can be made that Herrencheimsee is quite an original reenactment!
Like Ludwig II's other castles, Herrencheimsee was paid for by Ludwig himself (i.e., privy purse), and not by the Bavarian state treasury. Furthermore, the castles and palaces were built during the time of the Franco-Prussian War, a largely Prussian/Bismarkian objective which Bavarian Ludwig did not support--rather than send his subjects to war and probable death, Ludwig employed his people at home instead, particularly Bavaria's creative/artistic citizenry. What Ludwig indeed did was to spread his own wealth* into the Bavarian economy via fantastic building programs, buildings, moreover, that today still generate much 'wealth' for the Bavarian people. Was Ludwig II actually a very wise king rather than a mad king?
So, to answer your question, reenactionary architecture can indeed remain reenactionary overtime and throughout changes in use. What Herrencheimsee continues to reenact is Ludwig II's 'mad' fiscal generosity toward his realm. And in the case of Ludwig II's castle Neuschwanstein (which reenacts royal Germanic architecture from the days of Medieval knighthood), it is worth noting that it has become the foremost icon of contemporary tourism, both figuratively in travel posters, and 'literally' via its reenactments at all the Disney Lands.
Perhaps a better question is: why is it that reenactionary architecture is extremely capable of generating 'wealth' for those that build it?
* The Wittelsbach's were among the wealthiest royals in Europe, and, to this day, the Wittelsbach Royal Treasury within the Residenz in Munich, i.e., crowns, jewels and such, is still the most valuable in Europe.

2002.01.07 21:58
Re: Tampa, Florida
Like you, I desire reenactment to be a more deliberate process, plus I desire a broader understanding of reenactment's workings, both conscious and unconscious.
For me, reenactment has become a powerful learning process. For example, my reenacting Piranesi's drawing of the Ichnographia Campus Martius (albeit with modern technology, i.e. CAD, surely unknown and very likely even unimagined by Piranesi) has taught me much about Late Antiquity, paradigm shifts, that Piranesi's original drawing itself represents a reenactment, that "modern" humanity has for the most part lost touch with reenactment even though it still clearly exists (e.g., the funeral of Diana as a true/real reenactment of ancient Rome's Triumphal Way), and even that a truly innovative understanding of Piranesi's overall work can come from reenactment.


2002.01.08 13:51
Re: Tampa, Florida
I'm glad that you at least admit your resistance to the notion of reenactment, but linking reenactment with predestination is something that you should be more analytical of. I certainly don't recall ever referring to reenactment as something related to predestination, but I will consider it.
Reenactment comprises patterns of behavior, particularly repetitive patterns of behavior, but in no way does reenactment enforce or restrict options to some specific patterns of behavior only. In this sense, reenactment does not have the same power as DNA. As science tells us more and more each day, DNA is indeed minutely packaged predestination, but DNA is not really reenactment until it is cloned. [And the notion of "designer DNA" becomes kind of perverse in that it is free-willed reenactment based on altered predestination. Or something like that!]
Of course, it may turn out that our own DNA is actually all about reenactment, and always has been, but even then DNA does not hold complete and utter control of everything. Or does it?
The mention of "manhood rituals" doesn't especially help your case in resisting reenactment. Are not rituals almost always, if not always only reenactments of something done before? I don't like putting this way, but your going out to "luxuriate by himself high on a mountainside in forbidden territory" appears to be reenacting a somewhat widespread 'dream' of perfect design.


2002.05.12
Re: 'game over" design
I got a copy of Homo Ludens a few years ago, and so far I have really only read the introduction. Nonetheless, I still got much from the book so far. For example, I collected many passages that I feel relate to how Piranesi designed / 'played with' his reenactment of ancient Rome via the Ichnographia Campus Martius--indeed, reenactment itself is very much a "re-play", literally a playing / acting [even designing?] again.

2002.07.09 13:56
Re: the art and architecture of fashionism
Perhaps Mussolini's greatest artistic execution was his entire oeuvre of reenactments, from the personal level right on up to the world political level.
Caligula, Nero, Elegabalus, Mussolini--all tremendous reenactors of the human spirit when it fully comprehends the ease of disposability that comes with absolute control. The New World as it morphed into the Corporate USA reenacts that same human spirit.

The question was "if there will ever be a full review of the academic system the same way that Enron, Worldcom, Arthur Anderson and others in the business sector are being checked-and-balanced?" One way to review the academic system is to purposely reenact it. The strengths and weaknesses of any operation inevitably become clear via its reenactment, thus enabling the reenactor to make well-tailored decisions (where the real art in reenactment occurs) that better (or worsen) that which is being reenacted. Once a system becomes thoroughly understood via reenactment, it is then a matter proper timing for its reenactment to manifest the fullest surpassing effect.
Does this maybe sound a little like steps in a voluntary evolutionary process, or does this more or less just paraphrase the instructions to an acting class? Actually, I think it voluntarily reenacts steps of the evolutionary process, and that actors are more precisely professionally trained reenactors.
All of the above is a merely a quick condensation of how I've observed the nature/workings of reenactment through my own reenactment experiments. As I yesterday worked further on reenacting the OMA/Koolhaas Projects for Prada by way of Projects for Quaestio Abstrusa Fashions I learned that Projects for Prada, while very much a companion book to The Harvard Guide to Shopping, is even more a book that very much strives being intense about creativity as creativity relates to intense shopping. I also learned that Projects for Prada is definitely lacking in intensity, thus I will strive to greatly intensify.


2002.10.26 12:01
Re: Monkeys and designers
You know, there might just be a 'natural' creative pattern oscillating between wavelengths, calendrical coincidence, and reenactment.


2002.12.09 13:27
Re: Sentimental Journey
frond asks, "is kitsch always sentimental?" and/or "is kitschy sentiment always not genuine?"
There probably can be (or even already is) some non-sentimental kitsch out there. If I had my way (wink wink), I'd call most of Barnett Newman's art, for example, non-sentimental kitsch, in that it (or at least a lot of it) is excessively devoid except for his signature.
The notion of a 'sentimental journey' brings to mind the notion of reenactment, however, reenactments have the inherent potential to rise far above kitsch, such as the Roman Triumphal Way, which was in 1997 reenacted via Diana's funeral—and granted some may even view Diana's funeral as ultimate kitsch, but what it really turned out to be is a rather ultimate reenactment of something that was done several hundred times in ancient Rome. The uncanniness of Diana's funeral is that it indeed was completely genuine, a real procession through real imperial arches, real princes, real immense crowds, and even a real sacred place for its culmination. The formula of the Triumphal Way was genuinely carried out to the very last detail.
Now compare Diana's funeral with a reenactment of a Civil War battle, and I think the difference between genuine and sentimentality become a little clearer. It all has to do with degrees of separation, either getting as close to the truth as possible, or, at the other extreme, stretching the truth as far as it can go.

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

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