2001.09.11 ...one Tower's destruction was quickly 'reenacted' by the other Tower
2002 Tampa Florida
2002 "partly collapsed" office towers
Re: LC 2 (addendum)
It has already struck me that one Tower's destruction was quickly 'reenacted' by the other Tower. Besides that, I'm still trying to come to grips with the whole event.
reenactment and its [un]limits
On 17 February 2000 Brian Carroll posed the following question to Steve Lauf here at Design-l:
I wonder what the limits of reenactment are...
where does reenactionary architecture begin and end?
On 18 February 2000 Steve Lauf posted the following reply:
It seems logical that no reenactment occurs without an enactment occurring first...
reenactment's most inescapable limit is that it can never be as original as that which it reenacts.
I remember feeling thankful to Brian for having raised such a succinct question, because it provided the opportunity for me to verbalize what I believe to be an axiomatic aspect of reenactment.
This exchange came to mind when I viewed the "virtual re-creation [via laser light] of the [WTC] towers" as proposed by NY architects Gustavo Bonevardi and John Bennett--here reenactment seems to better describe what the proposal would actually be doing if it was indeed acted upon. This proposal also demonstrates the range of reenactment in that it (the range) comprises multiple degrees of separation from that which is reenacted, with the 'virtual re-creation' here being much removed from the original.
After thinking this through, I then realized that last week's hoax image of the tourist standing atop the World Trade Center just before the plane struck the Tower was also a reenactment, and perhaps even the closest reenactment of the very beginning of the horrible events September 11. Recall how Gregory Wharton very quickly pointed out all the degrees of separation that distanced the reenacting image from the 'original', while John Young pointed out all the degrees of the reenacting image that set it close to the 'original'. That this image received national attention perhaps offers a prime example of just how much a reenactment can be real precisely when everyone knows the reenactment really isn't real.
Strange how reenactments can be both real and unreal at the same time.
Quondam design-l lister Rick McBride sent me a link to yesterday's NYTIMES article "A Memorial Is Itself a Shaper of Memory" which muses on the future fate of the World Trade Center site. Rick wondered if the article might relate to reenactment and architecture. Here's how I responded:
While human memory itself is very likely the prototype of all reenactment, memorials themselves are not necessarily manifestations of reenactionary architecturalism. Keeping and displaying the ruins of the World Trade Center towers is not an act of reenactment. Rebuilding the towers, each up to the height of 9/11 impact, each with a gigantic staircase spiraling down, and each filled with a core of places of prayer and worship (with a mosque at each acme), would be reenactionary architecturism, especially for pilgrims that fly (via helicopters) to the tops and then walk all the way down.
I still sense that the notion of a discernible and often strong relationship between reenactment and design is not deemed important enough to be given serious recognition by those that have at least been introduced to the concept. The recent tragic event within the upper reaches of Tampa, Florida, however, makes it all too bitterly clear that reenactment and design is a striking reality of our times, and that there is still much to be understood.
What happened at Tampa, Florida is something that precisely enacts a confusion of reenactment and imitation. It is a tragedy, of course, but, unfortunately not one without design (and here high rise buildings fit very much into the overall design).
What your stance plainly demonstrates is just how much "modern" humanity has been trained/brainwashed into understanding virtually all imitation as that which completely lacks "design with imagination," as you put it. The irony here, however, is that our imaginations are already reenactments of our corporal physiologies. Another irony is that the greater part of "design" today is indeed "just trying to copy with miserable tools." At the very least, nothing you said is altogether innovative, especially among modern designers. Just redundant, as you yourself conveniently note.
I am quickly reminded of the following passage from Charles Hedrick, History and Silence:
"In the modern world, present circumstances are conceived in terms of a projected future. What we are depends on where we are going, not where we have been. To the extent that the power of the past is acknowledged at all, it is seen as a burden, as an impediment to progress and self-realization, as something to be overcome. By contrast, traditional societies look much more to the past for the determination of who and what they are: hence the ancient prestige of the genre of history."
a slave to reenactment
What I like about Peter Eisenman's proposal of three office towers (directly adjacent the [quondam] World Trade Center site) that deliver "a kind of sense of a moment frozen in time where the buildings were collapsing" is how this design clearly demonstrates that Eisenman is well capable of being a slave to reenactment. I like this because it is in direct opposition to the notion that architecture is an autonomous [from context] art, a notion that Eisenman himself has strongly advocated for many years through his writings and [supposedly] his designs. I now understand Eisenman better because in "a kind of [deep] sense" I understand that Eisenman doesn't even understand himself.
Gehry @ Sydney
Anyone else remember Eisenman's proposal for development around Ground Zero from 2002?
I can't tell if the genetic pool is shrinking or expanding.
Q: Which came first, repetition or difference?
A: A reenactment of a reenactment turned sideways.
The "teen" years = wise-ass architecture.