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Thanksgiving Day 1999In the midst of all this, we found ourselves talking about Thanksgiving Day in the USA (actually it was Thanksgiving Day, but we were in Brussels), and it quickly dawned on Eleni Gigantes that Thanksgiving Day is a huge reenactment (if not the biggest reenactment within the United States).
One of the last events of my trip to Brussels, Belgium was a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night, 27 November, hosted by Elia Zenghelis and Eleni Gigantes. About half of the guests were some of the participants of INSIDE DENSITY. During dinner I sat next to Mark Wigley, and across from Mark sat Hilde Heynen, and across from me sat Eleni Kostika, and next to Eleni Kostika sat Tom Avermaete. Most recently, Tom Avermaete moderated the "Elements of Architecture" event last friday in Rotterdam.
"And we become these human jukeboxes spilling out these anecdotes." --Six Degrees of Separation
Memory is the primogenitor of reenactment. Is reenactment the primogenitor of traditions?
Your Ignorance is Inexcusable2005.11.22 10:18
"It is no accident that the New in the arts always announces itself in the guise of a revival, Hadid's career starts with the reinterpretation of Malevich's Teltonik, and her early work has indeed been (mis-)understood as neo-Constructivism. In a similar fashion, Peter Eisenman is said to take off from early Le Corbusier and Terragni. Revivalist appropriation is the easiest and most immediate option to articulate dissatisfaction and resistance towards a dominant practice. However, this has nothing to do with repetition. For instance, to pick up the unfinished projects of modernism on the back of postmodernism cannot be simple re-enactment, even if one initially works with direct citations."--Patrik Schumacher, "Mechanism of Radical Innovation" in Zaha Hadid Complete Works: Texts and References. p. 65.
Is there even such a thing as simple reenactment?
Your Ignorance is Inexcusable2005.11.22 11:50
pastiche 1 : a dramatic, literary, or musical piece openly imitating the previous works of other artists, often with satirical intent 2 : a pasticcio of incongruous parts; a hodgepodge
Reenactment and pastiche are not the same thing.
Reenactment, as a historiographic methodology, involves an imitation of the source event in order to better understand the source event and then learn from there. Reenactment as a design methodology works the same way.
Disney-fication is pastiche 1 without the satire.
Contemporary avant garde architecture in virtually any established setting unwittingly generates pastiche 2.
"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."
Last week my neighbor Susan told me she was having her late sister's family over for Thanksgiving, and taking the little ones to see the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade for their first time. Two nights ago, as we were both putting our trash out, I told Susan there's going to be a bicycle-built-for-twelve in the parade."Are you going to be on it!?""No, but my cousin George will probably be at the front of the bike.""Oh good, we'll have to yell out 'Hey George' and he'll be like who the hell are those people.""Perfect, a new game called less than six degrees of separation."
"Perfect, a new game called less than six degrees of separation." Brilliant!
i dont think it involves far-ness or stretching the truth. closeness, sure. the way i understand it, reenactiment is reverential and ritualistic. it might jump analogically from one medium to another, for instance hunting and dancing...but its aim would not to subvert the underlying archetype, so to speak. neither wuold it be, in my opinion, interperative in principle even if it is interperative in expression. interperative suggests 'interpretation' as an aim.
which then begs the question whether reenactment has an aim, anyway - if it subsists between the voluntary and the involuntary, the present and the past.
t a m m u z,
I'm quickly reminded of a short passage I read last night--
--which seems somewhat related to your analogically jumping comment/question.
Schumacher's passage above unwittingly describes subversive reenactment. Is subversive reenactment then a key ingredient of avant garde design? See how Le Corbusier subversively reenacts, via re-interpretation, the Villa Savoye.
There's the new movie Lincoln, which tries very hard to be as close to the original as possible, and earlier this year there was the movie Lincoln, Vampire Slayer. Does (historical) fiction sometimes easliy fall into the category of subversive reenactment?
The logisital objective of a crime-scene reenactment is to reproduce the crime as closely as possible, and the aim of the reenactment is for the police investigators to gain a form of eye-witness experience of the crime. Reenactment within the philosophy of history has the same aim.
Perhaps subversive reenactment just happens to be a very good way to come up with something new again.
Quondam, I would say " Is subversive reenactment then a key ingredient of avant garde design?" yes. Seems to me closely linked to appropriation...
as you pointed out in Schumacher's quote "Revivalist appropriation is the easiest and most immediate option to articulate dissatisfaction and resistance towards a dominant practice" though i think reproducing the as closely possible but not as historical design-/sci/fiction would be the more subversive action. Non-revivalist if possible.
Quondam, i think there is something suspect going on. when you say subversive reenactment, i understand it as meaning a reenactment that subverts the content of its reenactment (and not a reenactment that is subversive of anything else other than itself). but, i understand reenactment as something that happens because it is subliminal and the subliminal is deeper and more rooted, less agent controlled than the' will to subvert'. this is why i asked whether reenactment can have any aim, including subversion. i would imagine a deliberately subversive (therefore simply 'subversive) reenatment would be interpretive - i.e. the actual aim/message of the subversive reenactment would be subversion not reenactment. reenactment would be a theatrical critical and temporary device not a subliminal force that motivates the body ritualistically beyond the temporality of the will.
I think I agree with you. The last two lines of your comment seem to be missing a word or two, so I'm not entirely sure of your meaning. I would just caution that reenactment, revivalism and appropriation have relationships to each other, but they are not the same thing. Also, the negative aspect of Schumacher's quote is how hard he tries to deny that reenactment is part of Hadid's early design process.
t a m m u z
You have to offer some examples of reenactment as you understand it.
tammuz i think this is an important point "i would imagine a deliberately subversive (therefore simply 'subversive) reenatment would be interpretive - i.e. the actual aim/message of the subversive reenactment would be subversion not reenactment"
Quondam i think what i was trying to say (in line with tammuz perhaps) is that pure re-enactment is perhaps too revivalist in nature to be subversive...
Nam, now both you and tammuz are being only abstract. So far tammuz is only imagining "a deliberately subversive (therefore simply 'subversive) reenatment would be interpretive - i.e. the actual aim/message of the subversive reenactment would be subversion not reenactment." I would like to see an example of "a deliberately subversive (therefore simply 'subversive) reenatment would be interpretive - i.e. the actual aim/message of the subversive reenactment would be subversion not reenactment" Also, can you provide an example of a "pure re-enactment [that] is perhaps too revivalist in nature to be subversive"?
Another example of Le Corbusier subversively reenacting the Villa Savoye is the upper half of the Governor's Palace designed for Chandigarh.
Actually, subversively isn't really the right term. Le Corbusier metabolically reenacts the Villa Savoye.