sunrise/set over mountains
2500 BC The Great Pyramids
12 BC The Pyramid of Caestius
1990s Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas
2013 New Not There City
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.
Re: travels in hyper-reality
What I (Steve) actually wrote was, "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."
Yes, there is a reenactment of Giza at Las Vegas (i.e., the Luxor Hotel), and isn't it interesting that the laser light that is nightly emitted straight up from the point of the Luxor Hotel 'pyramid' is so far the only single light point that can be identified precisely by astronauts orbiting the Earth in the Space Shuttle. Perhaps the Las Vegas pyramid should thus be considered as having gone a significant degree further than the original in Egypt. (How does the notion of "decline" fit into that equation?)
As to the "principle aim of [themed re-appropriation being] capital accumulation," doesn't it appear obvious that that is exactly what the 'architect' of the Great Pyramid was also doing?
Could it be said that 'post-modern' signifies an historical/cultural period where the assimilation of reenactment pervasively swells?
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.