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    Fight Club: The Aftermath

    By Arjun Bhat
    Nov 12, '06 3:41 PM EST

    so the pilot episode of fight club went relatively well. That's not saying it couldn't do without some tweaking to the format, but some opening day hitches are to be expected with launching of an event such as this.

    Some interesting excerpts from the fight:

    chang opens with images of old beijing - "this is the city i grew up in" follows comment with images of beijing today, showing its dead urban space - "now it is a city of object buildings and monuments"

    d'hoogue image - "we must end the tyranny of the fabric"
    defines fabric as without edge - continues to infinity; as a homogenizer; and as a tool of oppression (tyranny of majority).

    question to d'hoogue by kwinter -- "if you define monument as having a contained boundary, and kant describes the sublime as being without boundary, than what is monument's relationship to the sublime?"

    which is more dangerous - the symbolic power of monument, or fabric's tyranny of the majority?

    the modern discourse of fabric is is nothing but the insistence on a german ideological template - begun by camillo sitte - fabric is not as innocent as you may believe. -- d'hoogue

    kwinter's question - what is salience with regard to its urban implications?

    chang - "fabric contains life."

    d'hoogue puts forth a concept of "appropriating monuments"

    d'hoogue - "a building is not a tree" (in response to an audience comment that forests are fabrics of monuments - therefore cities could be as well)


    i didn't have much else written and i didn't have the time to write this stuff up right after the fight, but i'll do better next time.

    we weren't able to get this fight on tape, but we're planning on getting the next fight recorded and available on youtube.

    fight club was intended to be a way to give impromptu hallway debates and studio discussions a public stage to get people to stand their ground on positions they felt strongly about. here's hoping this is a tradition around MIT that keeps going.

    and also it gives me opportunities to splice professors' heads on celebrity bodies. don't want to forget the important things.


    • aml

      sounds like a lot of fun, actually. but of course i'm archi-lecture groupie.

      Nov 12, 06 6:36 pm  · 
      vado retro

      the monument, if it is manmade cannot be sublime. the sublime in a kantian definition is a formless object, so far as in it or by occasion of it boundlessness is represented, and yet its totality is also present to thought. kant is talking about nature not the manmade. dumb question.

      Nov 12, 06 11:17 pm  · 
      Arjun Bhat

      there are some that would contend that the work of ledoux and boulee had much to do with the sublime, and that both kant and burke's definition of the sublime could extend to art and architecture, such as kate nesbitt --

      "Their categories of the beautiful and the sublime were applied to the study of nature, to the character of men, and to their artistic output, in particular, poetry, painting, and architecture. Thus, by the mid-eighteenth century, the sublime had crossed disciplinary boundaries from literature to take on morality and the visual arts.

      this essay by nesbitt provides more:

      at least this is what i was taught in my arch history courses in undergrad.

      Nov 13, 06 12:19 am  · 
      vado retro

      there are some who would contend this, but they would be wrong. if in fact, the sublime is without boundary, then consequently anything with a boundary i.e. a building, a painting a sculpture is not sublime.

      "sublimity, threfore, does not reside in anything in naure, but only in our mind, in so far as we can become conscious that we are superior to nature within, and therefore also to nature without us. Everything that excites this feeling in us, e.g. the might of nature which calls forth our forces, is called then (although IMPROPERLY) sublime."

      Nov 13, 06 6:44 am  · 

      is kant the only one that gets to define the sublime? though they were often talking about landscapes, the 18th/19th century garden-makers talked an awful lot about the sublime relative to their completely fabricated landscapes with lakes, woods, and ruins. think piranesi's etchings (the attack of roman ruins!) were also often cited.

      peter collins writes brilliantly of the sublime.

      Nov 13, 06 6:54 am  · 

      relative to the set up of this discussion, seems like a false opposition. paris' network of object monuments and exceptional landmarks depend on, i.e., can only stand out relative to, the fabric and the fabric depends on these interruptions for orientation, meaning, and neighborhood identity. isn't this simple figure/field stuff?

      Nov 13, 06 7:00 am  · 
      vado retro

      well, others may define it steven and frankly it may not even exist. but, the question was referring to kant. and so kant it is...

      Nov 13, 06 7:10 am  · 
      vado retro

      oh and by the way i just received a 40,000 word draft of my special lady friend's thesis which is about "the sublime" so dig it. im not just youtube people.

      Nov 13, 06 7:16 am  · 
      Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke

      D'Hoogue's comment seems like a reference to Christopher Alexander's famous dictum that a City Is Not a Tree.

      Why isn't Aldo Rossi's The Architecture of The City brought up when discussing monuments and cities and the sublime? Have people totally forgotten about his writing?

      Nov 13, 06 8:49 am  · 

      steven, i agree- the fabric and the monument rely on each other to work. it's figure/field. colin rowe's collage city makes this very clear.

      i think nesbitt talks about the sublime in terms of the feelings an object provokes...unease, etc. don't trust me on this because i haven't read that essay in a while, but i remember this from her lectures. anthony vidler's the architectural uncanny is useful in the sublime discussion

      ...but the 'sublime' talk seems like a lure that sidetracked the discussion. this was fabric vs monument, wasn't it?

      i'd say rossi is more about memory... memory as the container of the identity of a city. not so much unease or the uncanny. shared memories sited in specific objects provides the feeling of community that makes a city. very relevant in terms of monument, but because it ties monuments back to the city, and i think also implies that you can't have a simple accumulation of monuments or else they all become fabric.

      Nov 13, 06 9:17 am  · 

      Are the future archi fight clubs open to the public (non MIT students) ?

      Nov 13, 06 10:36 am  · 

      Kwinter's question seems a bit simplistic (although not knowing the larger context may contribute to this opinion.) Incidentally, Laugier might have something to add to the fabric-tree-monument debate:

      "One must look at a town as a forest. The streets of the one are the roads of the other; both must be cut through in the same way. The essential beauty of a park consists in the great number of roads, their width and their alignment. This, however, is not sufficient: it needs a Le Notre to design the plan for it, someone who applies taste and intelligence so that there is at one and the same time order and fantasy symmetry and variety....The more variety, abundance, contrast and even disorder in this composition, the greater will be the piquant and delightful beauty of the park. One should not believe that esprit has a place only in higher things. Everything which is susceptible to beauty, everything which demands inventiveness and planning is suitable to set off the imagination, the fire, the verve of a genius. The picturesque can be found in the pattern of a parterre as much as in the composition of a painting.

      Laugier, An Essay on Architecture, p128

      Nov 13, 06 1:34 pm  · 

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