Been spending the weekend thinking about my project in a greater context, what it is I want to say, what I want to uncover. My argument, at this point, lends inspiration from the critical line discussion we had on Friday, and expands it into a critical loop, discussing the stages an architectural invention occupies during its lifespan, of which the cliché is only one point. Does all good architecture go through this process? What ideas stay in certain stages, why, and to whom? It seems to me that the architect can occupy different stages at different points in his career. Perhaps the stroke of genius is to deliver fresh ideas that, by themselves and by the help of peers and followers, become conventions. The famous architect then discards his language when it is on the verge of becoming a cliché, and thus leaving it to others to resurrect it at a later point.
EDITED: (Beginning of) an Architect’s Dictionary
Truth: the seamlessness by which reality and fiction overlap.
This is what the mediocre artist searches frantically for in his strained attempts
at being decadent and living up to his own myth, which is a myth in the sense
that it is a supernatural explanation of things where truth would suffice.
This is also what the genius effortlessly disseminates across the field
because while one can get far enough without it (by joining the pack)
a genius cannot sustain his own self-image if he doesn’t revolutionize
architecture at least once every decade, be it by publishing a monograph
or giving an awe-inspiring keynote lecture – not necessarily building.
Convention: the social contract by which we orientate ourselves
throughout our daily lives, the rules we stick to in our behaviour
anxious to ignore in imagination, anxious to live up to in the streets;
no-one wants to be the one who doesn’t understand (the stupid alien).
Cemented by mass-media and interpersonal networks, the convention
heals the fragmentation of a common community, however large
however small, however insular: the audience of architecture
except from its world-building software in the strategy games.
Each convention is linked to context, it becomes nonsensical
and incongruous if exited into a larger realm, if the res cogitans
is put into another res extensa, as if the monads and the world
collided and gave birth to the tropes we execute in the play.
Conventions relate to standards; they become benchmarks
of a chosen direction, one that is desirable, highly sought.
It is a convention that the jpeg is a square or rectangle
as is the use of the minus sign to tag negative values.
Pariah: a selection, proximal or out of reach to the entity in itself
which has been excluded from the truth-making connotations of society
in favour of living in history, as a mistake, a fault, while still being, in fact
tied to the present and talking for those who want to listen (which is none).
The status of the pariah is defined by the actions of leaders; if the policeman
beats up the subject, regardless of whether he has committed any crime or not
they merely enforce the values of the society they are set within. The outcast
is a manifestation of everything threatening the new balance, delicate as it is.
When conformity has become so strong as to suffocate the propagation
of new artwork, which is a priority for all creative professions, the norm
is shifted from one of convention to one of pariah, with the middle ground
being the cliché, which is the beginning of the downfall of a certain technique.
The pariah is untouchable; anyone deploying it in the belief that he is making
a valued and intelligent contribution to a common body of work
is not only mistaken, but to be lamented over – he becomes
the pariah himself; the stigma is transmitted.
Resurrection: a connotation’s rescue from its pariah-state by the incubation
of time and the passing of high art into historical culture, studied by a few
who tell of that connotation’s insertion into a new context, or transformed
under the presence of a novel technology. Example: the lush ornaments
of Elven architecture as inspired by the Art Noveau and new expressionism
suggesting that these fictional men (nonetheless enacted by real humans)
stand closer to nature and hold a more refined view our relationship to it.
It is not the art style that is new, it is the situation in which it finds itself.
In the same way, 19th century writings on the sublime, dismissed
as irrelevant to a scientific early Modernism, comes back to life
in the bold, MEL-scripted excesses of the Los Angeles genetics.
In the state of resurrection, the game is still in play; the corpses
still smell of decomposition, like the zombies they are.
It is still only of interest to the few who are young enough
to not know of the reason why it was put to sleep, anyway.
In this sense, naivety is every great artist’s greatest asset.
Nothing gets born out of nothing, but something alters
the gestalt of something when it is confronted
with a new code of action, a new mindset.