11. Some Results of Aesthetic Observation II
by Culture and Anti Culture
(For context begin with Post 1)
‘Day’ – Michelangelo from the Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, (unfortunately, a photograph mediocre as to detail)
The posturing of the upper limbs and torso rotated inward, the left leg rotated outward suggests an intensive double vortex with a region of calm centered at the navel. This coiling suggests tremendous power – tensioned, concentrated and constrained, like the coiled rope of a catapult.
The head, in absolute contrast, is shifted to the right in anti-realistic position in the background peering over the cloud-mass of the right shoulder; the visage indistinct and unearthly, and whose suggested force is radiant, universal, and all-relating.
To the extent it is worthwhile to even think of this figure symbolically, this is the sun in “his” glory emanating his forces towards the dense realm of earth. The radiant cosmic power is embodied and localized in the mighty torsional forces of the cloud-body.
“Pestilence stricken multitudes.”
Commercial Strip Jefferson City, Missouri
Despite the trees and the state-house basilica on the horizon, this is a blast of unrelenting optical noise, anti-architecture’s war of all against all. It somehow even makes the sky seem banal.
The eye of the soul, seeking balance and harmony, will after a time rivet itself on the jarring red-white of the Jasmine Garden, itself a thorn, utterly foreign to life, aloof, hostile.
This landscape has stimulated and abetted many suicides.
Keeping in mind the commercial strip, look at these next three images.
Oppede le Vieux – Provence , France
These places are made of native materials, adapted to concrete natural and human circumstances instead of abstract money power, impersonal industrial infrastructure and automotive anti-culture.
The energy for their creation arose from fire, water, food and above all the work of people and animals. The high location of Orvieto and Oppede were dictated by the risk of raids by Norsemen and Saracens after the collapse of Roman imperial power.
Phortse was opportunely sited on a slanted plateau in the Himalayas and terraced for subsistence agriculture. These buildings not only look like they belong in their natural setting, they grow out of it instead of tearing into and displacing it. (Look carefully again at the commercial strip. It is arbitrary, non-local, generic. Anywhere. Everywhere. Nowhere.)
Phortse is the poorest of the three sites by far. The region is severely deforested as a consequence of overpopulation – itself a result of trekking and climbing tourism. Yet, with its crude rectangular stone and plaster hutments and terraced fields, it is at home in its mighty setting. Its colorless austerity is in keeping with the harsh terrain.
“Contemporary humanity is in the midst of many crises. At the heart of them all is the crisis in the inner life of the human being. We are writing for the consciously distressed.”