Drzeus best vwh net wotw

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Description: Posts about War of the Worlds written by architecturaldialogue

There is something rather nice to be turned toward something one knows little about and to find a door opened on some aspect of quality – which is what has recently happened when Klaustoon sent me a message as follows (referencing the ‘Howling for You’ blog post):

“If you wanna push the ‘War of the Worlds’ connection maybe you should use this image instead: http://drzeus.best.vwh.net/wotw/0197.html

Well, I wasn’t really pushing War of The Worlds, a topic I’ve pretty ignorant of, apart from the usual generalised cultural familiarity (I just don’t have time to go to such places). However, I was delighted to have reference to this thorough site, which has dozens of such book covers. (Klaustoon’s own preference appears to be the Irish one, bottom left.)

So, thanks to Klaustoon – something of a maestro and always an interesting architectural commentator – together with a humble apology for pinching his illustrative image without permission … But where did I do that? There’s something about blogging takes over and wipes memory files … Sure, I can search, but one wants to go one, not backwards … On? Where?

That’s a good question. I started these posts as a way of putting out ideas I was exploring in the book Meetings With Buildings, but I haven’t really done that (blogs have a life of their own). Meanwhile. completing the book has been somewhat neglected. I am, in other words, experiencing a blog world warring with a book world. It’s a strange condition.

Sartre argued that, if one has nothing to disclose, one should keep one’s mouth shut. I’ve always gone along with that: the implied ‘So what?’ question. And yet here I am – disclosing what? to whom? why? Is it legitimate to make disclosure to oneself whilst pretending to address the universe? is that what the game really is?

This issue hangs about, in the background. For example, if you read my more recent posts you’ll know that I was with my wife in Rome, pushing Open House Roma (I love this term ‘pushing’; it suggests an essay in itself!). One of the nice things about this four-day trip was something in between, something I haven’t mentioned: interactions with an old friend I don’t see enough of, someone who plays an important role in my life.

We’d agreed to meet in Rome. My wife and I flew in. He flew in with a ticket to ride on Europe’s trains, back from Roma, Milano, Paris, etc. the latter because he wants to look up French ancestors and perhaps still living relatives. He’s someone I ‘fence’ with. We exchange ideas and comments and criticisms, but don’t quite connect, merely going around one another. But I have enormous respect for this man.

I met him decades ago as an art-student / performance artist / hippy / squatter / later geometer / architectural photographer / CAD-man / geodesic dome builder / graphic designer / video man / and so on and so on … Our original connection (if I recall correctly; it’s so long ago) was a series of Kabbala classes. He was there for a shorter time; I was a regular attendee at the ‘school’ every Tuesday night for eight years, incongruously doing some teaching myself. Something between us, of course, stuck; it does when one goes through such things. The underlying connection was that Keith Critchlow – with whom Chall then collaborated – had taught spatial geometry in my First year at the AA, somehow in brief association with a man called Warren Kenton, a a set-designer turned uppity kabbalist on a mission. keith and Warren somehow knew one another and, in the usual incestuous manner, I found a knew acquaintance in Chall.  And Chall has continued to work on and off with Keith since around then to the present day … working with geometry, that is, when he isn’t doing other things such as making and pushing Bach flower remedies. (Recently, he worked with Critchlow on the latter’s flower geometry book .)

Frankly, I’m not into either Dr Bach’s remedies of Keith’s geometries, especially the former, which I find to have unconvincing premises very much rooted (sorry!) in the theosophical tradition (etc.) of the late nineteenth century. And, although I find the flower geometries hugely impressive and very beautiful, I don’t know what to do with it all except indulge in it – and life’s too short. As Bucky proved, when one extrapolates from all this to habitable structures, something goes badly wrong;: wrong scale, inappropriate kind of math or something … Mimicking organic form in this direct way usually (with exceptions) fails to translate into a realm of mechanisms. (There’s another engineering essay somewhere on all those drawings of H.G. Wells’ machines and whether they could ever stand up or move, e.g. the Penguin book cover.)

One of the things Chall and I argue about is that he claims to be a Platonist and I say, ‘Nonsense, read some Aristotle …’ But he means ‘Platonist’ in a sense that refers to his Critchlow connection = geometry, the so-called Platonic solids, etc. Anyway, whilst in Rome we enjoyed a few cross-chats and talks over meals – chats in which there was always the feeling that we follow independent paths and lines of argumentation that differ and cross, differ and criss-cross … Our worlds don’t exactly ‘war’, but they do skirmish and ‘meet’ only indirectly. But, fundamentally, we’re in the same territory (OK, perhaps not with Dr Bach).

Sometimes this is literal, as when we entered the Danish Academy and both felt a fresh air that the likes of Maxxi and the navy’s palazzo had failed to provide. Nevertheless, this failure to properly connect is weird, especially after all these years. Does it matter? Not really, not when the relationship is founded upon mutual trust and respect.

“Chall,” I’ll throw at him, “this neo-Platonist express train of ostensible ‘return’ to something deep, hidden and more-real-than-real is a bloody Mobius strip – the track merely returns back on itself, back to the same place … I’m more intrigued that this whole top-down tradition was possibly being usurped by a modernist spirit some five or six hundred years ago – in places such as this – and is only just getting going … Hell, it possibly got going with Aristotle! … I’m convinced it’s not ‘As Above, so below’, but also As Below, So Above … So there’s number and geometry everywhere – of course there is, but all this symbolism is a primitive magic … You saw, in the Academy: it’s the thing in itself that is important! … That was Aristotle’s criticism of Platonism – contemplation is all very well, but, meanwhile …! Anyway, on that point, how come you’re smoking again, after fifteen years? …” And he will toss something back that will stop me on the tracks of my own train. (I can’t speak for him.)

So, yes, ‘warring worlds’ … perhaps always to be finally alone, coping, writing posts sent into the ether whilst time goes by and people pass one another. However, at least the warring with my old friend is a merely a language struggle, a conceptual hit at one another, a failure to deliver some decisive blow … And yet one doesn’t want to; the ‘warring’ is the only form of interaction we know and, beyond it – as its basis – there is a lot of love.

Isn’t that weird? No? … OK, time to shut up: my cat has just disclosed that he wants some attention … and that’s real!

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