c. 75

Forma Urbis Romae


c. 75 Forma Urbis Romae
125 Hadrian's Villa
c. 191 Forma Urbis Romae
222 Sessorium Palace
1551 Bufalini's Urbis Ichnographia
1762 Ichnographia Campus Martius
1958 International Planning Competition for Berlin
1978 Roma Interrotta: Sector IV
1987-2010 redrawing of the Ichnographia Campus Martius





1997.08.25
Campo Marzio - book outline redux
The story of my own incentive will be combined with the reenactment theories of Collingwood. It makes sense because my initial incentive was to fathom the unfathomable, and this became possible because of CAD, and thus through CAD I began to redraw/reenact Piranesi's process.
Combining Piranesi's "reenactment," his "redrawing" of history with the nature of his archeological "accuracy" makes more sense than having the two sections separate. I will start with Vico's "philosophy" and this blends very well with the previous chapter's ending with Collingwood. And this will lead into the issue of archeological accuracy. I will give a brief account of how Piranesi seems to sometimes deliberately confuse the issue. And from here I can address the plan on a case by case basis. I will conclude with the authenticity vs. veracity issue, and also suggest that perhaps Piranesi altogether entered virgin territory. I like the notion of ending with the idea of a new virgin territory because it leads perfectly to the next section which focuses on "Piranesi's Imagination and the Fertility of Roman Architecture."
I will start the imagination/fertility section stating the case for the multivalance of Piranesi's imagination and how all aspects of his imagination are evident in the Campo Marzio. I will list the operational modes and then correlate them to his entire oeuvre, and then to the Campo Marzio specifically. I would like to follow up with a concise explanation of the "fertility" of Roman architecture. I will follow this up with the Tafuri, Fasolo, and Wilton-Ely quotes. Finally, I will deliver my analysis of the hierarchy of the plans.
Staying with this section a bit more, I can call in Eisenman's comments about Piranesi from the Charlie Rose Show, and I should re-read Wilton-Ely's chapter "Fever of the Imagination." After just going through my notes, I think this will be the easier sample chapter for me to do. I have lots of material and I also have most of the drawings that I need to do for the analysis. I just thought that I could also include the contiguous/generative element analysis to this section as well.
I am now combining the former last two sections, and again this also makes sense. My notes so far on these sections are very sketchy, and most no longer even apply. The topics covered will center on the overall virtuality of Piranesi's work, which includes the type of spaces (environment) he designed as well as the way he depicted them (his "documentation"). This will lead to the Campo Marzio in the computer and how the new possibility of 3-D. I have experimented a little with generating aerial perspectives of the Campo Marzio plan, and this is just one example of representation ("documentation") that is now only available because of CAD technology. I would like to see this section end with an exploration of the Campo Marzio as a 3-D extrusion of the plan itself.


1997.09.07
Campo Marzio - the triumphal way
I will have to do another careful reading of the Plattus text. The strongest thing for me to come out of the essay is the story about the entrance procession of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V in 1536 (nine years after his troops had sacked Rome in 1527). In this procession the route ended at the Vatican/St. Peter's. This very much brings to mind Piranesi's point of origin at the (new) Temple of Mars, which is very close to the actual siting of St. Peter's. Again there may be a symbolic reversal in the route that Piranesi marks.
This story from the Renaissance also made me mindful of the fact that Nero's garden was already the site of Constantine's Old St. Peter's basilica. Therefore, it may not be all that far-fetched to see Piranesi making symbolic reference to the ancient Roman reversal from paganism to Catholicism. In this sense, the porticus Neroniani is closer to Old St. Peter's that to the present basilica.
I will try to do as much supplemental reading/research on the Triumphal Way, especially the reenactments during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


1997.11.20
me and the Ichnographia
I thought of the phrase from, I think, one of my square poems, "back to daddy's balls, architecture halls." I never imagined that I would today see a connection between this line and the Ichnographia. I already know that I am going to make a point about Mars being the father of Romulus--the founder of Rome, and the connection of sex and conception of the plans is already an idea well established in my head, and now I see the "testicles" of the Templum Martis as the generators of Piranesi's entire design of the Campo Marzio.
The specific design intention that Piranesi put directly into the plan with regard to the prominence of Mars, I believe, proves definitively that Piranesi was actively redesigning Imperial Rome as he came to understand it would best be. Piranesi assimilated all the knowledge about this part of the city that he could, and through that assimilation he ultimately arrived at a whole new synthesis. Piranesi's plan of the Campo Marzio is not an architectural reconstruction, but an archeological redesign. Piranesi's plan is not a rendition of what was, but rather a rendition of what could have been. Piranesi's plan is not a reconstruction, but a historical reenactment, and the difference between the two is as distance as the difference between life and death, between something finished and something ongoing.
The Ichnographia is a powerful reenactment of the architectural history of the Campo Marzio. The history, moreover, is not limited to Imperial Rome. Although the buildings are named for those primarily of the late Empire, Piranesi also very cleverly and extremely subtlely reenacts the architectural history of the Campo Marzio beyond the Imperial Age, specifically the inversion/conversion of Rome from pagan to Christian--and also some of Baroque Rome.
With the notion of reenactment I can introduce that notion of ritual--this may get too complex, however. Yet the notion of ritual more or less has to come into play once I begin to consider the nature of Piranesi's role in the reenactment: is he high-priest of the producer-director-playwright?
The opening stage for the reenactment is the Scenographia (whose very title has obvious theatrical connotations), and on the stage are the primal players, the only vestiges of Imperial Rome. The remains are like great aged actors whose talents have reached the stage of being something unsurpassable--they are also like the Titans--the primordial gods who quickly give way to an ever expanding drama with a vast multitude of characters.
I also have some thoughts regarding the Ichnographia as a stone fragment: this presentation on Piranesi's part could also be considered a reenactment of the Forma Urbis--a virtual reenactment of discovering the great missing piece of the "puzzle" that will bring all the other piece to a grand cohesion. (I am here reminded of Tafuri's opening comments to The Sphere and the Labyrinth, and I'm sure I can now make a good valid connection and elaborate on how the fragment stone map of the Ichnographia represents a kind of "missing link," a piece that will explain all there is to explain about the "real" nature of Imperial Rome.


1997.12.24
Campo Marzio introduction
The introduction will focus on the personal journey of my quest for discovery--I wanted to discover the secret of Piranesi's geometric planning dexterity--I wanted to find out how it could be possible to be as architecturally inventive as Piranesi. I also wanted to find out what Kahn learned form Piranesi.
The idea of just redrawing the plan via CAD, however, more or less became my modus operandi, and thus the initial quest developed into a general quest to find out as much about the Ichnographia as possible. There was always book research going on while I redrew the plan, yet I was unwittingly learning more about the plan's actual nature and structure by simply redrawing it than by the literary research. The literary knowledge did supplement the drawing, and in combination, a far richer understanding of the meaning and symbolism of the Ichnographiam manifested itself.
I can here discuss how the orthagonality of the longest axis was discovered because of CAD, and how the tiny intercourse building opened up a huge possible source for the planimetric symbolism of the various building plans. I should also go through all my notes to recall each breakthrough as it happened.
The final events where my learning of the reenactment theory within the philosophy of history and that then gave me a better understanding of what I was doing. Then came the deaths in September 1997, ending with the death of my father, and the dedication of my redrawing to my father brought my reenactment to a full fruition. Dedicating my redrawing in the same manner that Piranesi dedicated the Ichnographia convinced me once and for all that I was indeed on the right track and pursuing my redrawing process consummately.
Within a month or so of my father's death, I then came to the conclusion that Piranesi himself was performing a reenactment rather than a reconstruction. Piranesi was reenacting the ancient Roman Campo Marzio. He was reenacting the planning of the Campo Marzio (and the Scenographia is the empty stage set upon which the reenactment is played out.
"Modern man though regarding himself as the result of Universal History does not feel obliged to know the whole of it, the man of the archaic societies is not only obliged to remember mythological history but also to re-enact a large part of it periodically." -- Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality, trans Willard R. Trask (New York: Harper and Rowe, 1963), 13.
This quotation seems almost a capstone to my whole Ichnographia as reenactment conclusion and I assume I may find even more to reinforce my thesis as I read more of The first house and Myth and Reality.
My latest thought regarding my introductory essay of the Campo Marzio is for me to reconstruct (and perhaps even "reenact") all the steps along my journey. I can basically just use my notes to retrace all the events, drawings and thoughts that I encountered and accumulated and came up with myself over the last eleven years. If I actually include my notes and all the drawings produced along the way, then this introductory document will indeed be lengthy "chapter". I will indeed pursue this documentation, and I feel assured it will come together because I will continually work towards the reenactment, and the documentation will also be a reenactment of my learning process, although I will not ever mention that under-riding motif except perhaps if I have already brought the reenactment issue to the fore.

1997.12.26
Ichnographia book - note 1
This then leads right into my analysis of the Triumphal Way, and here I will lay out my entire theory which culminates with the inherent symbolism of inversion that is found along the entire path. I have today reread the Plattus article, and it is even more helpful than I remembered, especially with regard to its view of the city itself as a stage set that is played upon. In many respects, this section will be an exposition of exactly what I have learned because of finding the Plattus article when I did. This section will end with the notion of the powerful and long-standing tradition of reenactment.
I will pick up the reenactment theme first with Piranesi as triumpator and the Ichnographia as one more Triumphal procession in the long history of the Roman reenactment. From here I will go into my reenactment vs. reconstruction theory, and therefore Vico will also come into play along with everything else involving reenactment.
I will end the dedication addressing my own reenactment-redrawing process, and here I will bring in the theories of Collingwood. In conclusion, I will explain how my initial dedication of the Campo Marzio web pages to my father became for me the cornerstone of my reenactment, and I will finalize it all with mentioning the parallel-comparative association father and son, me and my father, Romulus and his father Mars.


1997.12.28
axes of life and death - Campo Marzio
As I was reading Dripp's The First House, p. 62, about the Roman cardo & decumanus, I began to wonder whether the life and death axes of the Campo Marzio are also a reenactment of the ancient town planning axes. Upon inspection of the Ichnographia, I found that the life and death axes are just a few degrees shy of being on the true cardinal points. Moreover, the cardo, the north-south axis corresponds to the axis of death in the Ichnographia, and traditionally "refers to the axis around which the universe rotates." The Campo Marzio axis of life, the east-west axis, the decumanus, refers to the rising and setting of the sun. There is now much to think about with regard to further meaning of Piraneisi's axes, especially within the overriding history and tradition of Roman city planning.
I can already begin to speculate where the axis of life, which is the longest axis in the Ichnographia is purposefully disguised because, as the decumanus, it should be secondary to the cardo--in this case, the axis of life. Is Piranesi again playing with inversion? I also wonder if Rykwert has anything to say with regard to the apparent lack of a cardo and decumanus in ancient Rome's city plan.
Today it also dawned on me that the Arch of Theodosius et al is placed at the tip of the axis of death. In its smallness (and apparent insignigicance) it reminds me of the tiny unnamed intercourse building at the tip of the axis of life. What is of utmost significance, however, is that this particular Triumphal Arch is indeed the last (latest) building addition within the Ichnographia [sic], and dates from anywhere between AD 367-395. There is no building within the Ichnographia that is named for a later Emperor [sic].
The placement of this arch at the tip of the axis of death is very symbolic in that it represents the very end--Theodosius was the last Emperor to rule over both the East and West Empire, and it was he who instituted Christianity as the state religion--the end of the pagen empire and the end of any semblance of a totally unified empire. Thus, the intercourse building at the tip of the axis of life represents the very beginning (of life and quite possibly of the Ichnographia's plan formations, as well) and the Arch of Theodosius et al at the tip of the axis of death represents not only Rome's end as the sole capital of the civilized world, but also its end as capital of the pagen world.
It is through his plan of the city of Rome that Piranesi writes (and/or rights) the history of Rome itself. Through the Ichnographia Piranesi re-enacts the history of the city.
This new information add tremendously to the meaning of the life and death axes, and the overall symbolism or meaning of the plan as well. That Piranesi carefully focused on the inversion of Rome from ultimate pagen world capital to a Christian and only partial world capital falling into lesser and lesser significance is now completely obvious. In this sense, the Ichnographia represents Rome at its pagen zenith (acme, peak, summit), and it is metaphorically downhill from this point for Rome does not reach its zenith as "Christian world capital" until the Renaissance--Rome's rebirth.


1998.01.04
notation of existing Campo Marzio texts - Tafuri 1
Tafuri gives Piranesi's Ichnographia of the Campo Marzio a number of descriptions:
1. an ambitious evocation (def.: 2 : the act or an instance of artistic imaginative re-creation or portrayal (as of a mood, time, place ,or personality) especially in such a manner as to produce a compelling expression of reality or authenticity) -- the graphic monument of that tentative opening of late baroque culture to revolutionary ideas.
2. Roman antiquity is a recollection embued with nostalgic ideologies and revolutionary expectations.
3. Roman antiquity is also a myth to be contested.
4. the Campo Marzio's classical derivations are mere fragment.
5. the Campo Marzio's classical derivations are deformed symbols.
6. the Campo Marzio's classical derivations are organisms of an order in a state of decay.
7. the order in the details creates a monstrous pullulation of symbols devoid of significance.
8. "forest"
9. an epic representation of the battle of architecture waged against itself.
10. [a] paradoxical rejection of historical, archeological reality [that]makes the civic potential of the total image very doubtful.
11. a sort of gigantic useless machine.
12 it is an experimental design and the city, therefore, remains an unknown,
13. a colossal piece of bricolage.
14. conveys nothing but a self evident truth: irrational and rational are no longer to be mutually exclusive.
15. [the Campo Marzio demonstrates] the struggle between architecture and the city, between the demand for order and the will to formlessness.
[Here are more Tafuri descriptions of the Ichnographia of the Campo Marzio as found in The Sphere and the Labyrinth:
16. a fully developed and articulated metaphor of the machine-universe.
17. polemical and self-critical.
18. a formless heap of fragments colliding one against another.
19. a formless tangle of spurious organism.
20. a homogeneous magnetic field jammed with objects having nothing to do with each other.
21. a kind of typological negation.
22. an "architectural banquet of nausea."
23. a sematic void created by an excess of visual noise.
24. a virtual catalogue
25. a typological sample book.]
The majority of Tafuri's descriptions (definitions?) of the Ichnographia of the Campo Marzio point towards the metabolic process. I did not expect to see this overriding theme, however, since it is here, I will make it the larger issue of my criticism (of this particular text). This emphasis now aims my comments more towards the BIA and Piranesi's imagination than towards an analysis of the Campo Marzio itself. (It all works hand-in-hand, nonetheless).
The secondary theme to come out of Tafuri's descriptions of the Campo Marzio is the notion of unknowability, insignificance, and the "archeological mask." It is these ideas that I will refute and subsequently correct. I can speculate that Tafuri believed the "archeological mask" covered a historical-polemical agenda on Piranesi's part, and, if so, Tafuri disclosed his own prejudices. Had he immersed himself more fully into the Ichnographia by "reenacting" Piranesi's work (and perhaps also imaginative process), Tafuri may have reached less negative conclusions. I suspect that Tafuri's own historicist-polemical agenda got in the way of an objective analysis-disclosure of Piranesi's true intentions as portrayed by the Campo Marzio. (I may have to describe what Tafuri's agenda is.) This reinforces the case for "reenactment" as a potentially more correct means of understanding history.


1998.01.07
Campo Marzio: "points of departure"
I have decided to put together a critical essay regarding my interpretations and disputations of the contemporary existing texts on the Ichnographia. It will be called "Points of Departure" and it will appear in NOT THERE. In order to move quickly, I may try and be as experimental as possible with the format and layout of my text(s). This may or may not work, but this will be the best place to experiment. I will try to make use of all the various devises available with html, including marquees. I may also experiment with animated gifs or some other special graphics--although at this point I have nothing special in mind.
I just now thought that I could introduce illustrations that are not necessarily related directly to the critical text, but rather carry their own supplemental meaning. This reminds me of the approach that Stanley took in his essay, and this combined presentation technique may also follow Piranesi's methodology, thus offering the possibility of a further "reenactment" on my part.
The images themselves could be of a number of different types: typologies, contiguous elements, land use, 3-D extrusions, genealogy of the plans, symbolism of the plans, and maybe even some types of drawings that I haven't even thought of yet. In thinking of the typologies, I now see that the inclusion with the critical text is perfect, especially with regard to Tafuri's comments of the Ichnographia being a sample book and something he considers being unknowable. I just thought of scale comparisons as another type of illustration, and the comparison between St. Peter's and the Bustum Hadriani is a perfect place to start, although I could also compare the Ichnographia plans to other ancient Roman plans, particularly the large baths. Such drawings would refute the Tafuri and Bloomer statements regarding the smallness (and seemingly insignificantly treated Pantheon and tomb of Hadrian).
Just now I also thought of how Piranesi's cribbing of the Porticus Amelia for the Septa Julia may actually represent Piranesi's scale for the entire Ichnographia. My hypothesis is that Piranesi very purposefully installed the Forma Urbis fragment of the Porticus Amelia into the Ichnographia for the precise purpose of demonstrating more of the actual scale (and gigantism) of ancient Rome. (I can better elaborate on this when I have the plan in front of m --it is as if Piranesi is here illustrating his own quote about how one just has to look around at Rome and Hadrian's Villa to see the examples he emulates.) In no way was Piranesi trying to be deceptive or misleading, nor was he acting out of ignorance of the fragments true identity. More than anything, Piranesi used the Porticus Amelia as evidence and example (like an "exhibit" in a court of law [(2011.06.24) and like Collingwood's view of "scientific" history requiring evidence]).


1998.01.27
Ichnographia -- Garden of Nero
In a web printout I read how Nero used Christians as human torches to light up his garden. The article did not give specific reference, but I feel certain that this fact was well part of Roman Catholic tradition. I will use this fact to demonstrate how the Garden of Nero has "survived" throughout history more through text and memorable events than through physical evidence. I want to present this as some more evidence toward supporting the notion of the Ichnographia as a "reenactment", i.e., a narrative and a depiction, rather than a pure archeological "reconstruction".


1998.02.19
"redrawing and reenacting"
I may find myself writing a prologue on the issue of my own redrawing and my reenactment of Piranesi's own process. This will lead to a discussion of Piranesi's own reenactment process which overshadows the notion of archeological reconstruction.
This is also where I bring up Vico and Collingwood and thus raise again the questionable validity of "reconstruction" as opposed to reenactment.
This essay may be short or it may become more than I expect at this point. In either case, I believe it will be the place where reenactment in general is addressed. This is also where an explanation of the book title occurs.

1998.03.20
Campo Marzio bibliography & my own reenactment process
I am so far pleased with the Campo Marzio bibliography that I am currently compiling. There is great variety among the literature that I have become familiar with. I am now thinking of ultimately producing an annotated bibliography that will list the titles in the order with which I read them, and also make note of what particular effect the data of each text subsequently had on my research and its evolution.
Not surprisingly, I already see the proposed annotated bibliography as producing a narrative text about itself and especially about the record of my own research process--actually a record of how the research process and my ultimate Campo Marzio narrative grew, changed, and developed along the way. What will be of overall interest is that nearly all the texts contributed major pieces of the puzzle, that while it could be looked at as a grand collage, the final picture is nonetheless a strongly cohesive unit of data that points ostensibly to the fact that Piranesi knew virtually all there is to know about the ancient Roman Campo Marzio, and, moreover, the Ichnographia is the metabolic catharsis of Piranesi's almost unfathomable assimilation of knowledge attained throughout the decade or so immediately prior to the drawing of the Ichnographia and the ultimate publication of Il Campo Marzio. (Last night I thought of how Piranesi's first mode of operation was assimilation of the data -- this lead to years of more and more intense osmosis with the material as well--and finally the abundant assimilation and osmosis sparked a whole new metabolic catharsis which manifested itself as Il Campo Marzio. Of course, what I just described relates precisely to the corporal operations within Piranesi's slice of the Timepiece.)
In seeing the bibliography as a whole, I also began to see how I too was/am assimilating vast amounts of knowledge and history, and, furthermore, since I think about or actually work on some aspect of the Campo Marzio practically everyday, I too am now experiencing the effects of continual osmosis. Hence, I am myself now on the verge of a metabolic catharsis. I now see that the annotated bibliography could (should?) work side by side with an "exhibit" of the history of my redrawing process starting in 1987 and still as an ongoing process today. I am confident that as I see the two process records next to each other, I will begin to see the story of my own investigative journey and trail.


1998.04.12
Campo Marzio - Latin dictionary
Overall, the Latin dictionary is giving me a substantial research ability, and hence a true confidence in the reenactment-interpretive work that I am doing. Moreover, translating all the terms is indeed necessary if I truly want to consider myself following in Piranesi's footsteps.


1998.04.29
satirically reenacting the misadventures of Messalena
The other big discovery deals with the horti Luciliani and the horti Luculliani. Up until now, I mistakenly thought it was the horti Luciliani that Messalena murdered for, but it is actually the horti Luculliani. This change of circumstances has two effects. Starting with the horti Luciliani, since it now seems to have no historical background, I was curious to see whether Luciliani showed up in the Latin dictionary. It did show up, and I now know that Lucilius is the father of Roman satire. Of course, this is very thought provoking because it makes me wonder if there is anything satirical in Piranesi's plan of the garden, and perhaps the answer here has something to do with the shrine to Minerva being in the center of one of the building complexes--literally "wisdom" (but also "weaving") in the center of a garden of satire. Furthermore, the other aspects of the horti, such as the theater and salons, now make more sense.
satire 1 a : an ancient Roman commentary in verse on some prevailing vise of folly   b : a usually topical literary composition holding up human or individual vices, folly, abuses, or shortcomings to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other method sometimes with an intent to bring about   c : LAMPOON   2 a : a branch of literature ridiculing vice or folly
censure 1 : a judgment involving condemnation   a : spiritual chastisement by an ecclesiastical agency
wit implies intellectual brilliance and quickness in perception combined with a gift for expressing ideas in an entertaining, often laughter provoking, pointed way, usually connoting the unexpected or apt turn of phrase or idea and often suggesting a certain brittle unfeelingness
satire can apply to any criticism or censure relying on exposure, often by irony and often subtle, of the ridiculous or absurd qualities of something
The notion of Piranesi being satirical himself throughout the Ichnographia is also a very intriguing idea, and I can at least apply it to what Piranesi does in and around the horti Luculliani. First of all, the garden buildings do exhibit various phallic shapes in their plans, but none of them are obvious, so I won't make a big deal out of this one aspect. What is more interesting are the various other gardens and buildings that Piranesi places on the same plateau as the horti Luculliani. Some of them, like the horti Narcissus, relate directly to the Messalena story since it is the freedman Narcissus that ultimately has Messalena killed. There is also the horti Anteri, a name that does not show up in the dictionary, but the word Anteros means "an avenger of slighted love," which describes both Messalena and her husband the emperor Claudius, although for different reasons. There are still other aspects worth elaborating on, but I need the exact definition of the plan labels and the plans themselves in front of me for further explanation of the other numerous word plays with plans that Piranesi executes near the garden Luculliani.
In any case, I am thinking of composing an essay entitled "Piranesi's Gardens of Satirical delight or Move over Tafuri et al." I mention Tafuri because he initially brought my attention to the horti Luciliani, and now I know he could have said so much more. Moreover, I now wonder if I could write my own satire regarding all the mistakes that the Ichnographia seems to generate, including my own.
What is encouraging above all is that as I learn the details of more sections of the Ichnographia, the more of Piranesi's narrative is disclosed. It really is now getting down to having no stone unturned.


1998.06.02
Hadrian and Plotina and Paulina Domitia, etc.
According to the biography of Hadrian, he was a favorite of Plotina. In fact, there is some cause to believe that it was Plotina that got Hadrian named as successor at Trajan's deathbed.
I also now know that Hadrian's birth mother's name was Paulina Domitia, and this fact lead to further speculation as to the meaning of the sepulcher familia domitia at the opposite end of the axis of death--the counter point of Hadrian's tomb. Because of the similarity in name, there is now reference to both Hadrian's real mother and to his adoptive mother within the axis of life and death.
I believe this sheds even more light on Piranesi's overall intention in reenacting (not reconstructing) the Campo Marzio. In redrawing the Campo Marzio, it is now very clear to me that Piranesi was also redesigning the Campo Marzio, and a redesign not at all capricious, but one based wholeheartedly on a vast amount of historical facts. That is to say, Piranesi set out to improve the ancient Campo Marzio's "urban plan" without changing the region's existing program. In a very possibly intentional way, Piranesi's actions parallel those of the Emperor Hadrian whose redesign of the Pantheon one assumes was an improvement upon the original Pantheon designed by Agrippa. This parallel between Piranesi and Hadrian, moreover, may even explain why Piranesi presents Hadrian's tomb with such blatantly unarcheological exaggeration. Piranesi may quite simply be presenting his re-design of the tomb were he the "Roman" architect commissioned to carry out the task. (Piranesi's design is simply an enlargement for the accommodation of more dead emperors.)
I am now reminded of Stirling's notion of evolutionary designing, and his statements about what could or should be considered when designing a house for K.F. Schinkel 200 years after Schinkel's birth. I am also reminded of Tafuri's wrongness in calling the Ichnographia of the Campo Marzio an "experimental design and therefore an unknown."
This is perhaps the most solid assessment of the Ichnographia that I have made thus far, and it makes me realize that Piranesi operated on a few planes when generating his plan of the Campo Marzio--there is the redesigned plane, the Pagan-Christian narrative plane, and the plane of (composite?) temporal palimpsest. To make matters difficult, however, none of these planes complies completely with the other two, nor can any of the planes be viewed completely independent of the other two. In essence, Piranesi's (design) methodology emulates the very nature of Rome itself. The Ichnographia is a plan of many layers of meanings and messages which ultimately aptly represents/reenacts Rome the city of many physical and historical layers.


1999.02.23
abstract done
"Inside the Density of G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii"
Albeit resolutely virtual, Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii nonetheless manifests a high degree of density not only in terms of architecture and urbanism, but with regard to symbolism, meaning, and narrative as well. The hundreds of individual building plans and their Latin labels within the Campo Marzio do not "reconstruct" ancient Rome as much as they "reenact" it. Thus Piranesi's overall large plan presents a design of Rome that reflects and narrates Rome's own imperial history. Given Rome's history then, the ultimate theme of Piranesi's design is inversion, specifically ancient Rome's inversion from (dense) pagan capital of the world to (dense) Christian capital of the world -- a prime example of the proverbial "two sides to every story."
With the inversion theme, Piranesi also incorporates a number of sub-themes, such as life and death, love and war, satire, and even urban sprawl. Rendered largely independent, each sub-theme relates its own "story." Due to their innate reversal qualities, however, each sub-theme also reinforces the main inversion theme. Piranesi's Campo Marzio is not only dense, it is condensed.
In 2001, the finished Ichnographia Campi Martii will be 240 years old, yet Piranesi's truly unique urban paradigm--a city "reenacting" itself through all its physical, socio-political, and even metaphysical layers--may well become the most real urban paradigm of the next millennium.


1999.06.08
Re: the more real Piranesi-effect
Piranesi did not 'reconstruct' the Campo Marzio, rather Piranesi 'reenacted' the Campo Marzio. of the 40 odd engraved plates that make up the illustrative portion of the CM publication, no. 2 is the 'Scenographia', literally the empty stage set waiting for the reenACTment to be played upon it.
Piranesi's main theme within the reenactment is 'inversion', specifically ancient Rome's inversion from pagan capital to Christian capital. the last engraved plate of the CM holds three perspectives, one of which illustrates two theaters, double theaters each an inversion of the other--the history of ancient Rome at a glance.


1999.06.21
"Inside the Density..."
I will begin the paper with the abstract, and from there I will use the various points of the abstract as headings:
1. virtuality
2. density
3. reenactment versus reconstruction
4. inversion
5. pagan to Christian - the Triumphal Way
6. life and death
7. love and war
8. satire
9. urban sprawl
10. reenactment architectures and urbanisms

1999.11.09
reenactment
If reenactment as a design prescription is still only a "weak hypothesis," your consideration of the notion so far certainly contributes supplemental vitality and strength. I assume (and hope) you've read my paper for Belgium and my Tafuri critique before writing your reply, because my response here works along those lines.
The evocation of Serlio's 'street scenes' is indeed apt--the notion of stage set is very much part of reenactment, i.e., the place upon which and within which to 'act' again (and again). For the record, Serlio drew three scenes, the third, Scena Rustica or Scena Satirica, is all natural /naturalistic (proto primitive hut? or proto romanticism?).
While reenactment certainly necessitates a contextual understanding, reenactment as a design paradigm is nonetheless not necessarily site specific. For example, theme parks everywhere are for the most part far removed for the 'actual' themes they reenact. On the other hand, the reenactments within Venturi (Rauch) and Scott Brown's Franklin Court (Philadelphia), Western Plaza (Wash. D.C.) and Welcome Park (Philadelphia) relate directly to their respective sites/environments. Reenactment then can (and indeed does) have it both ways in terms of context.
As to the "problem" of "exciting ideas" never getting developed due to being brightly spotlighted and then quickly moved on form, perhaps this 'trendy' behavior too is a form of reenactment, that is, a repetitious renewal, the continual process of putting on a new hat, but always putting on a hat nevertheless.
The best philosophy I've read so far that purports reenactment is within Collingwood's The Idea of History. Collingwood is much influenced by Croce, and Croce is much influenced by Vico. [I have yet to do extensive reading regarding of the philosophy of history, but I have done enough to see that there is a significant strand of it that addresses reenactment as a methodology. I suspect Vico's New Science to be the most important primary source--I have the book, but have only read a small part of it so far.] When I first began to redraw Piranesi's Campo Marzio using CAD, I was doing so to get as close to Piranesi as possible; essentially, I was reenacting his act of drawing as best I could. For me, this exercise, this reenactment, has provided enormous insight, albeit it took several years of continual work for this vision to develop. I am certainly not Piranesi, nor do I contend to possess his superior creative talent and imagination, but I deliberately attempted to do some of the same things he has done, and in so doing I honestly believe I removed several degrees of separation. Perhaps reenactments then are always a play with degrees of separation, sometimes seeing how close one can get to the 'original' and/or sometimes seeing how far one can stretch the 'truth', to name the extreme cases. [play - theater - reenactment]
My historiography of Piranesi's Campo Marzio (and here I include my paper for Belgium with the work so far in the Encyclopedia Ichnographica) aims to present the Ichnographia as a prime exemplar of architectural and urban design as reenactment--Piranesi's plan is not only a large architecturally drawn plan, but also a plan in the sense that it lays out a course of action, or, should I say, a course of reenaction. Taking the lessons of the Ichnographia('s virtuality) and utilizing [reenacting!] them in today's world is the 'real' challenge.


2000.07.23
Ichnographia
..."redraw" the rest of the Ichnographia by my own design. ...envisioned a slapdash design for the theater of Pompey, and then quickly realized that all the plans that are left to be redrawn can be also redesigned (just as Piranesi redesigned; another reenactment), ...adhere only to the labels and locations Piranesi uses. ...the new plans will be crazy designs, yet all the Campo Marzio research data is there to use as inspiration, thus there are a great many reenactments to be performed.
...there can be many reenactments of the redrawing... ...orient the Ichnographia to true north and orient the Philadelphia plan to true north as well. Then overlay the two plans with Hadrian's tomb and Logan circle as the registration point. From there begin considering the implications of both/either plans in 2d and 3d.
Also, Mirage City as a reenactment of Rome Interrotta.


2001.09.08 16:50
back to the Campo Marzio
Via questions I raised at lt-antiq, I'm now quite knowledgeable of the practice of damnatio memoria, and thus I now wonder if Piranesi purposefully 'erased' portions of the Ichnographia as a reenactment of the damnatio memoria practice, and, like some extant examples of dm inscriptions, if he then purposefully followed up with a palimpsest (of another plan) over the erasure.


2001.12.01
ideas
The whole interpretation of the Ichnographia via The Art of Memory as exercised by the ancients. The Ichnographia as placement of memory and memory as progenitor of reenactment.


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.


2002.01.10 00:40
Not Tampa, Florida anymore
I'll try to briefly outline (reenact) how I came to see a strong relationship between reenactment and (some but certainly not all aspects of) design.
I began redrawing Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan with CAD in 1987. I've been fascinated with this plan since the late 1970's, and I saw the opportunity to utilize the automated drawing/drafting capabilities of CAD in (re)drawing all the complicated individual plans of the Campo Marzio, which comprise many repetitive units, and manipulating repetitive units is precisely one of the things CAD is very good at facilitating.
In the early 1990s I begin an intensive redrawing of the plan, and at the same time I became reacquainted with Susan Dixon, a friend from my college days who went on to get a PhD in Art History, and her dissertation was on Piranesi's archaeological publications, of which the Il Campo Marzio is one. Together (via phone conversations) Susan and I begin speculating as to what the meaning of the Campo Marzio plan might be. Many theories were speculatively put forth, but reenactment was never one of them.
The second week of August 1997 I split my energies between doing research on the Campo Marzio and research on the philosophy of history as it might relate to my theory of chronosomatics. In Encyclopedia Britannica (edition 1969) under "Philosophy of History" there is a passage explaining Vico which, while reading it, made me think of Piranesi's Campo Marzio. There is also a list of 20th century philosophers of history and the titles of the works. Collingwood's The Idea of History is among these. I go to Barnes and Nobles that same day and buy Vico's New Science and Collingwood's The Idea of History. I read the passages in The Idea of History that deal with reenactment. It dawns on me that I've been doing a kind of reenactment by redrawing Piranesi's plan.
Thursday, September 4, 1997 (coincidentally the day architect Aldo Rossi died) I find Plattus's "Passages to the City: The Interpretive Function of the Roman Triumph" in Ritual (1983). I finish reading the essay Friday night. Saturday morning I watch Diana's funeral, and it quickly hits me that I am watching exactly what I just spent the last two nights reading about. Since Piranesi himself delineated the path of the Triumphal Way through his plan of the Campo Marzio, I begin to wonder whether Piranesi too was playing some kind of reenactment game in his redrawing of the large urban plan.
It is after this point that much of the prior ten year's work begins tightly piecing together, and the notion of reenactment also aids in better understanding what information I collected further in research.
For me reenactment was a learning tool, albeit for the most part a tool I didn't even know I was using. For Piranesi, however, (and this is what I've come to understand) reenactment was a design tool, specifically an urban design tool, whereby he generated an entirely new rendition of Rome. A Rome, moreover, that is essentially a conglomeration of many specifically themed environments, i.e., themed environments that relate exactly the history of the very places where Piranesi positioned his new designs. This is why I say Piranesi's Campo Marzio is not a reconstruction, rather a reenactment. By all indications, Piranesi was very conscious of the play of degrees of separation that reenactments involve.
Piranesi also (re)designed the city of Rome as a double (history) theater, namely the double theater of Rome's Pagan and Christian existence.

Modern architectural historians/theoreticians up to now never figured out the reenactment angle of the Campo Marzio, hence it (the plan) was interpreted as either pure fantasy or some sort of design mish-mash that negates all possible meaning. It is largely because of this prior misinterpretation (and its present widespread acceptance) that makes me so adamant about advancing an understanding of reenactment and design.


2003.01.10 19:02
Re: the dead end of urbanism as we know it
Urbanism
Architecturism[?]
Spacism[?]
Check out Le Corbusier's plan for rebuilding Berlin (1961, i.e., just before the Wall) at the end of volume 7 of the Oeuvre Complète. In retrospect, it is almost bizarre in its intentions. Note the reenactment of Chandigarh's Palace of Assembly next to the Reichstag! And the gigantic pronged towers scattered in the east. Urbanism, architecturism and spacism all in one plan.
It's funny. I really like this plan, and would love to see it executed, but not at the cost of losing Berlin in the process. If Disney, for example, ever wants to (again) do a great thematic 'FutureTown' (they actually called it TomorrowLand, didn't they?) they should simply enact this plan, and maybe put a big wall around it. I think I'd even like to like there. A kind of beyond virtual Berlin, like a new double Berlin, again.
And here's something that's really interesting in its obscurity. Remember all those little sketches depicting bad modern building design that Leon Krier used to draw as contrast to his 'good' designs? I'm betting big money that Krier actually used the axonometric of Le Corbusier's Berlin plan (OC, vol. 7, p.234) as 'inspiration'. The 'lightening-bolt buildings just south of the Tiergarten are a dead give-a-way. Now I know why I always thought those sketches were actually the best buildings Krier ever designed.

2003.01.19 17:26
abstract for Studium Urbis
...here'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.
Steve
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 Antichità 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?


2004.05.19 14:47
REPORTAGE- Rhythm & Gender
Doric Temples are a specific set of religious buildings.
Ancient Rome was an enormous(ly populated) metropolis, and a cosmopolitan capital city.
As a city, ancient Rome was an ongoing construction site of reenactment. Important buildings were often rebuilt (like Hadrian rebuilt the Pantheon that Agrippa built first), and older buildings were dismantled and reused for parts in newer constructions (like the Naumachia of Domitian was undone to repair the fire damaged Circus Maximus). This reuse, reenactment, and reinvention of older architecture in the construction of newer architecture is not proto Post Modernism, but you could in far-removed 20th century retrospect say that Post Modern Architecture is an unwitting and and highly flawed reenactment of what went on architecturally in Rome, especially during its imperial age.
More than a regelio-political system, ancient Rome was a gigantic military machine, thus the widespread presence and influence of miltary engineering on the art of Rome's architecture.
The Campus Martius was not originally within the walls of Rome. Only Roman citizens were allowed withn the walls of Rome, thus ancient Rome's (huge) foreign population lived in the Campus Martius. It was within the Campus Martius that ancient Rome's 'eclectic' architecture was largely created. The Tomb of Augustus (perhaps built with help from some Indians) is in the Campus Martius. The Porticus of Nations was in the Campus Martius. The Temple of Isis (with its many smaller obelisks)was in the Campus Martius. Hadrian's Pantheon (circa 100 AD) is in the Campus Martius! etc., etc., etc., etc.....
Not until the reign of Aurelian (270-275 AD) were the walls of Rome rebuilt and the Campus Martius incorporated within Rome proper.
My reenacting of Piranesi's reenactionary Ichnographia Campi Martii is how I now know every important building that ever existed in ancient Rome's Campus Martius. I did my redrawing, I did my research, I did my reading, and, like a good Roman architect, I did my reenacting.


2004.12.16 11:36
Fantasy Architecture?.....
The subject is fantasy, and fantasy, more or less by definition, does not come with restrictions. Even so, it is 'blurring something familiar with a vision' that was addressed, and the Princeton images indeed do that. The notion that fantasies are not nessessarily dark or cautionary, nor necessarily of the future was also added before the images were presented.
fantasy 2 : imagination or fancy, esp : the free play of creative imagination as it affects perception and productivity usually as expressed in an art form or as elicited by projective techniques of formal psychology
Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius is not really about fantasy, rather it is a reenactment of ancient Rome's history delineated via ancient Rome's architecture. The plans with their Latin labels within the large plan are all texts that together deliver the history of the city of Rome. Piranesi did a fantastic job of making a history lesson appear as fantasy.


2005.05.06 17:24
Koolhaas versus the Actor
OK, I see what you mean, but....
There are many historical examples were architecture references itself, e.g., renaissance architecture referencing classical architecture, or even the second pyramid at Giza referencing the Great Pyramid at Giza.
Le Corbusier is just as much a reenactor as Stirling and the NY5 are reenactors. Le Corbusier reenacted machine forms and ship forms and American agricultural architecture forms. And Le Corbusier even ultimately reenacted himself--the Palais des Congres (1964) reenacts the Villa Savoye (1929)
I don't buy the notion of there ever really being a split from the symbolic system. Degrees of separation, yes, but no real split.
Stirling is a consumate reenactionary architect, and he knew it, but he put most of his clues in his architecture only--although his entry for Roma Interrotta is an overt reference to Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan and reenactionary architecturism. Just as Rossi reenacted the Bustum Hadriani with the Modena Cemetery, but it doesn't look like he ever told Tafuri about it. Yes, Rossi was silent, as are most architects when it comes to telling others where their real 'originality' comes from.


2005.08.05 14:36
Will Your Work Be Remembered?
Since memory is really a mental reenactment, perhaps the better question is, "Will your work will be reenacted?"
Be careful though, because reenactment without giving credit to the source is plagiarism.
A bit of my work was 'remembered' by David R. Marshall in "Piranesi, Juvarra, and the Triumphal Bridge Tradition" (in The Art Bulletin, June 2003) when in footnote 155 Marshall states, "...but the Area Martis through to the Nympheum Neronis, including the Templum Martis is a hieroglyph of St. Peter's, to which it corresponds topographically." Marshall does not name the 1999 source of this information, however. Furthermore, Marshall's note is misinformation in that the Porticus Neroniani and not the Nympheum Neronis forms part of the 'hieroglyph'. (Note also how 'pagan - christian - triumphal way' follows immediately after the 'hieroglyph' within "Inside the Density of G.B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii.)
Yes, a bit of my work has been reenacted, and I'll now make sure that it is remembered that David R. Marshall did the "reenacting."


2005.09.08 17:48
Hadrian was born in Spain
Hadrian had his tomb built because the tomb of Augustus had no spaces for an emperor.
Hadrian's Villa can also be seen as a "laboratory" of reenactment in that different parts of the villa are named for and perhaps even meant to evoke other places within the empire.
Check out the emperor Elegabalus as a latter-day Nero and then some. He had the Sessorian Palace built, which was a little Roman theme park in that besides the Palace there was also a circus and and amphitheater. What's left of the Sessorian Palace compound is at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. A hundred or so years after Elegabalus, Helena took up residence at the Sessorian Palace.


2007.03.26 11:11
Theory Part II - Doing What I Said I Would Do...
...reenacting Piranesi's drawing of the Ichnographia Campi Martii became the most productive for me. And then by translating Piranesi's plan labels throughout the Ichnographia I learned Piranesi's process of the project. Again, a very productive reenactionary activity for me.
Of course "productive misreading" is different than lying. But in our crazy modern reality "productive misreading" and lying are sometimes the same thing.


2008.05.15 21:00
Now try taking it to court.
"In learning how to draw one began to understand not only what it was like to draw like Palladio or Le Corbusier but also the extent of the differences in their work." Imagine that, learning via reenactment.
It was only after having my own CAD system that I began (in 1987) to redraw Piranesi's Campo Marzio, and I was doing it to indeed learn via reenactment. Ultimately, nine years ago yesterday, I discovered that there are indeed two different versions of the Campo Marzio plan. Imagine that, making a significant architectural discovery because of drawing with the aid of a computer.


2009.01.29
Lost's ending
I now suspect, after seeing the third episode of Lost season 5 last night, that Lost will end with all of its original cast alive and together. This is how I see the current time traveling coming to a conclusion. It will be like Finnegans Wake and like Il Campo Marzio. Too bad Bloomer didn't make this vital connection.
So now it's exploration of the possibilities of the space-time continuum. Like Proust was a neuroscientist, was Piranesi, with the Ichnographia Campus Martius, a scientist of the fourth dimension? (Here is where I have to review Dixon's "Ichnographia as Uchronia".) IS IQ also a study / experiment of architecture (and urbanism) in the fourth dimension? For IQ the time continuum connection is the Axis of Life/Parkway connection, which comes after Piranesi's own Porticus Neronianus/St. Peters connection.
Are the recombinant, appositional buildings of Quondam studies / experiments of architecture in the space/time continuum? Is that what they always have been? (Here is perhaps where I reread Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension.)
And what of The Odds of Ottopia? Did it all have a sense that even I I did not fully understand? Bilocation was a significant part of the story. A step beyond Theatrics Times Two? What is Bilocation2 or Bilocation3, etc.--the studies of further powers within 2 = odd.
And now, before I go to read Dixon's text (Uchronia), I'll end by mentioning that I now have to think about the relationship of reenactionary architecturism to traveling in the space-time continuum.

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