22. Art and Architecture of Evil Part II

by Culture and Anti Culture

(For context see Post 1)

Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris

Deafening visual noise, frenetic optical clubbing, vertiginous.  Actually lowers the seizure threshold in epileptics.

These places make people look like fake cut-outs in a computer assisted design print-out.  Harsh, meaningless, glaring light.  No human scaling or ornamentation, no way to be an individual soul-spirit among genuine individuals.

Hopeless vistas of sameness.  Fake fabric carpeting probably pathetically stained here and there, yet unable to age.  We all have experienced the strange, artificial odors and oddly muffled sounds of these places.  They are everywhere and everywhere the same, all dolorous and life-sucking. Imagine living in this setting.  This is metastatic architectural cancer.

Ceiling, Grand Central Station, New York

Grand Central Station, New York

Ignoring the giant flag, not a great place, but scaled for humans by the horizontal ticket booths, with a touch of real grandeur in the gallery, columns, vaulted arches and windows.  The materials and colors are more natural and more suited to the human eye. The noise and bustle of such a place is much more consistent with the purposeful movement of travel.  The ceiling has real charm in evoking the night sky.

Computer Horse

Harsh, insensitive; from another dimension–again, imagine existing in a world of such false color and form. It steals the living form and corrupts and degrades it.  Repellent, harsh and aggressive.  Unlike any real horse.

St. George and the Dragon      Raphael

The forces of gravity and levity are expressed in color, light and darkness. This density is most remarkably evoked in the obscure browns of the serpent; the levity and vitality in the white of the horse and the metallic gleam of the dark armor. The timelessly arrested motion of the three central figures, delicacy of the foliage, and purity of the sky radiate an elegant serenity to what, by convention, should be a violent image.

Nazi architecture ;  Volkshalle  (Monsterbau)

This building model for a dome seating 180,000 people is completely derivative and would have been utterly soul-crushing if actually built.  It is also faintly ridiculous and just doesn’t “get” the architectural idiom it has ripped off.

St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice

Overall, with a strict symmetry, the cathedral’s ornamentation makes it beautifully complex.  It is on a grand scale vertically, but horizontal layers, interwoven with pillars and arches, scale it for people standing in the square.  The domes have a mysterious and elegant lightness to them.

Nazi Sculpture

Utterly derivative–it owes everything to classical Greece.  It is stiff, artificial, repellent and absurd.

Ancient Greek Sculpture  Figure of Zeus

Effortlessly graceful; in dynamic equilibrium between weight and lightness, left and right, movement and repose.