Life and Death (Eros & Thanatos) in the Ichnographia
...(re)found Freud's quotations from Civilization and Its Discontents which names eros and thanatos (the life and death instincts) as the basic operations of life. This whole notion relates directly to the metabolic imagination and the Life and Death axes of the Campo Marzio. Oddly enough, it came as a revelation for me to see these cross axes as a manifestation of the metabolic process. Nonetheless, this connection is exactly what ties the two axes story together--this connection provides the ultimate outline and full meaning of Piranesi's design which is now unquestionably metabolic.
...a connection to the history of Berlin (and here Speer's plan is incredibly poignant!).
eros et thanatos
"Inside the Density of G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii"
Albeit resolutely virtual, Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius 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 Campus Martius 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
Piranesi's Continual Double Theaters
in the thick of reenactment season
I purposefully walked from the front door of the Philadelphia Museum of Art down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the far side of Logan Circle and then back to the Art Museum. I did this to get a real sense of the scale of the virtual axis of life within Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius.
In reality I was walking across the forecourt of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, then down the steps that Rocky made famous running up, then across Eakins Oval, where the largest painting in the world once was, then down a tree covered allee along the south side of the Parkway stretching for three long blocks, then around Logan Circle, and then back in the direction I came although this time along the north side of the Parkway.
In virtuality I was walking through the Nympheum Neronis high on the Vatican Hill, through the Porticus Neronianae, through the Templum Martis (Temple of Mars), through the Area Martis where the Triumphal Way begins its "march" (this is around where the Rodin Museum is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and, as luck would have it, where the route of many of today's Philadelphia parades begin), then I walked around Hadrian's tomb, and then I walked back.
The whole walk took about 40 minutes, and if I had gone all the way to the LOVE sculpture at JFK Plaza across from City Hall, the walk back and forth would have taken just about an hour. ... I made mental note of most of the memorials on and along this stretch of the Parkway--Washington Memorial, Civil War Memorial, WWI Memorial, a plaque in the cement on axis at Logan Circle states that the trees along the Parkway were planted on honor of the soldiers of WWI, and a Shakespeare Memorial in front of the Free Library.
Match of the axis of life and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
division isolation separation boundaries oh my!!
...they are Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius, i.e., Rome and Center City Philadelphia aligned along their respective axis of life and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Both axes uncannily match in length, and the circumference of Hadrian's Tomb uncannily matches Logan Circle.
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 Ichnographia Quondam 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. Peter's connection.
Re: Reenacting Paintings
Finally read the article, and yes it would have been more complete if the notion of reenactment was also addressed, as reenactment involves all the issues: reproduction, cloning, authenticity, degrees of separation, even, to some extent, space-time. I'd say the degrees of separation issue is here the most important in that, like you mention, the reproductions come extremely close to the original, and can even occupy the space of the original, but the reproductions can never be the original. I'm reminded of that aspect of calculus where the curve continues to more and more closely approach + or - 1 but never reaches the actual integer itself.
"Bifuracted authenticity" is an interesting notion, but, in terms of authenticity, it's a little misleading--there is still really only one authentic work (the reproduction Marriage of Cana even in original context is still a reproduction). Nonetheless, it brings to mind notions of the Baroque--"Within his double theater Bernini capsulized the beginning of Western culture's new bifurcation of the real and the illusory, introduced mirroring as a henceforth dominant (post) Baroque (stylistic) theme, and, at base (or should I say at the ultimate end), inverted reality into a reenactment of its own illusory mirror (--is this perhaps also the genesis of historiography?)." Plus, the mystical notion of bilocation, or is it actually something scientific as in the space-time continuum? Is the match of the Campo Marzio Axis of Life and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway an example of "bifurcated authenticity"?
So, generally, my take on the article is that 'reenactment' is missing and really should have been included. Greenaway essentially performed two reenactments--one the reenacted natural lighting in situ, and two the reenacted lighting on the reenacted painting at another/nearby site--and Factum Arte reenacted the Marriage of Cana at its original site.
Here a Versailles, There a Versailles, Everywhere a Versailles, sigh--going Baroque in the space-time continuum!
Match of the axis of life and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
2012.06.29 - 2012.06.30