Guide Architectural Body (Modern & Contemporary Poetics)

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  1. 20 Modern Poets, Their Poems, and Their Poetry Books
  2. Modern and Contemporary Poetics: Architectural Body by Arakawa and Madeline Gins (2002, Hardcover)
  3. Architectural Body by Madeline Gins
  4. Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts

For them, a painting was simply a canvas covered with paint, sculpture was an object in space, and so forth. The party slogans were simply combinations of words—and words can be combined with other words.

20 Modern Poets, Their Poems, and Their Poetry Books

Written words are simply combinations of lines—and can be combined with other combinations of lines. A political authority guarantees the stability of certain modes of speech, forms of behavior, images, and rituals. But these are all material objects and processes.

Visual Reading Studies

All the elements of these works—whether texts, paintings, drawings, or films—seem to be included in this flow. They all seem to drift, shift, slip, and stumble into new combinations, contexts, and situations. No effort. No revolt. Rather, they let things go, and they move and slide in different directions—beyond the control of a political or cultural authority. The artist rejects any attempt to give this drift toward anarchy and chaos any definite direction, to let it culminate in any new order. Socialism collapses.

Capitalism triumphs. But the process of entropy goes on. After all, money is also merely images, signs among other signs. They are also made up of material components, their forms can also be destabilized. A room remains a room—be it an exhibition space, a bank, or an office of the Party committee. And an image remains a combination of colors and forms, be it a portrait of a leader, a currency unit, or a combination of both. This shifting and sliding of images and signs on the blank surface of nothingness is a strong reminder of the Suprematist art of Kazimir Malevich.

Malevich also rejected any attempt to interpret his art as a foundation for a new order. Not accidentally, Malevich was extremely skeptical about the possibility of building any new utopian order. Christians wanted to enter paradise, he wrote, by achieving inner, spiritual perfection through permanent self-improvement—through working on their souls.

Communists wanted to enter the radiant future by perfecting the material conditions of human existence, by turning the whole world into a factory. However, Malevich did not see any substantial difference between the Church and the factory: both wanted perfection, and both were unable to achieve it because the material world is permanently subjected to the forces of entropy. So Malevich proposed that the artist relax, that the artist give up the ambition of shaping the permanent flow of the material world.

Instead, Malevich preached that laziness and inaction would release the entropic forces that have true revolutionary power. Malevich, like many other representatives of the early avant-garde, was not ready to submit his artistic practice to ideological control by the new socialist powers. Thus, even if the social and political orders that were rejected and ironized by both artists were not identical—and even opposed to each other—the contemporary gesture of rejection as such repeats the avant-garde gesture.

As I have already said, art consciously stages unconscious entropic processes—and thus gives them a certain form. This form becomes solidified, petrified, and canonized by time. Malevich is no exception. Malevich investigated and deconstructed the high artistic canon of the past and laid bare its geometrical basis—culminating in the Black Square , which demonstrated the formal geometrical structure of any standard painted image consisting of a rectangular canvas and a frame.

The geometrical forms that Malevich used in his own Suprematist paintings referred to Platonic ideas, to the Western philosophical and artistic tradition of mathematizing and geometrizing nature.

Modern and Contemporary Poetics: Architectural Body by Arakawa and Madeline Gins (2002, Hardcover)

The celebration of the reality of everyday life was a common feature of many artistic practices and philosophical discourses of the s and s. Rather, the texture of everyday life demonstrates itself as porous and fragmented—open to the Suprematist nothingness that this texture is unable to fully capture. It is where the dissolved fragments of the everyday technological world enter the stage of their eternal return—and fill the heaven of our contemporary civilization. In fact, Plato himself saw the possibility for everyday garbage to contaminate the heaven of pure ideas.

Architectural Body by Madeline Gins

So he is not afraid to bring his own artistic method to the point of absurdity. This delight in absurdity is a part of the Dadaist and early Surrealist heritage. His famous series of photographs The Artist at Work is a good example of this. During sleep, our imagination becomes liberated from all the restraints and obligations imposed on it by our everyday mode of existence. Here, the poetic dream is opposed to prosaic reality.

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And so it is important that, going to sleep, the poet closes the door behind him—to prevent the free flow of his imagination from being disturbed by the intrusion of everyday reality and the gaze of others. Instead of poetic dreaming, we are presented with a prosaic image of a sleeping body. Here, the sleeping artist is not a poet who forgets the world, flying from the world into a poetic dream—thus escaping the gaze of others.

Rather, the artist completely delivers up his body to the gaze of spectators—unprotected and uncontrolled. In sleep, one looses the ability to manipulate, direct, and seduce the gaze of the spectator. Warhol does not relinquish but rather strengthens his manipulative, controlling position of authority. When the artist sleeps, he lets the life around him and in him flow without control—thereby creating beyond work.

Thus, the artist undermines the obligation to work—the true common ground between ideologies of capitalism and communism. It is this obligation to work that our everyday life depends upon. Indeed, the power of the everyday was not taken as seriously in the socialist East as it was in the capitalist West. Of course, communist ideology was a materialist and atheist one. However, under the conditions of socialism, everyday life was subjected to ideological definition and interpretation to a degree that reminded one of medieval Europe. Each everyday decision was analyzed and justified in ideological terms: Does this decision serve the cause of building the socialist future?

Does this decision conform to Marxism and its ideological principles? Here, indeed, the idea of every seemingly small and insignificant everyday thing was separated from the thing itself—and submitted to ideological scrutiny. Thus, the socialist subject always mediated between two worlds: an ideological world and a world of everyday survival.

Juhani Pallasmaa Interview: Art and Architecture

The rejection of official ideology has not abolished the ideological, spiritual, utopian world altogether, but rather transformed it into blank nothingness. This nothingness is not simply an absence of ideology but is rather a space of ideological freedom that should not be identified with freedom from ideology.

It is this space of freedom that came to be endangered after the end of socialism.

Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts

The victory of Western positivism meant the abolishment of this blank space of ideological, subjective, inner freedom that was so familiar to Eastern European dissident artists and thinkers. Instead, the post-socialist subject became the slave of the everyday—like his or her Western counterpart. It is different because it continues to celebrate the experience of radical spiritual freedom.

And this freedom dissolves not only ideology, but also any familiar social space—allowing nothingness to shine through the holes in our everyday world. Click to start a discussion of the article above. Plato, The Dialogues of Plato, vol. This website uses cookies to improve user experience.

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