21 November



Alex wrote:
Where is this 'immaterial' realm where the circle exists? I would like to make contact with it…….. It is worth noting that these 'perfect' shapes: circle (sphere) or cube or pyramid, etc. do not exist in nature. (The Earth, for instance is an oblate spheroid in other words, a sphere fattened at the equator). I am reminded here in Paul's thinking of Ptolemaic and Renaissance astronomies. They thought planets revolved in pure Pythagorean spheres (with musical accompaniment.) It took Kepler and Newton to show them they were wrong: the ellipse was the answer. Anyway, these perfect shapes do not exist other than as idealizations in peoples minds.

Steve comments:
While I agree with Alex about there really being no 'perfect' shapes in actual existence, I nonetheless can't help but believe that the real 'inspiration' for the perfect circle comes from the pupils of our very own eyes. Who knows, it might even be the physical 'perfection' of our sight perception organ that somehow makes our brains/minds think ideals exist in the first place. Kind of like the medium being the message.


Every so often, when I have about a half hour before it's time to turn off the computer, I do a web search of two architect names that don't usually have anything to do with each other, just to see what results come up. Last night I searched lequeu venturi, and one of the links was The Art Historian's Studio: a virtual allegory of the last 7 years of my intellectual life, a very satisfying cabinet of curiosities.

"The development of museums has plainly surpassed even the most optimistic hopes of the founders. Not only does the totality of the world's museums today represent a colossal accumulation of riches, but, above all, the totality of visitors without any doubt represents the most grandiose spectacle of a humanity freed from material cares and dedicated to contemplation."- Georges Bataille

"All things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of an Ariadne's thread leading thought into its own labyrinth."- Georges Bataille

"Be wise, Ariadne, you have small ears, you have my ears: let a wise word slip into them: Must one first not hate oneself, if one is to love oneself? I am your labyrinth…."- Friedrich Nietzsche

"The interior is not only the universe but also the etui of the private person.  To live means to leave traces.  In the interior these are emphasized.  An abundance of covers and protectors, liners and cases is devised, on which the traces of objects of everyday use are imprinted.  The traces of the occupant also leave their impression on the interior.  The detective story that follows these traces comes into being."- Walter Benjamin

Just over a week ago I searched hejduk piranesi, and one of the links was Anti-Vitruv & Super-Brunelleschi. It's a nice little virtual museum of architecture.

For a week now I'm reading Le Corbusier: The Architect on the Beach.

"I know of one Greek labyrinth which is a single straight line.  Along that line so many philosophers have lost themselves that a mere detective might well do so, too."- Jorge Luis Borges, Death and the Compass

"He had edified a crypt within him: an artifact, an artificial unconscious in the Self, an interior enclave, partitions, hidden passages, zigzags, occult and difficult traffic, two closed doors, an internal labyrinth endlessly echoing, a singular discourse crossing so many languages and yet somewhere inside all that noise, a deathly silence, a blackout.  He will die with or through the crypt within him."- Jacques Derrida

"He is not me but he is more than me: his stomach is the labyrinth in which he has lost himself, loses me with him, and in which I discover myself as him, in other words as a monster."- Georges Bataille

"Minos contrived to hide this specimen in a maze,
A labyrinth built by Daedalus, an artist
Famous in building, who could set in stone
Confusion and conflict, and deceive the eye
With devious aisles and passages…"- Ovid, The Metamorphoses

"More than anything else, we are curious to explore the labyrinth.  We strive to make friends with Mr. Minotaur, about whom we have been told so many horrific stories."- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Beneath English trees I meditated on that lost maze: I imagined it inviolate and perfect at the secret crest of a mountain; I imagined it erased by rice fields or beneath the water; I imagined it infinite, no longer composed of octagonal kiosks and returning paths, but of rivers and provinces and kingdoms…I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars."- Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths

"One can participate in and share the fundamentals of the Labyrinth as it manifests itself.  One can never see it in totality, nor can one express it.  One is condemned to it and cannot go outside and see the whole."- Bernard Tschumi

Hans Dieter Schall, Boulevard of the History of Architecture, 1970s.

"One abstract model of conjecturability is the labyrinth.  Like any other conjectural space it can be traversed in many ways.  Naturally you find your way out of classical labyrinths.  But at this point we should specify that there are three kinds of labyrinths.  One is the Greek type, that of Theseus.  This labyrinth does not allow anyone to lose his way: you enter it and arrive at the center, and then from the center you make your way to the exit.  That is why there is the Minotaur at the center; otherwise there would be no point, you would just be out for a harmless stroll.  The terror comes in because you do not know where you will come out and what the Minotaur will do.  But if you unravel the classical labyrinth, you will find a thread in your hands, Ariadne's thread.  The classical labyrinth is its own Ariadne's thread.

Then there is the mannerist labyrinth.  If you unravel it, you find in your hands a kind of tree, a root-like structure with many dead ends.  There is only one exit, but you can get it wrong.  You need an Ariadne's thread to keep from getting lost.  This labyrinth is the model of the trial-and-error process.

Finally, there is the network, the structure that Deleuze and Guattari call a rhizome.  The rhizome is set up so that each path connects to every other one.  It has no center, no periphery, and no exit, because it is potentially infinite.  Conjectural space is like a rhizome."- Umberto Eco

"It suffices for a short time to follow the trace, the repeated course of words, in order to perceive, in a sort of vision, the labyrinthine constitution of being."- Georges Bataille

"To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing."- Marcel Duchamp

"The language of nature is comparable to a secret password that each sentry passes to the next in his own language, but the meaning of the password is the sentry's language itself."- Walter Benjamin

"…into what labyrinth, what multiplicity of heterogeneous places, one must enter in order to track down the cryptic motivation…"- Jacques Derrida

Here's the first image online at Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture 21 November 1996.

The lobby of a non-existent museum containing exterior images of the same non-existent museum.

"The development of museums has plainly surpassed even the most optimistic hopes of the founders.  Not only does the totality of the world's museums today represent a colossal accumulation of riches, but, above all, the totality of visitors without any doubt represents the most grandiose spectacle of a humanity freed from material cares and dedicated to contemplation."- Georges Bataille


Nov 21, 12 1:04 pm

Re: Virtual and Real
2003.11.21 16:24

Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture celebrates its 7th anniversary online today.

The weather in Philadelphia today is gorgeous, and I was going to visit the closest real museum to me--Ryerss Museum and Library--to look at a pieces of the Coliseum and the Great Wall and even the full contents of a Japanese Buddhist Temple. The Ryerss Mansion is a wonderful example of a house that morphed into a museum, and the contents of the museum are all the things that the last residents of the Ryerss Mansion purchased about 100 years ago as they traveled around the world, particularly through the Orient. For a couple of years now I like to refer to the Ryerss Museum as a "Museum of Someone's [Global] Shopping." I didn't make it to Ryerss, though, because my trip to the bank, the post office (sending things to eBay shoppers in New York and Italy), and the supply store took longer than expected. I might go to Ryerss tomorrow or Sunday, however.


Spent more than an hour in a health insurer's mobile work station with about 25 other people that are having their health insurance terminated--it's mostly people that have been buying their own insurance already. My situation is actually going to get better.

Read this earlier today:
At times, too, I've had the impression that I'd manage to feel quite at home in a life of vacuity. That the relatively painless boredom would enable me to go on making the usual gestures of life. Another big mistake. Prolonged boredom is not tenable as a position: sooner or later it is transformed into feelings that are acutely more painful, of true pain; this is precisely what's happening to me.
Maybe, I tell myself, this tour of the provinces is going to alter my ideas. Doubtless in a negative sense, but it's going to alter my ideas; at least there will be a change of direction, a shake-up."

That's how part one of Houellebecq's Whatever ends. I think it's a great passage, but I found myself laughing as I typed it here. I guess because it sounds so dark, but a sad, dull dark. Does it perhaps describe archinect/forum these days? I'm laughing again.

Modeling Ichnographia Quondam is taking a lot of time, and I'm promising myself that the model will actually be used.

Remember the ideas for filling up Indenpendence Mall. It's always fun to act on ideas that occur to you while in the shower.

Nov 21, 13 9:36 pm
chatter of clouds

Except that the expressed sentiment is not vicious and vitriolic and archinect is increasingly a medium for excercising the wantonnessof lashing at any difference of opinion and equating any criticism with hatred to be met with hatred.

Nov 21, 13 9:46 pm

Yes, there's no positive stimulation in that kind of situation.

A blanket of insecurity and impotence prevails?

A few months ago, a friend and I were talking about "not being on Facebook." A lot of his relatives were telling him he should be on Facebook. I told him if anyone asked me why I wasn't on Facebook, I'd say, "I don't particularly want to be 'liked'." Again laughter.

I find provocation far more provocative.

Nov 22, 13 8:12 am



Is there a good way to start looking at your site? I'm not sure where one would even start...

Nov 22, 13 9:13 am

SneakyPete, there are no specific instructions as to a good way to start looking at the site. I suggest you pick a link as see where it takes you.

Nov 22, 13 12:13 pm

Quondam's first visit occurred 20 years ago today. I have no idea who that visitor was, except I know it wasn't me. Similarly, I can't identify any of Quondam's visitors these days, that is, not outside of general stats.

Notice there's a spike in visits/data-transfer on 17 November. This is probably due to there having been a couple of links to Quondam at socks-studio that day. Perhaps the large amount data-transfer to Italy during November so far confirms the reason for the 17 November spike.

I look at stats only a few times a year. Stats really don't play any part in Quondam's reason for being. Quondam is a personal project, an exercise in virtual architecture. Will Quondam be around for another five or ten years? Maybe, or maybe not.

Nov 21, 16 9:47 am

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