Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow Rock

Hey Guys,

This is my first draft for my application essay. Thanks casey for posting that little quote of mine. I read it over and copied it to word and wrote the rest of this. Its a little long for our ADD culture but bear with me, I could really use some feedback. here goes...

What myriad forms and beauties, what precious creations our Sisyphean battle against loneliness has birthed. That mercurial enemy that we find in that same room we lock ourselves into seeking refuge. We find the reality of a life led alone nauseating, vapid: the unwitnessed is no better than the untrue. What good is my triumph without the accolades of those who care? And so we, one, run to be two and begin fighting loneliness now with justification because the other has not met, not seen, not appreciated, not heard, not cared, not freed us from what we are and what we will always be, alone.

I did not come to enjoy academics until I began to find it afforded a way to articulate these inexorable struggles from which I could find no escape. Somehow these pithy unflinching accounts of our condition did not seem dreary or bleak. As I read of Sisyphus, “cheek tight against the stone, shoulder bracing the clay covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands” (camus) I felt profoundly met. I could as well have been standing with him as he finally heaved the rock onto the pinnacle and shared a deep breath as he and I watched the boulder careen down to the valley below.

Even the companionship I enjoyed in the myth of Sisyphus and the rest of the existentialists timed out. As Sisyphus run’s down the hill to restart his own futile quest I was left on the mountain side, yet again alone, to contemplate my own. Aware that I shared Sisyphus’ fate, aware of the indubitable truth of ephemeral, keenly of my limited time, the question began at a whisper but soon began its crescendo. “So what? now what? What now? NOW WHAT? NOW WHAT?”

What could I do? There was a fork. Two answers. Yes or no: to celebrate the swings and fallows of this outrageous pendulum or, like Hamlet, be paralyzed by them. My truth was already evident in tremendous excitement I felt with Sisyphus sharing his moment where his work became clear; fully activated for his task at hand. The pursuit of the heights is not only enough to fill a man’s heart but articulates the undulating life force itself.

Sisyphus was not done instructing. His ups and downs gave voice to the fecund trembling tension of opposites, the ups and downs, the inhales and exhales, the electrified nodes, the explosive chemistry of opposites. So the question became, how do I lay out my life as a stage to welcome the fusion of opposites. How do I activate myself fully and let every facet of my composition be activated in this celebration. How do I let my artistic inclinations war with my need for mathematical precision? How do I let my delight in organization be enriched with observation? How do honor my needs for physical interaction with introspection. How do I unite philosophy and action?

The answer began to coalesce as I began to realize that the most satisfying articulation of these interweaving forces was formal. What better way to celebrate the this trembling life force of the dynamic union of opposites than to create the space for them to occur? I found my thoughts leading to a wealth of spaces, where tension is given permission to activate expansion, for the outside to liberate the in and in to define the out, where old meet young. I drifted to the creation of spaces that find their definition in the in between, between exposure and security, between compressive and tensile members, between heaven and earth.

What a profound privilege it seemed to engage in the celebration of the struggles that make life rich from a vocation that has bears the potential to consume every last inch of the myriad me_s. Architecture: a profession that promised liberty from the myopia of specialization. A last remaining choice for the contemporary renaissance man.

And as I reflect, the trajectory that led me to architecture could not be more timely for architecture will soon be asked to seriously grapple with its own sobering set of limitations. Just as philosophers, a century ago, grappled with the possibility that this life is it, so to will architecture soon be asked to consider the possibility that the resources we have left are it. Liberating as I found the pithy unflattering synapses of life and toil, so to do I see a great possibility of liberation in the realization that efficiency has become necessity. As the appreciation of our own ticking clock infuses every action with an added weight so too do limited resources exponentially multiply the responsibility of every material application.

The principles, the needs, the questions, and the means are all asked to be distilled to their essence. Again, I find the the process of distillation comforting. The elements I can understand, what do we have? We have the sun’s rays, we have earth, we have the chill of the depthless sky, we have the need to be protected and the need for companionship, to witness others grapple with their rocks, search for their heights, watch their rocks plunge. Additionally, we have our labor, our resources, and a limited amount of both. So we are demanded to act with a judicious application of both. These are should not be a source of dismay. The acknowledgement of these limitations are what will give life to the next epoch of architecture. They hold the promise of liberating us from the feckless digital baroque.


damir said...

First off, don’t use the words ‘digital baroque’. I’ll try and speak for the essay as a whole and then address some of the details, to which I have few comments. The beginning of the essay, the issue of witnessing, the environment of being witnessed, is in the between space your talking about. It’s the interstitial space of a window, the depth of a sill, the perceptional periphery of depth in a wall’s cut out. That is the flattening of the world beyond a picture frame window. There is more in this non-space then there is in all of the empty rooms around it. This non-space is not infinite but limited. The lack of “materials” is not silence, nor nothing, it is just a lack there of, until we make it meaningful, until its sequentially witnessed, until there is that observation: the awareness of ‘fusion’ of opposites makes the form of a complete sentence or a thought.
I’m pressed for time right now ill be back at this I promise. All this to say that I love the beginning and the theme, I just think lack of resources in not a new issue, a crisis of finite material is not the only limit. The green movement is a joke. Tie the loneliness of space with your second issue and I think you’ll have the fusion your looking for.

damir said...

There is something else I want to address in terms of witness and being witnessed. It is this semi-comfort of not being alienated with in a proximity to another. The further we are exposed a worldview outside the rheum of our own environment (the people we know, or see apart for the crowd) the more we are constructing the sea around our boat. The remedy might not be increase exposure to masses or crowds but rather to look longer at shared emotion. Extend the moment of close encounter. The hallway greeting I just heard in class, two rough maintenance workers greeting each other in a hallway as, “What up Obama?” and “How you doin Obama?” Nostalgia is the reassurance of reciprocity in witnessing.
We are not alone in our thoughts, that our outlet is not the TV, DVD, radio, IPod or Internet, which all together and apart forward a promotion of alienation. Bombarded with corporate media, it’s a wonder why there is not more independent media outlets. I mean aren’t people longing to be reassured that they are not crazy in believing that our popular worldview is sick. I’m not saying that there is not enough youtube videos or blogs, im asking what do we do next? I hope we don’t promote our current (future) constructed condition (lack of material or not) an environment in which the promote of loneliness is abundant. Loneliness is not a lack of being witnessed because we don’t live on stages for all, some, few to see. The solution is not to be in reality TV no mater how close to real it gets. The goal is to promote emotional tension between a two-way condition of witness and witnessing.