Wednesday, March 26, 2008

today i am thinking of a book i found once, in a bookstore right near the house i live now, just down the road. it was 'the lost buildings of baltimore', a detailed pictorial and historical narrative of the demolished places in one place, the significance and insignificance of them. i began to imagine the narratives of the places i was visiting, invented a story of an elevator driver who inhabited one of the lost buildings, who ran people to their floor in the non-existence shaft. where do places go when they cease to exist? and, moreover, do they ever exist except in our perception of them? i am thinking about beauty, and the way it rests in the imagination, and i am thinking of memory, and the way it is invented. today i read about architecture as a means of measuring oneself, of revisiting places in order to gauge transitions in oneself. places, it seems, can only ever carry the weight we assign to them, their narratives exist only within the existence we choose to allocate. the notion of the importance of places, then, is both lost and amplified, and suggests, perhaps, that the lost buildings of baltimore were lost all along. or no less lost once they had been demolished. i like the idea of architecture as a gauge for self, the notion of travelling backwards to your own perception of yourself as embodied through something physical. i think about the time we were playing hide and seek in my parents yard, and i found that dull coin, buried in the dirt, under the church leaves of the fern. i wonder what it would be like, for me, to go back there, if it still existed. to bundle myself into the earth, press up against the verandah, a worm on the ground. what i mean, i guess, is that the process of guaging oneself against a place suggests that that place may itself hold some neutrality, some removal from the subjectivity of experience. places have their own narratives, and are as manifest in the process of memory as we ourselves are. we are both complicit in the construction of narratives, in the imagining of buildings as the embodiment of what we have experienced there.


felicita said...

i dont know why but this embodies more or less the feeling of what i have been painting.

euzebiusz said...

just drifted on to your blog and loved this post :)

cabinet magazine do an amazing series of pieces on ruins if you're interested: