addendum to post … 2a

Why did I ever write “eloquent silence”? [here] How could I have? I meant silent and speaking, still, perhaps, but articulating, nonetheless.

Who is the subject of a building? Is it the architect? Or, is it the architect as divine?

For a building to have a subject is already a reach. But why? Isn’t the simplest shelter full of breath?

Consider also the insistence throughout My Architect of Kahn the younger’s interviewees, those who knew Louis Kahn, that he was above all an artist. What normally followed in their discourse was: and therefore he was bad with money and socially inept and couldn’t say no and gave himself up utterly to his art leaving nothing for his family, families, emotionally. Well, in terms of loyalty at least. Since for the son, Nathaniel there is in the film a sense of betrayal, a resentment at not having been central in and to his father’s life. However loved, peripheral. Art central.

The man is not an artist on the evidence of his works but on the evidence of his personal deficiencies, it seems, the deficits in his social and emotional life. Art as an intimate deficiency. An absent volume, or void. Which is to give a positive swing to it. Makes one want to go out courting brain damage, brain grass. My works will not even have to justify my maltreatment of my family, families! This in itself may serve as proof: I AM an… Captain Haddock, as Balthus says. [here] Blistering blue barnacles! Which swings the pendulum back again, into the negative. Such a Romantic idea, a Romantic construction, the genius whose genius is attested to by his wound, self-inflicted, sometimes, genetic, anyway, at least in the passage to genius. Deleuze has quite a lot to say about this. He even supports the idea of the cracked artist, Fitzgerald, for example, like the philosopher, dipsomaniacal. But Deleuze makes this faultline impersonal, a matter of “a bubbling sensibility and a thought which rumbles in its crater” and a matter of what to do with “a bubbling sensibility and a thought which rumbles in its crater.” It is not individual, but subjective: an originary violence. Who’s to blame? Oedipus?

Who’s to blame for the fact that the artist’s erstwhile closest friends cannot really bring themselves to an admission of Louis Kahn’s unalloyed greatness, or even of his mastery of art, such that a work may still be called a masterpiece but no one says, Of course masterpieces follow from a great artist; they say instead, He was an artist, which explains why he was a useless human being. Possibly Luther’s to blame for this lack of generosity. I mean, look at how this building looks down on you! Were it a product of man, a man would have to be possessed of a demon for possessing such demiurgical powers of imagination, since divinity may never be imputed to mortal man.

– Mies van der Rohe, 1919

I mean, architecture in other ways than music, but similarly, as it is given to all to undergo, or encounter, a gift to men, women, equally, is an art seeming divine. In our era of individualism the individual is held up so as he may be pulled down again; at the same time as Mies van der Rohe’s God is in the details of a God-like act of giving space form, so we domesticate that God by pulling Him to pieces and each owning a little bit: My Architect!

You can see the good work of the popularisation of psychoanlysis in this individualism as it individualises, separates the individual, and then socialises the individual from the point of view of a shared humanity, a commonsensical psychology, a human nature. But what else are we in a beautiful building but alone with our maker? … No. You have seen god. You must pull down the maker. My Architect!

– Antonio Gaudí

The divinity of Mozart is a cliché. As is the divinity of the inspiration for Chartres. Or for La Sagrada Família. What about the divinity Antonio Gaudí would have to accede to were we to attribute that inspiration to him? And we need not do so exclusively… Instead, we will read how he was beset by family tragedy, and how his obsession with his work led him to become a virtual recluse, living in the crypt of his building. He was run over by a tram. Staggering away from the accident, taxis refused to take him because he was dressed like a tramp. When he was dead, then he was elevated. Dead he is no longer a threat to our own sense of individuality. Our architect.

– Antonio Gaudí, La Sagrada Família, detail

So, what does the silence say? does it beat you over the head with your own insignificance? with its eloquence? And, then, why are you scared?

– Antonio Gaudí, La Sagrada Família, detail