inside the density
...the various points of the abstract as headings:
3. reŽnactment versus reconstruction
5. pagan to Christian - the Triumphal Way
6. life and death
7. love and war
9. urban sprawl
10. reŽnactment architectures and urbanisms
homo ludens and the Ichnographia Campus Martius
There are certain passages within Homo Ludens that relate directly to Piranesi's "play" of the Ichnographia Campus Martius, especially with regard to reŽnactment, the Scenographia, and the double theater. There are also connections between ritual and play that relate to the Triumphal Way.
While reading the first chapter of Homo Ludens, it seemed like I could do an entire analysis on the Ichnographia in terms of "the play element in culture." Moreover, the element of play relates directly to the notion of reŽnactment architecures, particularly with regard to the tourist aspect of today's reŽnactment architectures.
In light of this new intellectual connection, I'm now also wondering if the element of play is within Vico's New Science.
Generally, Bloomer's treatment of Piranesi's Campo Marzio follows that of Tafuri's, but she investigates some of Piranesi's other work with some originality. She is much better at finding symbolism/hidden meaning in Joyce, however, than she is in finding the same in Piranesi. For her, the (s)crypt(s) signifies a labyrinth (one she often seems lost in herself, even though it is a labyrinth of her own making!). For example, she sees the Campo Marzio plan as representing the labyrinth of the underworld, that place where the [Cartesian] grid/cage of rationality does not apply. Her [s]cryptic efforts getting into this underworld are especially worth reading because it is a thorough aggregate of good research mixed (unfortunately?) with the Tafurian and Derridian agendas (see her treatment of the CM's Terentus occulens aram Ditis et Proserpinae). Inadvertently, however, by going 'underneath' the large plan, she puts all her effort into seeking something that is not there. Essentially, she avoids the real plan itself.
Virtually Carved in Stone
...easily put together a book on the Campo Marzio because of the large amount at hand. ...a list of the data:
the redrawn plan (in color?)
the Campo Marzio notes
Campo Marzio - Philadelphia overlay
Eros et Thanatos
Tafuri's mistakes, etc.
Inside the density...
the two states of the Ichnographia.
The working title of this book is Virtually Carved in Stone and the cover image will be the intercourse building plan.
...quirky idea ... to intersperse reŽnactment architectures throughout the book as a parallel text that sometimes relates to the primary text and sometimes doesn't.
In G.B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius, he positions the horti Agrippinae along the Tiber right where the river makes an almost ninrty degree bend. Judging from the description in The Times article, it seems that Piranesi's positioning is close to accurate.
Re: Colin Rowe
Just over a year ago I learned that Colin Rowe had a copy of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius hanging over his desk. I believe it was given to him at some recognition ceremony vis-ŗ-vis Collage City.
Eisenman (in Autonomy and Ideology) chides Rowe for looking too closely at Nolli's Map of Rome and not looking at Piranesi's Campo Marzio close enough. Ironically, within the Eisenman piece the illustrations and captions of the Ichnographia and Nolli's Map of Rome are inverted!
As it stands now, my ongoing investigation and redrawing of the Ichnographia has led to the 'discovery' of a whole new aspect of Piranesi's work that so far no one else has found, namely that the large plan of the Campo Marzio is a readable narrative of Ancient Rome's political and architectural history--but in order to grasp this delineated 'text' one must 'read' in unison the individual plans, the plans in relationship to each other, the plans in relation to where the actual buildings really were, and (this is perhaps the most important) the Latin labels Piranesi gives to each plan.
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.
Inside the Density of G. B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii 3811b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r
Pagan - Christian - Triumphal Way
3123h i j k
reenactment versus reconstruction 3.0
The act of reassembling archaeological artifacts into their original form or appearance is commonly called reconstructing, and the resultant new artifact is hence called a reconstruction. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii is most often referred to as a reconstruction, albeit a reconstruction of a most fanciful nature. Tafuri takes this assertion to an extreme when he states "the archaeological mask of Piranesi's Campo Marzio fools no one: this is an experimental design and the city, therefore, remains an unknown." It is correct that the Campo Marzio sports a mask, but it is a mask of reenactment and not one of reconstruction. Likewise, the Campo Marzio is indeed an experimental urban design, but it is not a design destined to remain unknown.
6. Manfredo Tafuri exalts the Horti Luciliani in his The Sphere and the Labyrinth - Avant-Gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970s, when he states:
"But it is in the Horti Luciliani that the mechanical architecture of Piranesi reaches an extreme level of abstraction. Here, a complex of structures in semicircles and in sectors of circles obeys the rule of gemmation, as the revolve around the Atrium Minervae; an astonishing mechanism, in which Piranesi achieves the maximum refinement of his geometric instruments."
But then Tafuri immediately continues with:
"The overall result of this sample book of typological inventions excludes--the choice is deliberate--the characterization of the city as a completed formal structure. The clash of the organisms, immersed in a sea of formal fragments, dissolves even the remotest memory of the city as a place of Form.
If only Tafuri was here also being satirical, rather than displaying his Campo Marzio shortcomings.
7. The grand staircase leading up the Horti Luciliani aligns precisely with the Spanish Steps of Rome today.
8. Within a year of completing the Ichnographia Campi Martii, Piranesi moved his family and his business to a building along the street at the top of the Spanish Steps. One has to then wonder whether Piranesi already had the building he moved to in mind when he drew the Horti Luciliani [and I personally wonder just how close Piranesi's new residence comes to the Horti Luciliani's Atrium Minervae].
9. Wisdom and satire, what a metabolic combination!