Crisis of the Object: The Architecture of Theatricality by Gevork Hartoonian

By Gevork Hartoonian

Looking again over the 20 th century, Hartoonian discusses the paintings of 3 significant architects: Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry and Bernard Tschumi, in connection with their theoretical positions and historicizes present architecture within the context of the continuing secularization of the myths surrounding the traditions of 19th century structure mostly, and, particularly, Gottfried Semper's discourse at the tectonic.

Providing a priceless contribution to the present debates surrounding architectural background and theory, this passionately written book makes worthwhile studying for any architect.

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Crisis of the Object: The Architecture of Theatricality

On reflection over the 20 th century, Hartoonian discusses the paintings of 3 significant architects: Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry and Bernard Tschumi, in connection with their theoretical positions and historicizes present architecture within the context of the continued secularization of the myths surrounding the traditions of 19th century structure ordinarily, and, particularly, Gottfried Semper's discourse at the tectonic.

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32 This association can be articulated differently from Benjamin’s association of film with architecture. 34 There is no doubt that film and carpentry are two unrelated professions; however, one might speculate that filming and carpentry are engaged with raw materials, and the fragmented processes involved in the preparation of the various frames and dramatizations of these cuts through montage and visual effects recollect some archaic moments of making that are essential to joinery. A carpenter, too, makes each part of an object object’s artistic embellishment.

By impermeability, on the other hand, he means “. . distraction, digression, transgressive, baroque. 5 Some of his suggested techniques for absorption were utilized by the architecture and literature of the nineteenth century. We are reminded of the Romantic quest to integrate architecture into a picturesque environment. For impermeability we should look instead for the techniques such as shock, transgression and defamiliarization that were employed by dadaists and surrealists. Providing examples from various art forms, Bernstein makes the case that, by combining techniques of absorption and impermeability, a poem or any other work of art can reach the level of theatricality; a state of artistic deliverance by which the reader or the spectator is attracted to the work even when an artist uses non-absorptive techniques.

Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion, for example, is erected on a regular steel frame structure. The final form, however, appears to be made of horizontal and vertical planes sustaining the tectonic dialogue between the column and the wall. Furthermore, the implied duality in the tectonic alludes to the historical fact that by the nineteenth century, techne could not continue its classical poetics. Both the subjective and objective transformations of the time necessitated an architecture whose complexities are worth examining through the idea of wish-images.

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