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Re: <eyebeam><blast> the museological and the urban
Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid
Lowbandwidth and Sangaku Blues...
Folks: the debate about urban architecture and collective memory is
pretty old at this point. One of the better examples in European history
is the classic Francis Bacon description of an urban milieu where
information was exchanged rapidly - of course, in the service of "God."
In his remix of the whole "city of god" scenario of linear history
(everybody from Plato to Aquinas to Hegel), Bacon had his own
"dialectic" along with thinkers like Jules Verne (in his book "Paris in
the 20th Century"), Bacon created a milieu that sounds pretty similar to
what's going on today: "We have also sound houses, where we practice and
demonstrate all sounds and their generation. We have harmonies which you
have not, of quarter tones and lesser slides of sounds. Divers
instruments of music likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you
have; we have also means to convey sounds in tubes and pipes, in strange
lines and distances..." in his New Atlantis, circa 1591 A.D.
But you could just as easily look at the words of the Mauretanian poet,
Marie Francoise Delaroziere when she wrote about the moving music of the
desert and how the balance and symmetry of life moves with the flow of
"The winds bring the tents to life.
And tranquily, towards other camps,
the caravan advances.
Donkeys and camels go,
carrying tents, coffers and the rubs.
The shelters of blue cloth,
little round tents swollen like ballons,
protect the secrets of the women and the children
from the too torrid sun.
The caravan advances slowly towards peaceful infinity
towards living infinity..."
One thing I really can't understand is why all the trendy intellectual
types stick to Rem Koolhaus and and a couple of other "brand name"
post-whatever stuff. There are examples from West African nomadic tribes
and Arabic traditional architecture (don't forget that one of the core
Arabic words for describing art, "sina'ah" means both technology and
art, or even the grid structures that the nomadic tribes of the Sudan
would construct around the anatomy of camels etc etc etc is pretty
intense. Not to mention the Japanese tradition of "Sangaku" or "temple
geometry" that is made into mathematical poems (based on "wasan" rather
than "yosan" (Western cremathematics. Why we still in this day and age
need to stick to formulaic stuff like Koolhas to deal wth contemporary
architecture is pretty boring. Buckminster Fuller who could convincing
create plans of cities that could float in the air? Iannis Xenakis
whose symphonies could be translated into architectural schematics? A.G.
Rizzoli's ficitional palaces? Movement and physiology are a kind of
syllogism. Frances Yates and the "ars memoria" sceneraio are parts of a
contemporary milieu. The memory theater is now as commonplace as your
home computer. It is the migration of these values through contemporary
culture that people should focus on. I guess, the narrower you confine
your search for values, the less information you pick up. Narrow
bandwidth is boring!
O You! who take the side of the townsman
And condemn the love of the nomad
For his limitless horizons!
Is it for their lightness
That you reproach our tents?
Have you eulogies only for houses of mud and stone?
And on the day of the migration
When our red camel litters are girthed on the camels
You would think it a field of anemones
Deepening in the rain their richest tones.
Emir Abd-El-Kadar (circa a long time ago...)
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