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a quarterly of art and culture Issue 20 ruIns us $10 canada $15 uK 7

inside this issue

the Moldy season Winter 2005 / 2006

Walead Beshty Denise Bratton Peter Brimblecombe John M. Clarke Brian Dillon Nina Dubin Ernst Falzeder Steve Featherstone Joshua Foer Lyn Hejinian Martin Herbert Colin Jones Paul Laity Ryo Manabe Joseph Masco Jeremy Millar Ken Millett Sina Najafi Celeste Olalquiaga Ester Partegs George Pendle Richard Reames Mark Sanderson Eric Schwab Susan Silton Atsushi Takatsuka Allen S. Weiss Margaret Wertheim

55 Washington St, # 327 Brooklyn NY 11201 USA tel + 1 718 222 8434 fax + 1 718 222 3700 email info@cabinetmagazine.org www.cabinetmagazine.org Winter 2005/2006, issue 20
Editor-in-chief Sina Najafi Senior editor Jeffrey Kastner Editors Jennifer Liese, Christopher Turner UK editor and Ruins section editor Brian Dillon Associate editor Sasha Archibald Art director Brian McMullen Senior assistant editor Ryo Manabe Graphic designer Leah Beeferman Assistant editors Courtney Stephens, Chaya Thanhauser Editors-at-large Saul Anton, Naomi Ben-Shahar, Mats Bigert, Brian Conley, Christoph Cox, Jesse Lerner, Frances Richard, Daniel Rosenberg, David Serlin, Debra Singer, Margaret Sundell, Allen S. Weiss, Eyal Weizman, Margaret Wertheim, Gregory Williams, Jay Worthington Website directors Liza Ezbiansky, Luke Murphy, Kristofer Widholm Contributing editors Joe Amrhein, Molly Bleiden, Eric Bunge, Pip Day, Charles Green, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, Dejan Krsic, Roxana Marcoci, Phillip Scher, Lytle Shaw, Cecilia Sjholm, Sven-Olov Wallenstein Editorial assistants Ned Kihn, Michelle Legro Proofreader Katy Ansite Cabinet National Librarian Matthew Passmore Prepress Zvi Lanz @ Digital Ink Founding editors Brian Conley & Sina Najafi

Cabinet is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) magazine published by Immaterial Incorporated. Contributions to Cabinet are fully tax-deductible. Our survival is dependent on such contributions; please consider supporting us at whatever level you can. Donations of $25 or more will be acknowledged in the next possible issue. Donations above $100 will be acknowledged for four issues. Checks should be made out to Cabinet. Please mark the envelope, This will stave off the inevitable. Cabinet wishes to thank the following visionary foundations and individuals for their support of our activities during 2006. Additionally, we will forever be indebted to the extraordinary contribution of the Flora Family Foundation from 1999 to 2004; without their generous support, this publication would not exist. Thanks also to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their two-year grant in 2003-2004. We would also like to acknowledge David Walentas/Two Trees for their generous donation of an office in DUMBO, Brooklyn. $100,000 The Annenberg Foundation $15,000 The Greenwall Foundation The National Endowment for the Arts $10,000 $14,999 The New York State Council on the Arts Stina & Herant Katchadourian The Peter Norton Family Foundation $5,000 $9,999 Helen & Peter Bing The Frankel Foundation $3,000 or under The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Steven Rand $2,500 The Fifth Floor Foundation $2,000 or under Nick Debs Terry Winters $1,000 or under The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Tim Patridge Walter Sculley Debra Singer $500 or under The Dowd/Freundlich Calvert Giving Fund; Julia Meltzer; Nancy Spero (in memory of Leon Golub); Owen Walton $250 or under Fred Clarke; Monroe Denton; Sarah Feinstein; Friends of Jesse Kaufman $100 or under Elizabeth Baum; Lara Deam; Zachary, Serene, and Jason Olin

Printed in Belgium by the giants at Die Keure Cabinet (USPS # 020-348, ISSN 1531-1430) is a quarterly magazine published by Immaterial Incorporated, 181 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Periodicals Postage paid at Brooklyn, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send address changes to Cabinet, 181 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Individual subscriptions 1 year (4 issues): US $28, Canada $34, Western Europe $36, Other $50 2 years (8 issues): US $52, Canada $64, Western Europe $68, Other $95 Subscriptions address: 181 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Please either send a check in US dollars made out to Cabinet, or mail, fax, or email us your Visa/MC/AmEx/Discover information. Subscriptions also available online at www.cabinetmagazine.org or through Paypal (paypal@cabinetmagazine.org). For back issues, see the last page of this issue. Institutional subscriptions Institutions can subscribe through EBSCO or Swets, or through our website. Advertising Email advertising@cabinetmagazine.org or call + 1 718 222 8434. Distribution Email circulation@cabinetmagazine.org or call + 1 718 222 8434. Cabinet is available in the US and Canada through Indy Press Newsstand Services. Big Top distributes via Ingram, IPD, Tower, Armadillo News, Small Changes, Last Gasp, Emma Marian, Cowley, Kent News, Media Solutions, The News Group, Newsways, Primary Sources, Total Circulation, Ubiquity, Newbury Comics, Disticor, and Don Olson Distribution. If you'd like to use one of these distributors, call + 1 415 445 0230 ext 114, fax + 1 415 445 0237, or email maire@indypress.org. Cabinet is available in Europe and elsewhere through Central Books, London. Email: orders@centralbooks.com Cabinet is available worldwide as a book (with ISBN) through D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishers. Tel: + 1 212 627 1999, Email: dap@dapinc.com Submissions See www.cabinetmagazine.org or email submissions@cabinetmagazine.org. Contents 2005 Immaterial Incorporated and the authors and artists. All rights in the magazine reserved by Immaterial Incorporated, and rights in the works contained herein reserved by their owners. Fair users are of course free to do their thing. The views published here are not necessarily those of the writers and artists, let alone the spent editors of Cabinet.

Errata: In issue 19, The Origin of the Idea of Chance in Children was wrongly attributed to Jean Piaget alone. The book was in fact co-written with Barbel Inhelder. In the same issue, we regret that Nicholas Hermans first name was spelled without its h, especially in light of Daniel Heller-Roazens article in issue 17 outlining hs long struggle for recognition as a bona fide letter in the English language. Cover: Ester Partegs, untitled, 2005. Page 4: A cell at the Convent of Santa Clara at Santa Trinit dei Monti, Rome. Painted in the 1760s by the French artist Charles-Louis Clrisseau, the trompe-loeil interior represents a ruined temple. The top photograph from ca. 1980 shows Clrriseaus original boarded-up panel replaced with a functional door. The bottom photo, ca. 2000, shows the same wall after a recent restoration in which the modern door was again replaced by a boarded-up panel. The rooms furnituredesk, table, and chairs that Clrisseau designed to resemble crumbling fragmentshas been lost. Christopher Woodward, in his book In Ruins, writes: For a very long time this room was known only by the design drawings and it was assumed to have disappeared, but in the 1960s it was discovered intact. ... The room was made for Father LeSueur, a monk who was also a mathematician of distinction. One trompeloeil book is lettered NEWTON on its spine. This was his bedroom and study and we can only speculate as to why he chose to live in ruins; was it, I wonder, a reminder that his scientific studies were only a particle of dust in Gods scheme?




The cabinet of Baron de la Mosson


On bearded fruit juice drinkers, nudists, and sandal-wearers




A one-way ticket to the Brookwood Cemetery

COLORS / CYAN lyn heJinian


The roots of arborsculpture



Kind of blue

A Freudian family tree for your wall


Antonin Artauds gastronomical obsessions


Untangling the mathematical complexities of knot theory


.50-CALIBER steve FeatherstOne

Pigs, heroes, and the American armys biggest machine gun



Training to be a Kamikaze pilot


fRAgmENTS fROm A HISTORY Of RUIN brian dillOn


Picking through the wreckage


THE RUINED mAN geOrge Pendle

The melancholic folly of William Beckford




Sneezing in the library



Thodore Vacquer, Baron Haussmanns doppelganger


STUmPED Walead beshty & eriC sChWab

What remains of the Thousand-Year Reich?



The Fascists go on holiday



Engineering ruins in Cold War America




Speculating in the market for ruins


APPETITE fOR DESTRUCTION gOrdOn Matta-Clark & J. Mark lOizeaux


The art of demolition

ROmE, BROkEN CITY denise brattOn

Patching up the Eternal City in the Renaissance




The toxic cold of Norilisk


The fall of a DIY empire


Walead Beshty is an artist and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His work has recently been on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, White Columns, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. His writing has appeared in Aperture, Afterall, Artforum, ArtReview, Site, Trouble, and Texte zur Kunst. He currently teaches in the art departments of CalArts and UCLA, and is represented by Wallspace in New York and China Art Objects Galleries in Los Angeles. Denise Bratton is an art and architectural historian and editor based in Los Angeles. She consults on programs and publications for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, is a co-editor and one of the protagonists of Log: Observations on Architecture and the Contemporary City, a member of the editorial board of Architectural Design/AD Magazine in London, and also collaborates with the Border Institute in San Diego. Peter Brimblecombe is professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of East Anglia and senior editor of Atmospheric Environment. He is the author of many books, including The Big Smoke (Methuen, 1987). John M. Clarke has been exploring Brookwood Cemetery since 1976 and conducting guided walks around the cemetery since 1990. He is the author of three books on the Brookwood Cemetery and Necropolis Railroad, including the recent Londons Necropolis: A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery (Sutton Publishing, 2004), and is librarian of the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Brian Dillon is UK editor for Cabinet and the editor of the Ruins section of this issue. He is the author of In the Dark Room: A Journey in Memory (Penguin, 2005) and writes regularly on art, books and culture for Frieze, Modern Painters, The Financial Times, and The New Statesman. He lives in Canterbury. Nina Dubin is completing a dissertation on Hubert Robert in the Department of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Ernst Falzeder is a psychologist, psychotherapist, historian, translator, skiing instructor, and pianist, presently based in a small village in the Austrian Alps. He is the author of more than 100 publications on the history, theory, and technique of psychoanalysis. He recently edited The Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham (Karnac, 2002). Steve Featherstone is a writer and photographer from upstate New York. His work has appeared in Harpers, Granta, and elsewhere. Joshua Foer is a freelance science writer and contributor to Slate, Discover, and The Nation. He lives in Washington, DC. Lyn Hejinians most recent books of poetry are My Life in the Nineties (Shark, 2002) and The Fatalist (Omnidawn, 2003). Other projects include Q Trn with music by John Zorn (available on New Traditions in East Asian Bar Bands, Tzadik); two mixed media books created with the painter Emilie Clark, The Traveler and the Hill and the Hill (Granary Books, 1998) and The Lake (Granary Books, 2004); and the award-winning experimental documentary film Letters Not About Love, directed by Jacki Ochs. She teaches in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Martin Herbert is a writer based in Kent, England. His critical writing has appeared in magazines including Artforum, Frieze, and Art Monthly. Colin Jones is Professor of History at Warwick University. He is the author of The Great Nation: France From Louis XV to Napoleon (Penguin, 2002) and (with Laurence Brockliss) The Medical World of Early Modern France (Oxford University Press, 1997). His latest book, Paris: Biography of a City, was published in England by Allen Lane in 2004 and in the US by Viking in 2005. Paul Laity is an editor at the London Review of Books. He edited the Left Book Club Anthology (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001). Ryo Manabe is senior assistant editor of Cabinet. Joseph Masco teaches anthropology at the University of Chicago, where he writes about technology, politics, aesthetics, and US national security culture. Jeremy Millar lives in Whitstable, England. He is the author, with Tacita Dean, of Place (Thames and Hudson, 2005) and is currently working on a series of works, Zugzwang, based upon Marcel Duchamps visits to Kent in 1913 and 1933. Ken Millett is a mathematician living in Santa Barbara, CA and Grambois, France. A professor at the University of California, his publications include more than 60 books, pamphlets, and articles spanning mathematics education and outreach to computational physics, molecular biology, and the theory and applications of knots. Two of his papers appeared in Physical and Numerical Models in Knot Theory: Including Applications to the Life Sciences (World Scientific Publishing Company, 2005), which gives a contemporary perspective of applications of knots in the sciences. Sina Najafi is editor-in-chief of Cabinet. Celeste Olalquiaga is the author of Megalopolis: Contemporary Cultural Sensibilities (University of Minnesota Press, 1992) and The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience (Pantheon, 1998). She is currently writing a book on petrification. See <www.celesteolalquiaga.com> for more information. Ester Partegs is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. As a recent recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, she spent the summer of 2005 traveling in China and documenting the countrys accelerated rate of change. George Pendle has written for The Times (London), The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, Frieze, and Bidoun. His first book, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons was published by Harcourt in February 2005. He is currently working on The Remarkable Millard Fillmore, an unusual biography of the thirteenth president of the United States of America, to be published in 2006. Richard Reames is an itinerant sculptor and the author of two books on the subject of arborsculpture, How to Grow a Chair and ArborsculptureSolutions for a Small Planet, self-published in 1995 and 2005, respectively. Reames recently coordinated a display of the worlds arborsculpture at the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, and his own tree work has appeared in numerous publications, including Starr Ockengas Eden on their Mind and Paul Coppers Living Sculpture. For more information or to purchase his books visit <www. arborsmith.com>. Mark Sanderson is an architectural photographer and a senior lecturer in Visual Theory at University College for the Creative Arts at Maidstone. His current research is on Italian holiday resorts for children during the Fascist era and his architectural photography has been published in numerous European architecture and interior design magazines. Eric Schwab has taught and written extensively about Berlins history and culture. He was the author, with Walead Beshty, of Willkommen in Irak! (Cabinet no. 15). He currently lives in Chicago and studies law. Susan Silton lives in Los Angeles. Her conceptually-based practice is supported by the use of diverse media, including photographic-based processes, video, installation, and offset lithography. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Feigen Contemporary, New York; SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; UCLA/ Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Allianz Zeigniederlassung, Berlin. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from numerous organizations, including the MacDowell Colony, Banff Centre for the Arts, the Durfee Foundation, and Clockshop Foundation. Atsushi Takatsuka is the author of Yokaren (Hara Publishing House, 1972) and the editor of 13, a newsletter about the experiences of Japanese pilots who trained for kamikaze missions. Allen S. Weiss recently co-edited a special issue of Critique on gastronomy, and is completing Autobiographie dans un chou farci [Autobiography in a Stuffed Cabbage], from which the present article is excerpted. Margaret Wertheim is director of the Los Angeles-based Institute For Figuring, an organization devoted to enhancing the public understanding of figures and figuring techniques <www.theiff.org>. Also a science writer, she pens the Quark Soup column for the LA Weekly, and is currently working on a book about the role of imagination in theoretical physics.


Object Lesson, a new column by Celeste Olalquiaga, reads culture against the grain to identify striking illustrations of a historical process or principle. / Leftovers examines the cultural significance of detritus. / Colors is a column in which a guest writer responds to a specific color assigned by the editors of Cabinet. / Ingestion explores the relationship between cuisine, aesthetics, and philosophy.

ObjeCt LeSSON / traNSitiONaL ObjeCt

Celeste Olalquiaga

It is a modern convention to see culture as something alive and changing, yet by the time a trend is actually perceived it has often been dead for quite a while, the myriad artifacts it leaves behind acting as so many witnesses in, and for, its wake. The European curiosity cabinets of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are among the best testimonials to these transitional moments of which culture is almost entirely made. Caught between two modes of thinking and living one traditional and theologically-based; the other modern and materially-orientedas well as registering a deeply changing relation to nature, the history of these monuments to human inquisitiveness spans almost two centuries of transformation, a period considered illuminating for its rational, systematic attempt at understanding how the world works. Curiosity cabinets were doubly residual: largely populated by the most morte of all natures (dried, stuffed, and bottled animals, plus all sorts of organic leftovers), they were also the poor offspring of the fabulous Wunderkammern, or wonder chambers, of the Renaissance, those immense collections of rare objects, where the natural and the artificialproducts of divine and human craft, respectivelylived side-by-side as objects of amazement. Unlike the Wunderkammern, where the elements of what we now call natural history were mainly objects of puzzlement and awenot to speak of dcorthe curiosity cabinets of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries mark the onset of a desire to grasp and control the mystery which made of nature such an enthralling realm. Once Wunderkammern began to lose their allure in the face of, among other things, a colonial expansion that made their treasures far more familiar and available than befits a bona fide object of wonder, the curiosity cabinet became the privileged form of exhibiting such goods. This shift triggered a corresponding change in modes of display: moving out of the royal palacesand coffersthat had made the fantastic scenarios of the Wunderkammern possible, naturalia began to be separated from artificialia (coins, instruments, and artworks such as paintings, sculptures, etc.), and organized by kind (shells, fossils, insects, etc.), enabling the typologies and classifications that established the basis for scientific thought. The enormous, unprecedented accumulations of both naturalia and artificialia contained in the Wunderkammern were then relocated from palaces and churches into the less glamorous, if equally prestigious, chteaux and mansions of the nobility. Further reduced and scattered, they continued this journey into places as seemingly disparate as the bourgeois salons of the nineteenth century and their institutional peers, that is to say, museums, of which the Wunderkammern and curiosity cabinets are the legitimate precursors. Quite literally, then, these collections went from riches to rags. The change in spatial disposition that characterized the earlier part of this displacement was the first manifestation

of the shift from the collections performative character into a more analytical mode of presentation. As they became the subject of proto-scientific inquiry, the collections of organic remains, which had hung theatrically from ceilings and walls, producing what had been considered a macrocosmic effect, began to be methodically arranged and stored on shelves and in drawers. In so doing, they sacrificed the immediacy of exhibition for the layered complexities of inquiry, a mode that suspects things of concealing essential truths and even representing something other than their simple selves. Natural history was no longer a matter of surface and exteriority, and therefore of mere aesthetic arrangement and disposition, but rather one of depth and interiority in the empirical sense. Admirative joy gave way to autopsic glee. This particular transition from wonder to knowledge is recorded in a curiosity cabinet whose singularity is surpassed only by its beauty. Hidden away in the endless folds of Pariss Jardin des Plantes, the Cabinet Bonnier de la Mosson stands as a unique manifestation of the intersection between aesthetics and science. Dating back to 1735, this luxurious cabinet, amassed and exhibited thanks to a family fortune based on the procurement of regional taxes, has the rare quality of combining the atmospheric mise-en-scne of the preceding Wunderkammern with the organizational intent of the later cabinets, producing an original blend of system and fantasy. Considered by many the richest and most imaginative French cabinet of the early eighteenth century, this curiosity cabinet was housed in the htel particulier, as the city residences of aristocrats and royalty were known, of Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson (17021744), located in the now extinct rue des Dominiques. A young and rich heir as eccentric as he was talented, le Baron de la Mosson belonged to that privileged class that can afford to indulge in the pleasures of beauty and freedom without accountability, at least during their lifetime (what happens afterwards being quite a different story). Scandalous and nonchalant, this dandyesque collector did as he pleased both privately and publicly, setting up his most famous mistress, the opera singer La Petitpas, in his luxurious Htel du Lude. Having changed hands a few times before housing part of the Bonnier patrimony (the rest was in the Chteau de la Mosson, near Montpellier), this htel had on its first floor a row of seven connected rooms overlooking an expansive garden, an arrangement that enabled the Baron to set his cabinet like a thematic gallery. Each of the three largest rooms was dedicated to a different component of the cabinet; the Library, which contained all the musts of a collector worthy of the name; the Cabinet of Mechanics and Physics, the earliest and, for some, the most outstanding because of its scientific instruments; and the Second Cabinet of Natural History, boasting a magnificent array of preserved animals. It is this last secopposite: Bonnier de la Mossons Second Cabinet of Natural History as it

stands today. Courtesy Bibliothque centrale du Musum national dHistoire naturelle, Paris.

tion, and specifically its furniture, that the naturalist Buffon (author of the voluminous Histoire Naturelle, considered the first modern encyclopedic compendium) purchased for the equivalent of $45,000 at the sale of the Cabinet Bonnier in 1745, with the purpose of integrating it into what was then known as the Cabinet du Roi and after the French Revolution became the Musum national dHistoire naturelle. The remaining, smaller four rooms were dedicated to the Cabinet of Chemistry or Laboratory; the Cabinet of Pharmaceutics or Apothecary; the Cabinet of Tools; and the First Cabinet of Natural History (which Bonnier consolidated with the droguerie in 1740), containing hundreds of fish, reptiles, plants, and even human fetuses, in jars. Finally, discreetly exhibited in a small corridor off this latter room were several anatomical curiosities, such as a black mans skulldried skin and allas well as models of male and female reproductive organs in colored wax. In itself, the great variety of the cabinet constituted an event: conceived as a proto-scientific endeavor, Bonnier started by collecting mechanical and laboratory instruments, to which naturalia, all sorts of physical and chemical oddities including virginal milk and red gold powder, and even automatons were added, making of his cabinet the equivalent of several in one. Yet while the collections quantitative richness enabled each particular cabinet to occupy the wall of an entire room, what was most impressive was its quality, the wealthy amateur, as Bonnier was known, having even traveled to Holland twice to acquire items directly, instead of through his favorite Pont Neuf merchant, Edme-Franois Gersaint (16941750). This famous art dealer, the first to conduct a natural history sale in Paris in 1736, was charged with the inventory and auction of the collection after Bonniers premature death, thus being placed in the peculiar position of helping to assemble and then dismantle the collection in less than ten years. Beyond the collection, what stood out the most was the furniture in which it was exhibitedthe cabinets were made of a precious oak, and some of the display cases lacquered and adorned with organic motifs. This dcor reached a baroque apotheosis in the Second Cabinet, whose glass doors were surrounded by elaborate fauna and flora carvings, as well as items drawn from the collection itself, such as animal horns and heads (daintily known in French as massacres), which were affixed, along with corals and shells, to the armoires. The delirious complexity of this seductive sight not only matched but even accentuated that of the fascinating objects contained within. It is the unique mise-en-scne of the Second Cabinet of Natural Historys wooden skeleton, so to speak, which constitutes the major interest of the Cabinet Bonnier today. By taking the collections off the walls and ceilings and enclosing them instead within the confines of shelves and drawers, cabinets in general acted as mediators between objects and spectators, adding a layer of concealment and distance to what had until then been presented as an integral part of the viewers universe, not something that required differentiation. Furthermore, this kind of arrangement and composition

represented a fundamental shift from the Wunderkammerns three-dimensional environment to a two-dimensional plane: whereas in the former, visitors entered a room where they were literally surrounded by wonders that made their heads turn in every which way, in the latter they stood facing the cabinets, their frontality signaling that being integral to the universe had become second to looking at it. Yet, by reproducing the antics of macrocosmic desire in an alignment that responds more to the notion of linear continuity than to that of circular containment (thus sitting on the threshold of modernity), the Cabinet Bonnier manages to transfer this theatrical atmosphere to a new visual register in which, rather than simultaneously perceived, display is read like the pages of an open book. This impression is enhanced by the Cabinets disposition as a horizontal C, with its three central armoires facing the windows, and a lateral armoire on each side. Consequently, while the Cabinet Bonnier as a whole is usually lauded 10

for its proto-encyclopedic virtues (the Cabinet predates Diderots Encyclopdie, compiled between 1751 and 1780, but is clearly of the same spirit, given its thematic specialization and range), what strikes a contemporary viewer most about the Second Cabinet of Natural History is its capacity to thread multiple scenarios in an atmospheric continuum, weaving through the different armoires and shelves in such a way that the gaze does not stop at any one element, but rather seeks to take in the wholeshelf by shelf, item by itemwith the same voracity with which we devour the phrases of an enthralling text. Here, the eye acts like a camera traveling over the treasurescape offered by the cabinet, a sort of visual caress
above: Detail from door overhead by Jacques de Lajoe. A painter of fantastic architectures, Lajoe made four such overheads for the Cabinet Bonnier in 1734, this one being above the right-hand door of the room housing the Second Cabinet of Natural History.

that elicits the ambiguous joy of touching the cabinet and its objects, yet at a distance. For unlike the preceding Wunderkammern, where the elements of natural history remained within tactile grasp, the moment the collections format is reduced and stacked, the peculiar concealment of bi-dimensionality is substituted for panoramic display. Depth, rather than being conveyed by traditional perspective, is implied by the symmetry of arrangements whose apparent simplicity is in fact redefining the relationship between the internal and the external. This particular mode of display unwittingly lays the ground for the fully-developed scientific vision that, abandoning all interest in surfaces, will study natural history from the outside in. At the very same time, cabinets began to incorporate an element that was absent in the original Wunderkammern, and which enhances the aura of organic remains while simultaneously keeping them farther out of reach than ever. This element is glass, and perhaps few cabinets exhibit it so magnificently and self-consciously as the Second Cabinet of the Bonnier collection, where wrapped by the coils of wooden serpents, the glass-paneled doors add a luminous layer that, like an artificial frost, transforms natural history into an enchanted scenario. For glass, through its transparency and shine, has the rare virtue of simultaneously animating and distancing the objects it covers, endowing them with both life and death. This is why it was used in the Middle Ages to protect the relics of saintswhich were at the very origin of Wunderkammernand later on to add distinction to all cult objects, from material remains that signaled a mystical relation to nature to those art objects whose status deserved, or simply needed, such veneration. Glass, the materialization of the aura once ascribed to sacred people and objects, seals a sort of visual pact with the spectator, an exchange treaty whereby the viewer agrees to sacrifice proximity and potential tactility for the pleasure of ocular astonishment. It is as if glass grants spectators the privilege of a visit to a fantastic world whose main force resides precisely in being imaginary. There is no real equivalent to this dimension, and therefore viewers accept the deal, half-knowing that it hinges on the elusiveness of a desire whose fleeting satisfaction is worth the price of a distance both spatial and hierarchical. The gradual introduction of glass as a major actor in cabinets underlines 11 this transition from a theologized nature, felt as close

and familiar, to a reified one removed to a second degree. This final remystification of organic remains is ironically also their swan song, preparing their imminent fall into the dissecting hands of science. The Cabinet Bonnier de la Mosson is a visual transcript of this complex transition from theology to reason, and from touch to vision, that was centuries in the making. The fascination elicited nowadays by its Second Cabinet of Natural History is far from the one the entire cabinet knew during its heyday, when Bonnier proudly showed it to a general public that comprised aristocrats, scientists, and laymen alike, enabling the private to become public long before this practice became current, and profitable. This at a moment when the natural history fever in Paris was so strong that the Cabinet du Roi attracted 1,200 to 1,500 visitors a day, an attendance many museums of natural history would surely envy today. The most brilliant product of one of the largest inheritances of the time (equivalent to almost $2 billion), the Cabinet Bonnier was rapidly sold and disseminated after the eccentric Barons sudden and mysterious death at the age of 42, in part to settle his outstanding debt to Louis XV. This amountsome $90 million in taxes collected by Bonnier but never transferred to the crownrepresented about five percent of the original Bonnier de la Mosson fortune. Interestingly enough, Bonnier established his cabinet during roughly the same four years he was conducting his passionate and scandalous affair with La Petitpas, for whom he built a fairy palace in his garden and fought with neighbors and priests alike, much to the general contentment of the gossip circles of the time. Painted by Watteau and Nattier, the inspiration for at least one satirical tract, and chronicled later by the Goncourt brothers, Gillesas the opera girls referred to the erudite collectorwas a central character of eighteenth-century Parisian idle society. Once the relationship with La Petitpas dwindled, the now melancholic Baron considered his cabinet finished and commissioned the architect Jean Baptiste Courtonne le Jeune (17111781) to execute the drawings that have kept it for the record. Soon after La Petitpas death, Bonnier married and died, as if unable to survive the passage from the world of pleasure and fantasy he had created for himself into that of a society for whose morality he cared so little. His cabinet, then, was maybe as much of a transitional object for him as it is for the history it now represents.

LeftOverS / tHe LONDON NeCrOPOLiS raiLWaY

JOhn M. Clarke

Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking in Surrey, is the largest burial ground in Britain. It was built by the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company (LNC ), established by a special Act of Parliament in 1852, as a one-stop solution to the problem of burying a burgeoning Londons dead. The cemetery opened two years later; at 500 acres, it was then the largest burial ground in the world. Brookwood was over twenty-five miles from central London and its most unusual distinguishing feature was that it was served by its own private railway. The funeral trains carrying mourners and cadavers left from a station at 121 Westminster Bridge Road, just outside the Waterloo terminus. This unique station (designed by the LNC s general manager, Cyril B. Tubbs) contained funerary workshops, mortuaries, and a private chapel of rest. It was used by the railway funeral service until 16 April 1941, when it was destroyed in the worst night of the Blitz by a German bomb. It was never rebuilt after World War II. The funeral trains originally ran once a day (64,000 people were buried at Brookwood in its first twenty years), although by the 1930s it was unusual for the trains to operate more than twice a week. They left the private station at Westminster Bridge Road and joined the London & South Western Railways main line for the hour-long journey, and then reversed into the cemetery grounds at Brookwood. There were two stations to greet them there: North Station, which served Nonconformists, and South Station, for Anglicans, who occupied by far the larger part of the cemetery. Each station had its own licensed bar. Death is meant to be the great leveler, but the funeral trains preserved class divisions and distinctions along with religious ones. You traveled strictly according to the funeral package you paid for. First Class mourners would travel in the most comfortable carriages on the journey to Brookwood, whereas Third Class was invariably used for 12 paupers who were buried at parish expense.

These distinctions were also applied to the deceased since First, Second, and Third Class coffin tickets (one-way, of course!) were issued for use on the trains. Not that they would have noticed the differencethe main method of distinguishing between the classes of the dead appears to have been the amount of decoration on the doors of the special hearse carriages used on these trains. Sir Henry Morton Stanley (18411904) was perhaps the most famous passenger-corpse to use the Necropolis line. A famous journalist and explorer, best remembered for finding Dr. Livingstone at Ujiji (where, according to legend, he introduced himself by saying, Dr. Livingstone, I presume?), Stanley was granted a state funeral in Westminster Abbey, just like Livingstone. After the pomp and ceremony of the service, his horse-drawn hearse processed through London from Westminster to Waterloo, where his coffin was put aboard the funeral train. However, Stanley was not in fact buried at Brookwoodanother hearse was on stand-by to take him to the graveyard at Pirbright Church, near his family home in Surrey, just over a mile away. Today, only a few reminders of this extraordinarily morbid railway service remain. In London, the entrance building to the private station at 121 Westminster Bridge Road survives; at Brookwood, both stations were destroyed in the 1960s and early 1970s (a monastery, occupied by the St. Edward Brotherhood, has been built where South Station used to be). However, there are still a few clues to its history. The track bed of the railway can be followed through the cemetery grounds by a careful observer, where the two platforms to which they lead lie in ruins.
above: Ticket for Necropolis Railroad. Courtesy John M. Clarke. opposite: The London Necropolis Railway Station, privately owned station in Westminster Bridge Road, after Londons biggest night raid of the war. The New York Times Paris Bureau Collection, ca. 1941. Photograph No. 541896; courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

lyn heJinian

Cyan (pronounced SIGH-ann) is the color that emanates from a calm sea not far offshore on a clear day as the blue of the sky is reflected in salt water awash over yellow sand. You can see it for yourself in postcards mailed from coastal resorts or, if you are at a resort, from a vantage point somewhere above the beachfrom a cliff, say, or lacking cliffs, from atop a palm tree. Various shades of cyan form the background to the ad for Swarovski (whatever that is) on page 13 of the April 2005 issue of Gourmet magazine. To create a highly saturated cyan on your own, you might pour 1/4 cup of Arm & Hammers Powerfully Clean Naturally Fresh Clean Burst laundry detergent onto the whites in your next load of wash (presumably Arm & Hammer adds the pigment to its product in order to provoke association with what we imagine to be the pristine purity of tropical seas). Also, you might search for cyan at wikipedia.org, where a resplendent rectangle of the color is on display, along with a succinct definition: Cyan is a pure spectral color, but the same hue can also be generated by mixing equal amounts of green and blue light. As such, cyan is the complement of red: cyan pigments absorb red light. Cyan is sometimes called blue-green or turquoise and often goes undistinguished from light blue. You can trick your mind into seeing cyan where it doesnt exist by forcing your mind first to see everything as red. Hold a red filter (candy wrapper, red glass, etc.) to your eyes so that your entire field of vision (including peripheral vision) is colored for a minimum of one or two minutesthe longer the better. Then remove the filter and quickly look at a piece of white paper. In addition to being the name of a color, cyan (from the Greek kyanos: dark blue, blue) can combine linguistically with other terms. According to Websters Dictionary (online at bootlegbooks.com), in medical terminology, for example, we find cyanopathy (a disease in which the body is colored blue in its surface, arising usually from a malformation of the heart, which causes an imperfect arterialization of the blood; blue jaundice) as well as cyanosis (a bluish or purplish discoloration [as of skin] due to deficient oxygenation of the blood; cyanotic). Cyanosis can be figurative as well as literal; in Margaret, a mid-nineteenth century novel by the Reverend S. Judd (an American Romantic in the mode of James Fenimore Cooper), a character remarks, His love for me produces a cyanosis.1 Taking their name from cyan, the Cyanea form a genus of jellyfishes, the most famous of which is the Cyanea capillata or Lions mane jellyfish, classed among the worlds dangerous animals because of the painful (though rarely fatal and sometimes even innocuous) stings it can inflict; specimens of Cyanea capillata as much as 8 feet wide and 1000 feet long are not uncommon along the coast of the North Sea, and are also frequently seen in the waters around North Sea oil rigs. Despite the cyanic prefix, Cyanea 15 capillata is not blue but generally yellowish; in the

same region, however, Cyanea lamarckii flourishes, a true blue jellyfish, also known as the Bluefire. The first appearance of cyan as a combining form in English occurred around 1838, in T. Thomsons Chemistry of Inorganic Bodies, and it now functions in the names of various chemicals and chemical processes. Thus cyanin is the name of the blue coloring matter of flowers; called also anthokyan and anthocyanin; cyanogen is a colorless, inflammable, poisonous gas, C2N2, with a peach-blossom odor, so called from its tendency to form blue compounds, among them pigmented paints, inks, etc., labeled Prussian blue; and cyanide is the name of a poisonous compound whose ingestion can be fatal, since it inhibits tissue oxidation (causing cyanosiswhich is to say, the victim turns blue). An Egyptian papyrus in the Louvre mentions the penalty of the peach, an apparent reference to intentional (perhaps judicially mandated) cyanide poisoning, using oils pressed from bitter almonds. Almond-scented breath is a notable symptom of cyanide poisoning; however, approximately eighteen percent of men and five percent of women are unable to detect the smell.2 Cyanide is also present in cherry laurel leaves and in foodstuffs such as cabbage, spinach, cassava, and (as amygdalin) in apple pips, peach, plum, and cherry pits, and, of course, almond kernels. In the kernels themselves, amygdalin seems to be completely harmless as long as it is relatively dry. However, the seeds contain an enzyme that is capable of releasing cyanide when the seeds are crushed and moistened (as happens, of course, when they are chewed). Exactly this occurred with dreadful results in mid-March of 2005, when children at an elementary school in the Philippines ate a snack of inadequately prepared cassava; twenty-seven died and a hundred others became severely ill. Hydrogen cyanide is present in some insecticides and it is often used as a pesticide in the fumigation of ships, large buildings, houses, trains, and airplanes. Automobile pollution-control devices with malfunctioning catalytic converters generate cyanide, as does burning wool, silk, horse hair, and tobacco, as well as modern synthetic materials, such as polyurethane. Hydrogen cyanide gas is the gas of the gas chamber; Hitler used so much of it that the walls of his death-camp shower rooms were permanently stained blue. Among the possible antidotes to cyanide poisoning is hydroxocobalamin, a reddish powder; this has at least been shown to be an effective antidote for experimental cyanide poisoning in mice, guinea pigs, baboons, and dogs. Treatment for severe cyanide poisoning has its own risks, however, among them methaemoglobinaemia (a condition in which the iron normally present in haemoglobin is oxidized, leaving enzymes in the blood incapable of utilizing it). As an antidote to this conditionas an antidote to the antidote, as it wereeither one of two blue dyes, toluidine blue and methylene blue (a dark green, almost odourless, crysopposite: Cyanea Lamarckii, commonly called the Bluefire or Blue Jellyfish, photographed in waters off the coast of Britain. Photo Keith Hiscock.

talline powder with a bronze-like luster), can be effective. In effect, then, a blue poison can be counteracted with a red compound which, however, can itself be a poison, which can then be counteracted with a blue compound. Cyan is the first name of an oyaji character in the Final Fantasy VI video game. He is a 159-pound, 5-foot-10-inch tall, 50-year old samurai, who has survived the poisoning (by cyanide gas?) of the castle of Doma, though it kills his wife Elayne and son Owain; his full name is Cyan Garamonde. Cyans special ability is Sword Tech (SwdTech), in which, according to the games manufacturer, Cyan Worlds, (located on the outskirts of Spokane, Washington, a city of roughly half a million. Its less than a two hour drive to a dozen ski slopes and lake resorts; a 45-minute flight to Seattle; a days drive to Yellowstone, Glacier, and Banff Springs National parks; a half a day flight to Hawaii; and a world away from the rat race), we can identify eight specific techniques. These include: Dispatch (A randomly targeted single-strike attack); Retort (No immediate effect, but if Cyan is hit before his next turn, he will counterattack for huge damage); Slash (Halves enemy and causes seizure status [like Poison but with no cure]); Quadra Slam (Four randomly-targeted attacks); and Stunner (A fullscreen attack). Six cyan (though not Cyans) samurai swords were on auction on eBay on 21 December 2004; bidding on each began at 29.99, and they were timed to be sold off every ten hours or so. Because cyan is one of the three main pigments used in CMYK color reproduction (magenta and yellow being the other two, with black added in to sharpen contrasts and deepen shadowblack is responsible for the K in the CMYK , though why a K rather than a B is not clear), on any given date on eBay, an enormous number of cyan print-heads, toner cartridges, plates, inks, etc., are available. Among the other cyan commodities for sale on eBay on 25 November 2004 were: Rare Chinese Cyan Jade Culture Genitals ($5.99): a Three Dog Night Cyan LP ($19.47); a Three Dog Night Cyan CD ($1.49); a pair of red/cyan 3D viewing glasses ($11); a pair of brown/cyan ski goggles ($99); a number of mediumsized cyan Julius Peppers Carolina Panthers Reebok Jerseys ($39.99 each); and four 100% cashmere cyan pashminas ($8.99 each). More pashminas at the same price were available on 21 December 2004 and on Easter Sunday of 2005, along with a Cyan Glazed Dragon Handle Ruyao Pot (twelfthcentury China) ($5.80); a Sexy and Stunning cyan lingerie set (AUS $19.99); a set of 350 loose cyan-blue Czechoslovakian seed beads ($2.49 for the lot); several more copies of Three Dog Nights 1974 Cyan LP , one of them signed by Chuck Cory Danny (who would be Cory Wells and Danny Hutton, who are still with the band, and Chuck Negron, who was apparently kicked out of it) ($19.99), and one not signed (99 cents). On Easter also, one could buy a Cyan Lycra Spandex Zentai Unitard Catsuit, available in four sizes: small ($20.50), medium ($12.50), large ($26), and extra-large ($57). One cant help but wonder what determined the price 16 variations. The extra-large Cyan Catsuit cost more

than twice what the large cost, suggesting that it must contain more than twice the amount of lycra spandex fabric (it must, in other words, be huge as well as blue) and/or it must represent more than twice the amount of time-congealed labor (and have been exceedingly tedious to put together). The whole world of color is a world of lightand of mind. Lighting designers play with both by adding and subtracting colors to and from each other so as to trick the mind into seeing what it should see. As Jan Kroeze of JKLD (jkld. com) describes it:
Because the relevant part of the brain, which for conveniences sake we call the eye, tries to see white light (an extremely relative term), it will add any missing colors to the least saturated surface. To wit: Most theatre and other lights are produced by heating a tungsten filament till it glowsthis is true for most light bulbs (it will not be true in five years). The light generated by this method is almost entirely red, even though the eye sees it as yellow (lets not go there). Under normal circumstances the eye deals with thisa sheet of white paper will look white under tungsten light. However in theatre there is a tradition of using colored gels to provide mood, suggest location, etc., and there is a tendency to use a warm color, such as pink, on the actors to make them look prettier, more sympathetic, whatever. When that happens the red bias in the light is reinforced and the eye has to take charge. Striving to see white light, the eye adds the missing colorsin this case cyanto the least saturated surface within the focal area. This is often the actors skin which, as the ever more desperate lighting designer adds more and more pink light, turns ever blue/greener. To solve this problem, one simply aims a cyan-colored light somewhere close by on the set. The eye is then satisfied, colors are balanced, and the actor suddenly looks ten tears younger.

The word cyan appears nowhere in Shakespeares works nor in the Bible; it doesnt appear in Emily Dickinsons poetry, nor in Miltons Paradise Lost. Usage generally suggests that the color is more a chemical or technical than an aesthetic (or experienced) blueand literature, after all, derives from experience (whether real or entirely fantastic). Cyan, nonetheless, is the proper name of the color that a parrot might see over Tortola, or a parasailor who will artfully discover (in the words of new.onepaper.com/virginvoices) the exhilarating experience of floating in the air over the cyan sea. Alas, that cyan sea is heating up and, thanks to dirty rain and human run-off carrying substances like Arm & Hammers Powerfully Clean Naturally Fresh Clean Burst laundry detergent, it has been a long time since the cyan of the sea has been pristine.
1 I cant take credit for discovering this; the citation is given in the OED. 2 See Publication No. EUR 14280 EN of the Commission of the European Communities, Dissemination of Scientific and Technical Knowledge Unit, Directorate-General Information Technologies and Industries, and Telecommunications (Luxembourg). This lengthy publication is available online, and is the source of virtually all of my information on cyanide poisoning.

iNgeStiON / CUiSiNe fOr a bODY WitHOUt OrgaNS

allen s. Weiss

There exists no rue Antonin Artaud in Paris (though, through a great sense of delicacy on the part of those who name and rename Parisian streets, the villa Rimbaud is to be found alongside the villa Verlaine, while through a certain indelicacy or nastiness, the rue Fnelon is parallel to the rue Bossuet). However, as a terrible irony, in Rodez, where Artaud spent the years 19431946 in a psychiatric asylum years of hell, a period of incalculable isolation and aphasia, of debilitating torment and torture, during which time his language disappeared, his soul was engulfed, his spirit shatteredthere is to be found a Place Antonin Artaud. Dubious praise of he who had no place, who was filled with the void, who was broken by nothingness. Artaud was the first writer (perhaps because of his madness, perhaps in spite of it) where I have found mention of the metaphysical dimension of cuisine: Aoli is a metaphysical effort of nourishment through the palate, the tongue and the teeth, leading to the most somber alchemy1a marvelous condensation of metaphysical folly and magical cuisine. Before his liberation from the psychiatric hospital of Rodez (which had the portentious address of 1, rue VieuxSens, Street of the Old-Sense) and his return to Paris, Artaud was afforded a brief period of provisional freedom in the Aveyron town of Espalion twenty miles north of Rodez on the Lot river, from 19 March through 10 April 1946, in the company of the poet Andr de Richard. He wrote to
above: View of Espalion; postcard dated 1943.

his doctor, Gaston Ferdire, from the Htel Berthier on 22 March: I thank you for having indicated Espalion to me. Its a truly agreeable place with its silence and its castle, whose tattered ruins hang from the sky like old teeth.2 But in Centre-noeuds, the first version of which was most probably written in Espalion, he offers a much darker versioncouched in gastronomic metaphorsof the bizarrely crenellated and rather disturbing ruins of the Chteau de Calmont-dOlt (whose vestiges would have thrilled a romantic like Victor Hugo) set upon the peak overlooking his hotel: And there are crags that sometimes strangely detach themselves, and there are trees peculiarly fixed here and there. And there are sudden forest fires. And on the summit of the mounts there is the ozone of a digestive electricity that was never anything for me but the stomach of all the pulverized, lost bodies.3 He saw in this new place a possible destiny for his body, mutilated like the walls of the chteau, empty as its interior: And the crime was to have it rise to the peaks, when it would have much rather preferred to be interred all reassembled. For the earth restored his body, it stuffed it, it thickened it, while the ether disseminated it and compelled it to strange relaxations, to strange restraints of resilience in order to manage to bring it to light.4 Strange stuffing! Just right for a body without organs! Stuffed man! In this remote region of Frances Massif Central, Artaud simultaneously expressed the circumstances of his suffering and the conditions necessary for writing: There is more of the emptiness and the nothingness and the silence and the abyss to support a being than to deny him in order to summon an angel.5 Here, it is as if he referred not to the town of Espalion, but rather to the landscape of the monts dAubrac just to the north, where in the village of Aubrac are to be found, on the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella, the ruins of the famed Dmerie (LHospice de Notre-Dame des Pauvres), a twelfth-century refuge and hospital, on the portal to which were inscribed words most befitting the region: In loco horroris et vastae solitudinis. I dont know if Artaud saw the monts dAubrac, but I always thought that Dr. Ferdire would have done better to have sent the pote maudit to the harsh, chilly desolation of the Aubrac rather than to the soft, tepid picturesqueness of Espalion and the Lot river valley. Just before his departure from Rodez, Artaud 19 drew La bouillabaisse de formes dans la tour de

Babel [The Bouillabaisse of Forms in the Tower of Babel], a

veritable jumble of images.6 Given the wartime restrictions suffered at Rodez, as well as the disorientation and pain caused by his sundry cures (including electroshock and insulin therapy, both still in a very rudimentary state), it is not surprising that Artaud, of Marseillais origin, dreamt of the confusion of tongues and the complexity of being in culinary terms, where mixtures, amalgamations, and transformations are of the essence. If the stuffed cabbage, a traditional dish of this region, is soothing and quieting comfort food, the bouillabaisse is quite the inverse: a vertigo of gestures, a chaos of ingredients, a labyrinth of tastesa dish of extreme complexity and dilemma, if not of gustatory entanglement and disquietude. A veritable allegory of his soul. But in the valley of the Lot there is no bouillabaisse. Most probably Artaud had to make do with, as his doctor suggested, a simple truite au lard, a trout wrapped in lard, that nearly universal manner of adding a bit of fat to the lean.
1 Antonin Artaud, Cahiers de Rodez, vol. 20 (Paris: Gallimard, 1984), p. 436. 2 Antonin Artaud, Nouveaux crits de Rodez (Paris: Gallimard, 1977), p. 116. 3 Antonin Artaud, Centre-noeuds, in Suppts et suppliciations (Paris: Gallimard, 1978), p. 26. 4 Ibid, pp. 26-27. 5 Cahiers de Rodez, vol. 20, p. 431. 6 See Paule Thvenin and Jacques Derrida, Antonin Artaud: Dessins et portraits (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), p. 168; also Bernard Blistne and Germain Viatte, eds., Antonin Artaud: Oeuvres sur papier (Marseille: Muses de Marseille / Runion des Muses Nationaux, 1995), pp. 132-133. The drawing of 3 May 1946, Les corps de terre [Bodies of Earth], is of related interest.  To add a lighter touch of contemporary gastronomy to this article, I might mention that in July 2004 I had, at the restaurant Le Mjane in Espalion, a superb Truite de Gagnot gratine au chou vert et au Laguiole [gratine of trout with Savoy cabbage and Laguiole cheese], as well as an excellent stuffed cabbage in the restaurant La Dmerie in the village of Aubrac. On the cuisine of the Aubrac, see Allen S. Weiss, Gastronomic Diary, July 2003, Contemporary French Civilization, vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (2004) and Cuisine et Beaux-Arts: petite mditation sur le gargouillou, Critique, no. 685-686 (2004). On the bouillabaisse, see Henry Deluy, La Bouillabaisse: Le grand combat, in Andr Pitte, Xavier Girard, and Thierry Fabre, eds., La cuisine, un gai savoir, a special issue of La pense du midi, no. 13 (2004).

opposite: Antonin Artaud, La bouillabaisse de formes dans la tour de Babel, ca. February 1948.


A BrIef HIstory of CrANks

Paul laity

Socialism, George Orwell famously wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier (1936), draws towards it with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sexmaniac, Quaker, Nature Cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England. His tirade against such cranks is memorably extended in other passages of the book to include vegetarians with wilting beards, the outer-suburban creeping Jesus eager to begin his yoga exercises, and that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of progress like bluebottles to a dead cat. The stereotyping and caricaturing of middle-class cranks goes deep in English national culture. Throughout the nineteenth century, Punch magazine lampooned health obsessives who sought a purer life in boiled cabbage and teetotalism. An Aldous Huxley story, The Claxtons, which anticipates much of Orwells philippic, portrays a puritanical, radical, self-deceiving bourgeois family: In their little house on the common, how beautifully the Claxtons lived, how spiritually! Even the cat was a vegetarian. And earlier this year the right-wing tabloid Daily Mail derided the Guardian (not for the first time, no doubt) as being run by (and for) sandal-wearing folk. Its a gibe thats still meant to suggest the things it did in Orwells day: woolly-headed naivety, moral superiority, and worthy bohemianismcertainly a world beyond the values of a mythical real England of ordinariness and decency. Orwells savage send-ups of cranks betray some anxiety about sexual freedom but usually make straight for the obvious targettheir earnestness. Cranks want the world to become a less cruel, less crassly commercial, more beautiful place. Their pleasures are wholesome, natural, and energetic. (When I was growing up, my parents would refer to certain people as very brown rice and bicycles.) According to the cartoon version of countercultural progressives, they are desperate for everything to be health-giving and improving. So one of Orwells figures of fun is a hangover from the William Morris period who proposes to level the working class up (up to his own standard) by means of hygiene, fruit-juice, birth-control, poetry, etc. In his novel Coming Up For Air (1939), we encounter Professor Woad, the psychic research worker: I knew the type. Vegetarianism, simple life, poetry, nature-worship, roll in the dew before breakfast . . . Theyre all either health-food cranks or else they have something to do with the boy scoutsin either case theyre great ones for Nature and the open air. Orwells satire in The Road to Wigan Pier was employed in a particular and urgent cause: the fashioning of a popular (non-crankish), common-sense radical politics to face the growing threat of Fascism. (Soon after handing the manuscript of the book to his publisher, Victor Gollancz, he began his journey to Barcelona to fight for the Republicans in the Civil War.) In his view, cranksalong with shockheaded Marxists chewing polysyllableswere 21

giving socialism a bad name. He also implied that they were only superficially committed to the socialist cause, and ultimately concerned more about their own moral purity than about the exploitation of the working class. But who exactly did Orwell have in mind when he let loose his invective? Who were the cranks? He chose never to mention in print that he had himself mixed with many countercultural types, including his aunt, Nellie Limouzina bohemian whose husband was a socialist and stalwart of the Esperanto movementand the Westropes, who owned the bookshop in Hampstead where he worked in the mid-1930s. Francis Westrope had been a conscientious objector in the war and was a member of the Independent Labour Party; his wife, Myfanwy, campaigned
above: Andrew Muir, consultant architect to the Garden City, wearing what was referred to at the time as rational dress. Courtesy First Garden City Heritage Museum of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation <www.letchworthgc.com>.

for womens rightsboth were keen Esperantists. His backer Mabel Fierz, too, lived in a big house in Hampstead Garden Suburb and leaned towards a mystical and spiritual socialism. Friends and family members no doubt influenced Orwells portrait to some extent, but he had a whole politicocultural tradition in his sights. This stretched back at least as far as the millennial socialist sects of the 1830s and 1840s, inspired by the reformer Robert Owen and his newspaper the New Moral World. Cranks were much in evidence in these model communitiesCatherine and Goodwyn Barmby, for instance, who became impatient with the imperfectly purist tone of the Owenite movement, and formed the Communist Church (its sister organisations included the White Quakers in Dublin and the Ham Common Concordium in Richmond). They preached various New Age prophecies, along with vegetarianism, hydrotherapy, long hair, and sandal wearing. Over the years, Goodwyn Barmby became a Christlike figure, with blonde hair down to his shoulders; 22

together the young couple walked the London streets with a cart from which they dispensed tracts and harangued passers-by. The late-nineteenth-century socialist revival was heavily invested in crankish beliefs. As Michael Holroyd has written, it was largely from agnostics, anarchists and atheists; dress and diet reformers; from economists, feminists, philanthropists, rationalists and spiritualists, all striving to destroy or replace Christianity that the revival was drawn. The firebrand Henry Hyndman, a disciple of Engels and founder of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in 1881, despaired, like Orwell, of this kind of moral faddism. I do not want the movement, he asserted, to be a depository
above: Edward Carpenter standing outside his cottage in Millthorpe, Derbyshire,1905. He is wearing a pair of his famous Indian-style sandals, which he made himself, and a jacket, knickerbockers, cravat, and cummerbund of his own design. Courtesy Sheffield Archives, Carpenter Collection, Box 8/31a.

of old cranks, humanitarians, vegetarians, anti-vivisectionists, and anti-vaccinationists, arty-crafties and all the rest of them. Not surprisingly, William Morris and his friends in the SDF decided to secede and in 1884 formed their own group, the more anarchical (and sexually radical) Socialist League. The Fabian Society, begun at the same time, was an outgrowth of the ethical-spiritual (and meat renouncing) Fellowship of the New Life. This was also the age of the Vegetarian Cycling Society and the socialist Clarion Field Clubs, which aimed to bring the town dweller more frequently into contact with the beauty of nature: to help forward the ideal of the simpler life, plain living and high thinking. George Bernard Shaw, who, as a vegetarian and wearer of unbleached and knitted natural wool, had a close relationship with crankery, summed up the two different impulses in the socialism of the time: one was to organise the docks, the other to sit among the dandelions. The patron saint of the dandelion-sitters was Edward Carpenter, and Orwell clearly had him in his thoughts. A former curate, a guest of Thoreau, and the author of a long Whitmanesque poem, Towards Democracy, Carpenter exhorted a spiritual socialism and a return to nature. As a result of a vision, he bought a smallholding at Millthorpe, near Sheffield, where he grew his own food. He was a vegetarian and an advocate of birth control and Eastern mysticism; he also wrote The Intermediate Sex, the first book generally available in Britain to shine a positive light on gay sex. He used to bathe naked at dawn with his manservant and lover, and his life was denounced as scandalous and immoral. More than anyone else, Carpenter was also responsible for introducing sandals to British life. When his friend Harold Cox went to India, he was given instructions to send back to Millthorpe a pair of sandals from Kashmir. The pair in question featured a thong that curled up from the sole over the toes to an ankle fastening. I soon found the joy of wearing them, Carpenter wrote. And after a little time I set about making them. Shoes, he decided, were leather coffins. He took lessons from a Sheffield bootmaker and soon succeeded in making a good many pairs for myself and various friends. (Shaw was given some, but they cut his feet and he vowed never to wear them again.) Various disciples made the pilgrimage to Millthorpe, including, Carpenter remembered, one woman dress-reformerher name was Swanhilda somethingwho walked miles in the pouring rain, wearing a roughly cut blue serge dress and sandals which kept getting stuck in the mud. One of Carpenters employees at Millthorpe, George Adams, also took up sandal-making. When he fell out with his master, he moved to the newly established Letchworth Garden City, in Hertfordshire, and established a small sandal business there. Letchworth has a special place in the history of crankery. One day this summer, Orwell writes in The Road to Wigan Pier, I was riding through Letchworth when the bus stopped and two dreadful-looking old men got onto it. They were both about sixty, both very short, pink and chubby, 23 and both hatless. They were dressed in pista-

chio-coloured shirts and khaki-shorts into which their huge bottoms were crammed so tightly that you could study every dimple. Their appearance created a mild stir of horror on top of the bus. The man next to me murmured Socialists. He was probably right, the passage continues. The Independent Labour Party were holding their summer school in the town. (Orwell neglects to say that he was attending it.) Letchworth Garden City, established in 1904 as an experiment in town planninga utopia of pure air and rational livinginstantly became a mecca for simple-lifers and acquired a nationwide reputation for crankishness: sandals and scandals. One of its two original architects, Raymond Unwin, was a former associate of Carpenters within Sheffield socialism (and a vegetarian). An early resident offered a description of the typical Garden citizen, who wore sandals, ate no meat, read William Morris and Tolstoy, and kept two tortoises which he polished periodically with the best Lucas oil. The vegetarians in the town opened the Simple Life Hotel, which had a health-food shop and a food reform restaurant. A member of the Quaker Cadbury family started up an alcohol-free pub, the Skittles Inn, which did a brisk trade in hot chocolate and Cydrax, a non-intoxicating apple wine. (This inspired G. K. Chestertons comment about a life which is all skittles and no beer, and later John Betjemans raillery in Huxley Hall: Not my vegetarian dinner, not my lime juice minus gin, / Quite can drown a faint conviction that we may be born in Sin.) Londoners, on their Sundays off, made special excursions by train to study Letchworths strange collection of smock-wearing Esperanto speakers and theosophists: a cartoon from a local newspaper showed day-trippers at a human zoo. Daddy, I want to see them feed! pleads a child. Signs for visitors include: To the Long Nebbed Sandal Footed Raisin Shifters, This Way to the Non-Tox Pub, and To the Hairy-Headed Banana Munchers. Annie Besant, a theosophist and campaigner for birth control, opened the St. Christopher Schoolwhere the Independent Labour Party gathering was heldand which today still offers only vegetarian food (its pupils admit to nipping out to McDonalds). The 1920s and 1930s offered plenty of countercultural trends to cause Orwell more immediate alarm. Pacifism of an absolutist kind was more generally espoused in the early- to mid-1930s than at any other time in British history. There was also a craze for the open air (associated with an increase in leisure) and for a hygienic, wholemeal lifestyle. The membership of the Clarion Cycling Club reached a peak in the mid-1930s, and unprecedented numbers of city dwellers in knickerbockers and open-necked shirts took to youth hostelling and rambling with high-minded verve. Freedom to roam over dales and moors became a left-wing issue, and mass hiking a political act, sometimes combined with a touch of nature mysticism. In 1932, the writer S. P. B. Mais led 16,000 people out onto the South Downs one morning to see the sun rise over Chanctonbury Ring (unfortunately, it was cloudy). The back-to-nature movement assumed other forms, too. The Nature Cure Clinic was opened in Marylebone in 1928, taking its homeopathic ideas from the East via

Germany. Raw fruit and vegetable juices were championed as essential for removing toxins from the body. And it was in the 1930s that Dr. Edward Bach argued for the healing effects of the flower essences he had found while collecting dewdrops from plants at dawn. Organized nudism first appeared in Britain in the late 1920s. One of the first resorts to open was Sun Lodge in Upper Norwood, southeast of London. From 1928, members of the Sun Bathing Society would meet at weekends to soak up the invigorating, health-giving rays and enjoy other activities such as rhythmic dancing. Locals would gather around the boundary fence trying to catch a glimpse of the bathers in puris naturalibus. In 1929, the police were called in at the Welsh Harp Reservoir near Wembley to protect naturists from rioters. In spite of the controversy it attracted, the nudity movement gathered strength. A letter to The Times in 1932 called for recognition of the benefits of sun-worshipping in less than a bathing costume. Its signatories included Shaw and C.E.M. Joad, popular philosopher, socialist, pacifist, countryside enthusiast (and perhaps the model for Orwells Professor Woad). Joad was convinced of the healthiness of lying naked to the sun, if only in deserted coves. Ridicule was never far away. In the film I See Ice (1938), George Formby sang of having A picture of a nudist camp / In my little snapshot album. / All very jolly but a trifle damp / In my little snapshot album. Leslie Paul, founder of the Woodcraft Folk, an anti-militarist alternative to the scouts, which was open to both boys and girls, described himself as a socialist of the Edward Carpenter stamp, in love with a mystical vision of England. In 1933, 500 young members of the Folk camped around a large Bronze Age standing stone in Herefordshire to hear a lecture on ley lines while two boys crouched in wicker cages on top of the monument. (Today, the owner of the land on which the Queen Stone sits prefers its exact location not to be publicized so as to discourage the holding of sances.) Paul, a writer and journalist, spent much of his time in a cottage in rural Devonshire. A local friend, Joe, his taut and curly chest hair like a wire mattress, would sunbathe naked for hours a day while declaring his Tolstoyism and denouncing leather shoes. Vegetarianism was in the progressive air, Paul later wrote. New food shops catered for fantastic new-life tastes. I drank a mixture of malted milk, hot water and olive oil which was held to have the most beneficial effects on ones colon and nerves. He was an admirer of the Soviet Union, a socialist, and a pacifist. Pacifism had an extraordinary affinity for vegetarianism, he reflected, and so we lived on enormous wooden bowls of garlic-flavoured salad, and messes of lentils and roasted pine-kernels garnished with leeks. We thrived. Orwell attended two socialist summer schools in 1936: the one in Letchworth and another, held at a large house in Langham, near Colchester, which was organized by the Adelphi, a magazine he reviewed for. The journals founding editor was the critic John Middleton Murry, a pacifist and socialist of a spiritual, poetic kind, who acquired the 24 countryside house in the hope that it would become

the nucleus of a new form of egalitarian community. (In that simple and beautiful place, our socialism became a reality, he wrote. It felt to me as though we had attained a new kind of immunity from illusion.) All the guests were asked to help in the centers running: Orwell was in demand as a dishwasher, using skills he had developed while down and out in Paris. During one of the discussions he apparently told the mostly middle-class audience that they wouldnt recognise a miner or a docker if they came into the room. Murry eventually came to believe that the Adelphi Centre was too much of a talking shop: the socialists staying there lacked the discipline imposed by tough physical work. His next project was a pacifist farm. There are hundreds of other examples of simplelife socialists who would have provoked Orwells scorn. And, despite his best efforts, the long and rich history of crankery continues beyond the 1930s to elements of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the hippies, and the greens. (And beyond Britain too, of course.) In the 1960s, a vegetarian restaurant took the sting out of over a century of mockery by proudly adopting the name Cranks. In many ways, the tables have turned on Orwell. The likes of Edward Carpenter and Leslie Paul can now be regarded as forerunners of a very modern ecological anti-capitalism. Environmentalism is increasingly the cause rather than an eccentric distraction from it. Much of what Orwell understood to be crankishness has become fashionable. There are now three-and-a-half million vegetarians in Britain, yoga seems to be an increasingly accepted part of middle-class life, and homeopathic pills are taken in the millions. (Though such trends perhaps suggest even more than in Orwells day a certain kind of selfpreserving, self-cherishing lifestyle as opposed to a genuine commitment to change the world.) Inevitably, as some aspects of crankishness have been absorbed into the mainstream, other strange practices and beliefs take their place, ripe for ridicule by the majority. In the spirit of The Road to Wigan Pier, todays anti-capitalism could be said to draw towards it with magnetic force every tree-hugger, organic fruitarian, solar-powered scooter rider, water-birth enthusiast, Tantric-sex practitioner, worldmusic listener, teepee-dweller, hemp-trouser wearer, and Ayurvedic massage addict in England. As for sandals, the journalists at the Daily Mail may keep alive the time-honored association of cranks with near-naked feet, but the long queues outside Birkenstock shops should make them think again. The simple life may be as far away as ever, but we are all sandal-wearers now.

opposite: Cartoon by Louis Weirter, published in local paper The Citizen, 1909. Courtesy First Garden City Heritage Museum of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation <www.letchworthgc.com>.


How to grow A CHAIr: AN INterVIew wItH rICHArD reAMes


Youre also trying to grow a boat.

Thats a collaboration with a friend. We planted two very long ash trees that arch up at the ends. They form the bottom of the boat. Then we planted rib trees so that the planking can be fastened on. That project is intended to be harvested once its thick enough. At first we projected it would take five years, but Im guessing itll be more like eight.

Using ancient grafting techniques and a few basic tools, Richard Reames shapes living trees into furniture and sculpture near his home in Oregon for clients worldwide. He is the author of two self-published books, How to Grow a Chair: The Art of Tree Trunk Topiary with Barbara Delbol, and Arborsculpture: Solutions for a Small Planet, published in June. His work was on display this summer at the World Expo in Aichi, Japan. Joshua Foer spoke to Reames in July 2005 by telephone.

While the boat may be functional, much of what you grow is purely sculptural. What are the aesthetic criteria by which an arborsculpture is judged?
I think balance is the number one criterion. Learning how to create symmetrical growth is the key to creating a good arborsculpture. Say youre going to use four trees; if you can get them to grow at the same rate, then you have even balance. To achieve even growth, you either have to limit the fast-growing trees or speed up the slower-growing ones. Also critical is the way the grafts heal. Thats where the true mystery and power of this art lies.

How does arborsculpture differ from bonsai or topiary?

Arborsculpture is the art of shaping tree trunks to create art and functional items through bending, grafting, pruning, and multiple planting. Bonsai is the art of miniaturizing trees. Some of bonsais basic techniques, such as bending branches and pruning, are similar to arborsculpture. Topiary was originally defined as ornamental gardening, so you could say, to be technical, that arborsculpture is a branch of topiary, but the word topiary is more commonly used to describe the shaping of foliage. In that sense, topiary is almost the opposite of arborsculpture in that youre only trimming the foliage, whereas in arborsculpture, youre only working with the trunk. Of the various tree arts, arborsculpture is most closely related to espalier, a technique that began in France as a way to grow quality fruit in small areas, like inside castle courtyards. Theyd grow fruit trees up against the wall and shape the branches so that they were evenly spaced and parallel, maximizing the amount of fresh air to each piece of fruit. I like to say that arborsculpture is like espalier on acid.

Given that arborsculpture requires only the most primitive tools, it seems like it should have been invented a long time ago. Why wasnt it?
Thats a question I often wonder about. Perhaps the Druids were great tree-shapers, but since wood doesnt preserve well, the evidence may have rotted long ago. Even though arborsculpture didnt have a name until I coined the term in 1995, there are historical examples of tree-shaping. The oldest evidence we have is a five-by-seven inch illumination from 1516 by Jean Perral, titled Nature Objects to the Alchemists Errors. In the painting, an angel is sitting in an elaborately shaped, grafted tree. She has folded arms and is chastising the alchemist, who does not look pleased. Perrals illumination accompanied a new version of Roman de la Rose, an allegory of chivalric love that is considered one of the greatest literary works of the thirteenth century.

Tell me about some of the arborsculptures youve grown.

I have grown many chairs and benches. I have a 30-foot spiral poplar tree that goes up 8 feet, splits into two trunks that spiral around each other, and then is grafted back together at about 16 feet high. I have a nice spiral staircase growing right now in oak. I planted a circle of birch trees years ago and just recently spun them all clockwise a few feet and grafted the tops together. Its a small gazebo.

Tell me about some of the early practitioners of arborsculpture.

In one of his books, Earths in the Universe, the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about visiting another planet whose inhabitants dwelled in living trees. He talked about how they would shape these trees from a very young stage and guide their growth into temples. Later, a nineteenthcentury Austrian mystic named Jakob Lorber wrote a book called The Household of God about the wisdom of planting trees in a circle. Once they had grown together, Lorber said, the ring of trees would be a much better house than anything anyone could build.

Can you walk me through how youd grow a chair?

For a chair, I select perhaps a dozen flexible, long, unbranched saplings and I plant them in a pattern. I can then bend them along a frame into the shape of a chair or a bench and do the initial grafting. The majority of the work can be done all at once. The frame holds the trees for a few years until the tree casts that form through its growth. Its just a matter of the trees getting older and growing together with some gentle pruning to keep them growing in the right direction.

Did Swedenborg or Lorber ever grow an arborsculpture?

No, they didnt. There were three modern pioneers of arborsculpture: John Krubsack, Arthur Wiechula, and Axel


opposite: Arborsculpture by Richard Reames. Photo Richard Reames.

Erlandson. Krubsack was a prominent banker in the small town of Embarrass, Wisconsin, at the turn of the last century. He grew an extraordinary chair out of box elder that was shown at the 1915 Worlds Fair. In 1926, Wiechula, a German agricultural engineer, published a radical little book called Developing Houses from Living Trees. Wiechula never successfully grew a living house, but he did grow a 394-foot-long wall structure using Canadian poplars to keep snowdrifts off a section of train tracks. But no other figure went so far in demonstrating the trees potential as Erlandson. In 1947, he created a roadside attraction in Scotts Valley, California, called the Tree Circus. It was advertised with a large sign that said simply, SEE THE WORLDS STRANGEST TREES HERE . He shaped about seventy-five trees and invited the public in for a fee. He never was very successful on the business end of things, but his trees were stunning and unique.

How did Erlandson get started?

In nature, its not uncommon that two trees will lean up against each other and self-graft. Its called an inosculation. Erlandson found one in a hedgerow on his farm. He realized he could do that intentionally and form any kind of structure he wished.

Did Erlandson know about Krubsack and Wiechula?

Theres no evidence that he did, but if the people back in the 1950s are anything like the people today, the first person who ever heard of Krubsacks chair would have immediately told Erlandson. People like to share that kind of information. From what we know about Erlandson, if he did know about it, he wouldnt have mentioned it to anyone else. He had a reputation for extreme secrecy. Being a showman, I think he was kind of attached to the idea that he was the only one whod ever done this.

Does that mean Erlandson never passed on his techniques?

Yes, unfortunately what we found in his letters is that he lamented the idea that he hadnt found an apprentice. As he got older, he knew that what he learned would die with him unless he found someone to pass his knowledge on to.

Did you ever meet Erlandson?

I was about eight years old when Erlandson died, but I do remember visiting the Tree Circus once when I was a kid.

So how did you decide to become an arborsculptor?

In 1984, there was a tussle over whether the Tree Circus should be declared a historic landmark. The trees were scheduled to be bulldozed and the property was going to be sold. The media descended on the Tree Circus and a 28 number of articles were published about it. Michael

Bonfante, the owner of a large California grocery store chain, arrived on the scene and bought the remaining trees and moved twenty-eight of them, at great expense, to a new theme park, which he called Bonfante Gardens. Eight years later, I was facing fatherhood and working as a landscaper. I posed the question to myself, What is the best possible career for me that would be good for my family and would be good for the earth? When I got clear on the question, then the answer was right there flashing in my brain. It came to me as the pictures I had seen of Erlandsons trees in those articles about the Tree Circus from 1984. After I wrote my first book, I discovered about a dozen of us around the world and it seems that we all started around the same time period, right around the late 1980s or early 1990s, as if the idea were available through the ether. I found two people in Germany, two in England, and a couple in Australia, Israel, and Thailand. Now theres a new fellow in China. Most of them had never heard of Erlandson. They just started thinking, Wouldnt it be neat if I could shape these trees? Everyone came to it in a different way.

Youre trying to grow a living house. Tell me a bit about that.

I believe that if enough people put their minds to using living trees, we can learn to grow houses. I believe that if we put our minds to it, like going to the moon, theres no reason we couldnt all be living in houses where the walls and ceilings are composed of living tree material and there are leaves coming out of the roof. We could accomplish this in one generation. Wed build doorways and windows that the trees would grow around, and also plumbing and electrical conduits. The trees would just swallow all the pipes. Were going to call this arbortecture.

them down and building what we want. We can grow them into what we want and they can stay alive and still give us all of the ecological advantages of living trees. For example, living trees hold the soil. They sequester carbon dioxide from the air and give off oxygen. They provide food. They provide places for wildlife and nature to exist. They help stabilize the climate and mitigate global warming.

What kind of progress has been made?

Ive planted six structures that will eventually be habitable. At this point, theyre considered garden gazebos. I have a young one growing on my place now, but the trees are only about four feet tall at this point. Though its never been done, Im guessing itll take another decade to complete. But we could learn to do it faster. If the parts were grown in a nursery as stock, you could theoretically grow whole panels. If we could do that, the suburbs could become forests again.

Is anyone else trying this?

In Germany, therere two people who are seriously undertaking it, following the lead of Wiechula. Konstantin Kirsch and Herman Block have planted several different houses in different species. Kirsch has the most mature example. He planted 1,300 three-year-old bare-root ash saplings, seven per foot, and wove them together to form an interior court surrounded by five rooms and a bathroom. The trees have all been grafted together crosswise and the walls are really taking shape.

Could you have multi-story living houses?

Depending on the kinds of trees that are used, the sky is the limit. Imagine using redwood trees. Every fifteen or twenty years, you could add another story. You could incorporate some kind of metal flooring that supported the floors between the tree trunks. Or you could even use living branches to create the floors.

Why is it better to make a house out of living trees than dead trees?
My personal desire is to teach ways in which we can live in harmony with trees instead of just going out and cutting
opposite: Axel Erlandson under one of his arborsculptures. Photographer unknown, ca. early 1950s. Courtesy Wilma Erlandson. Postcard sold at the Tree Circus, Santa Cruz, CA. above: Wilma Erlandson and her mother, Leona Erlandson, beside arborsculpture by Axel Erlandson. Photographer unknown, ca. early 1950s. Courtesy Wilma Erlandson. Postcard sold at the Tree Circus, Santa Cruz, CA. overleaf: John Krubsack, knotty chair made of box elder, 1915.

Whats the most extraordinary arborsculpture youve grown?

If I had to pick one, it would probably be the peace sign tree. Its remarkable because the tree itself gave me the idea. I saw how the branching was going and I shaped it from there. I found a tree, in a nursery, which had been topped off at about six feet. It had five branches coming out from where it had been cut. I took the two outside branches and brought them together into a circle. I connected one branch that was going straight up to the top of the circle. By simply grafting the branches together and tying them, all pieces remained alive and continued to get thicker, creating the peace sign.

What will happen to the sculptures as the trees grow?

There are two angles of approach here: growing for harvest and growing for longevity. When I grow a tree to be harvested, I cut it when it reaches its ultimate thickness. For unharvested trees, the amount of negative space in the design determines the how long it takes for the branches to meld together and swallow the design. Trees are in transit, just like we are. They simply add annual rings every year and grow from their tips. They dont push out of the ground. Theyre actually very predictable, once you learn how they grow. Theyre mellow kinetic sculptures. Its a medium that embraces time, that forces you to think about what the tree was like when it was younger, and what will it be like when it gets older. People realize the value in an art project that requires years to take its ultimate shape.

ERnSt FalzEdER


In psychoanalysis, the borders between professional training and personal relationships are much less distinct than its proponents want us to believe. Through the personal analysis of the analyst-to-be, each psychoanalyst becomes part of a genealogy that ultimately goes back to Sigmund Freud and a handful of early pioneers. There exists, in other words, an invisible psychoanalytic family tree. Wouldnt it be interesting to draw it up? Well, I started. At first, I limited myself to prominent analysts of the period until the 1930s, thinking it might be useful as an informal source of reference for my historical work. It was fun to see a map of psychoanalytic filiations develop on the wall in my study. I put a big sheet of paper there, and whenever I came across information in the literature, in archives, or in interviews on who analyzed whom, I joined them with an arrow. (Black for simple analysis, double-headed for mutual analysis, yellow for analysis with relatives, green for supervision, red for analysis plus erotic relationship. Names of unanalyzed analysts are capitalized.) Clusters, patterns, centers of influence, and unexpected connections became visible; nodes, crossroads, and bridges materialized; lines of thought and influence could be traced through this spaghetti junction. The resulting chart was by no means exhaustive, but a couple of facts soon emerged. This was no ordinary family tree: analysands had up to five analytical fathers or mothers, they had repeat analyses with the same parent, they reversed roles by analyzing their parent(s) later on, and they even analyzed each other simultaneously. Much to my chagrin, no genealogical software known to me could handle this web of associations; what came closest, according to two software experts I asked, were either a program for electric circuits or one used by airlines for their flight schedules, which made me free associate about blown fuses and Fear of Flying. This network pervaded all aspects of the lives of those involved, making border violations in every conceivable area the rule and not the exception. Analysts slept with their patients, spouses and lovers analyzed each other or shared an analyst. There has been much discussion about whether Freud had an affair with his sister-in-law Minna Bernays, but what is perhaps even more startling is the idea, brought forward by Lisa Appignanesi and John Forrester, that he might have analyzed her. Sigmund Freud did not only analyze Marie Bonaparte and her lovers Heinz Hartmann and Rudolph Loewenstein (who himself analyzed Bonaparte), but also her daughter Eugnie; her son Pierre was analyzed by Heinz Hartmann. Erich Fromm analyzed Karen Horneys daughter Marianne, while having a relationship with Horney. As a child, Marianne, as well as her sister Renate, had already been analyzed by Melanie Klein. Brigitte, the third daughter, who was to become a well-known actress, should also have been treated by Klein, but, being fourteen years old and strong-willed, she refused to go for analysis at all. Parents analyzed their own children as well as the chil-

dren of their lovers. In 1925, Lou Andreas-Salom remarked to Bloomsbury analyst Alix Strachey that parents were the only proper people to analyze the child. When Alix reported this to her husband James, she added: A shudder ran down my spine. Anna Freuds analysis with her father is obviously the most famous example. (Franz Alexander, who had perhaps had some form of training with Freud himself, analyzed Freuds son Oliver.) But Freud was not the only one to analyze one of his children: Karl Abraham treated his own daughter, Hilda; Carl Gustav Jung his daughter, Agathli; Ernst Kris his two children, Anna and Tony. Melanie Klein analyzed all of her children. Aunts also analysed their nephews: Anna Freuds first patients were two of her nephews, Heinerle Halberstadt and Ernst Halberstadt. Hermine Hug-Hellmuth also analyzed her nephew; he later strangled her to death (in his trial, he described himself as a victim of psychoanalysis). This psychoanalytic horde was indeed a wild one, to take up Freuds expression, and the following generations made strong, although not always successful, efforts to civilize it by structured training, strict guidelines, Ethics Committees, etc. But apart from the fun, and a touch of voyeurism, in delving into this story, is there anything more to it? I only began to understand the significance of my leisure pursuit when I realized that there was a discrepancywith only a few exceptionsbetween how this sort of information was being treated in print, and how it was dealt with in personal letters, memoirs, or informal exchanges. In publications, if psychoanalytic filiations were discussed at all, it was only in passing, as if adding just a little insider gossip or background information. In the profession, however, these therapeutic links were considered to be of paramount importance. Depending on the local orthodoxy, a low Freud factor, or Melanie Klein factor, etc., could be decisive for ones career. The famous developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget, even falsely claimed that his analyst, Sabina Spielrein, had herself been analyzed by Freud, in order to ennoble his analytic family romance by making him a direct grandson of Freud.1 (Piaget, by the way, also analyzed his mother. A failure, not surprisingly.) Half a century after the beginning of what Freud called the psychoanalytic movement, one of its more iconoclastic members, Michael Balint, called attention to the resemblance between the analytic training system, primitive initiation ceremonies, and what he termed apostolic succession. While the members of the first generation of analysts had at best a cursory first-hand experience of analysis (a couple of walks with Freud in Vienna or Karlsbad, some letters from him interpreting their dreams), or were simply anointed by Freud, most of the next generation were either analyzed by Freud himself or underwent the increasingly organized training at one of the psychoanalytic institutes in Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, and London. But these institutes were headed by the members of the so-called Secret Committee, the innermost council of Freuds 32 paladins, who oversaw the correct development of

psychoanalytic theory and technique. They exercised control to a large extent by analyzing the most promising of the candidates, or those who threatened to become troublemakers, and wielded considerable power by referring or not referring patients to trainees. However, as the diagram shows, many of the leading concepts in contemporary psychoanalysis can be traced back, to a surprisingly large extent indeed, not to Freud himself, but to two of his erstwhile most intimate colleagues: the Hungarian Sndor Ferenczi and the Viennese Otto Rosenfeld, who called himself Otto Rank. Both were dismissed as dissidents when Freud fell out with them, and their work fell into oblivion for a long time. While homage is still paid to the Freudian heritage, the influence of his and his daughters genealogical line, representing the mainstream up to the 1960s and 1970s, is on the wane. (There are also some interesting crossovers and throwbacks, not represented in this chart, from the Jungian, Adlerian, and other families.) So, what is the moral of the story? That the history of psychoanalysis is the story of a sect of fanatics, immunizing itself by a method of circular brainwashing and intricate networks of interdependence? An attempt to deliver ammunition to those who want to relegate psychoanalysis to the ashtray of history? This is certainly not my intention. For the most part, these were serious people who earnestly tried to help people and further science in the process. They still do. They experiment, learn from earlier blunders (this graph illustrates a few of them), and make their own. Even so, I confess that I am much more concerned about the current growth of the desire not to know, as Julia Kristeva puts it, and the seemingly triumphant success of the pharmaceutical cocktail over the spoken word. There once was a brilliant, if chilling, ad for a certain tranquilizer: Not a pseudo-solution for problems, but a solution for pseudo-problems. I have worked long enough in psychiatry to know very well that drugs can be of great use, but as far as the endemic pseudo-problems of love and work are concerned (what Freud is said to have called the cornerstones of our humanness), Id rather stick with the blundering proponents of the talking cure.
1 See Journal de Genve, 5 February 1977.

opposite: Detail from Falzeders spaghetti junction. Look out for William Burroughs, Marilyn Monroe, Lou Andreas-Salom, and Andr Gide, among others.

All possible prime knots ranging from 31 to 949. Diagrams by Ali Roth, from Dale Rolfsen, Knots and Links (Berkeley: Publish or Perish Press, 1976).

wHere tHe wIlD tHINgs Are: AN INterVIew wItH keN MIllett


atoms and so on, each with its own characteristics. In fact, theres a continuing interest in this kind of discussion today with string theory that also relates basic particles to complex knot-like configurations.

In mathematical lore, a topologist is a person who cannot tell the difference between a coffee cup and a donut, both objects being topologically the same. Of the many things topologists strive to categorize, one of the more enigmatic is knots. Though knotting is one of humanitys oldest and most widespread activities, at first glance it seems an unlikely subject for the formalisms of mathematics. But at the end of the nineteenth century, mathematicians began to classify these twisted and braided forms. Despite some initial success, by the 1960s knot theory had stagnatedmany of the questions being asked were simply too difficult to answer. In the 1970s, however, the field was revitalized with the introduction of new analytic methods. In addition to theoretical advances, the insights of knot theory are now being brought to bear on problems in biology and chemistry, specifically to understanding the structure and behavior of DNA, proteins, and polymers. Theoretical physicists studying subatomic particles also propose that the world is composed of knotlike contortions in spacetime. Ken Millett, a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a leading knot theorist and a pioneer in the application of knot theory to macro-molecules. Millett is one of the co-discoverers of several classes of knot invariants, polynomial equations used to classify different knot types. His research interests include polygonal modeling of knots, the spatial characteristics of physical knots, ideal knots, and measures of complexity in knotted DNA. Millett is also a leader in the field of mathematics education and is actively involved in math outreach to minority communities across southern California. In November 2005, he gave a talk at the Institute For Figuring in Los Angelesbefore which he was interviewed by IFF director Margaret Wertheim.

How do mathematicians go about formalizing something like tying bits of string?

Because its a human endeavor, the initial efforts were kind of intuitive. In order to capture knotting in a piece of string for example, its necessary to take the two ends and bind them together so that you have a closed system. If you dont do that, you could move the knot off the end, making it disappear as it were. The first questions that arise for mathematicians are basic questions, such as: What does it mean to think of two knots as the same or different? Thats a fundamental question that would separate notions of topology from geometry, and you would get a different answer depending on what kinds of equality or similarity or equivalence you chose. Once you have that, then the question comes as to the size of the population: How many different knots are there? How would you distinguish between two instances of the same knot in different forms? The mathematics comes with trying to create a system and a process for identifying whether or not two knots are equivalent. And also from the desire to establish a complete classification, much as you would do with animals or other things in science. Mathematicians want a complete classification and were still struggling with ways in which to do that effectively.

The population of possible knots is infinite, but how far have mathematicians gone in terms of classifying them? And how do you gauge how far youve got?
In mathematics, the issue of how far along you might be is a very sophisticated question. We know lots of different ways of organizing information about knots. Since its a multidimensional enterprise, its hard to say how far weve got because from some perspectives were doing quite well, but if you change the question a little bit, then were not doing so well. If you organize knots, as was done classically, in terms of their pictures or diagrams, and you judge complexity in terms of these diagrams, then were not doing well. The classical way of studying knots is to project an image of each knot onto a wall, which reduces it to a planar diagram. When you do that, you see a bunch of under- and over-crossings of string within the knot. Now, mathematicians say we should look at the picture with the fewest number of these crossings, what we call the crossing number. Looking at knots this way, were up to seventeen crossings. Even at this level there are enormous numbers of possible knotsfor seventeen crossings, we believe the number to be 8,053,249. The computational task of going beyond that is formidable, and Id have to say that methods we have for distinguishing different knots at this level are really quite primitive. As you increase the number of cross-

How did mathematicians become interested in knot theory?

My understanding is that the mathematical origins came roughly with the studies of Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) involving electromagnetism and what would happen when an electric current is flowing through a wire. That would depend upon the configuration of the wire in space. That led later to the work in England of Lord Kelvin and Peter Guthrie Tait at the end of the nineteenth century. They were really the first to set about classifying configurations of knots, in part because they believed that atoms might be knots in the ether.

Why did anybody think knot theory had application to atoms?

At the end of the nineteenth century, scientists realized the world of knots was a discrete world, that is, different knot types could be distinguished from one another. This raised the question of whether knots were a good model for atoms, which seemed to have a similar characterthere are hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms and carbon 35


knot To mathematicians, a knot is a configuration of crossings within a closed loop. The most basic knota knot without any crossingsis a circle.

To mathematicians, this openended configuration is not formally a knot.

Crossing Number One way of classifying knots is by the crossing number, which is the number of times the string appears to cross over itself when a shadow of the knot is projected onto a flat screen. Knots may appear to have different numbers of crossings depending on how they are arranged and the angle from which they are viewed. The crossing number is the smallest number of crossings in all possible projections.

Unknot An unknot or trivial knot is a knot that can be untwisted to become a simple circle. It is the simplest knot possible.

Polygonal Modeling of knots One way of modeling knots is to simulate the form of the knot with a series of connected line segments. This captures important features of the spatial arrangement of the knot, and is also known as a stick knot.

tame knots and wild knots A tame knot can be modeled with a finite number of line segments, or edges. A wild knot, shown here, requires an infinite number of edges.

knot Addition We can combine knots together to make ever more complex knots, and we call this process knot addition. All knots can be broken down into a sum of irreducible or prime knot components. This process is analogous to the way in which composite numbers can be factored into prime numbers.

ings, it becomes exponentially more complex and at some point becomes computationally intractable.

Can you explain how mathematicians try to distinguish between different knots?
Aside from the crossing number, which is one feature, another measure is to look at how you can model a knot with the smallest number of line segments or edges. This is called polygonal modeling. You can think of this as taking a segmented ruler, like a carpenters rule, and bending it around to form a knot. Now we can ask: Can you model a knot from four edges? It turns out you cant. The simplest knot is the trefoil or cloverleaf knot, and it takes six edges to model that. All knots can be modeled from some number of edgesthis is also what we call a stick knotand the question is, How many edges do you need to represent any particular knot? Thats another measure. Yet another one is to imagine that your knot is inside a sphere. For mathematicians thats not a very exotic task. Now take the complement of the knotthat is the part of the space thats not the knot. In effect youve hollowed out the core of the sphere and created a knot-shaped hole in it. For all except a well-understood family of knots, this complement space can be given a hyperbolic structure and associated with that is a hyperbolic volume. This volume is another measure of the knot. I should also mention another approach Im partly responsible for. There are certain algebraic or polynomial equations that we call knot invariants that are associated with each different knot. In knot tables, youll see lists of numbers that define these equations. For many knots this is the main way we have of characterizing them. Its a pretty chaotic system with all these different propertiesthere are even more than the ones Ive just describedand it would be good if we could identify which are the core properties from which the others derive.

an infinite sequence of these beads, each one half the size of the one before, and each with a tiny trefoil knot inside. At the end, I wrap the string around so its closed. What makes this a wild knot is that its composed of an infinite sequence. This is actually one of the simplest examples you could make. Another way of describing a wild knot is that it can only be modeled by an infinite number of line edges. The opposite of wild is tame, which means you can build it from a finite number of edges, like the trefoil knot I mentioned before. Wild means you cant.

Do wild knots exist in the real world?

In the physical science world, wild knots never happen. The reason is theres a smallest scale at which you can do things. For wild knots, you have to be able to go smaller and smaller, until its infinitesimally small. But heres another question: A knot is a one-dimensional structure; do such things exist as two-dimensional structures? It turns out the answer is yes. We can have whats called a wild sphere. There was confusion about this. The mathematician who first wrote about it, James Waddell Alexander, said, No, its not possible. Then later, in 1924, he published a rebuttal saying heres an examplewhich is now called Alexanders Horned Sphere. Just as a wild knot cannot be modeled with a finite number of line segments, Alexanders Horned Sphere cannot be constructed from gluing together finitely many triangles. It cannot be triangulatedits an infinite polyhedral object.

Do wild things occur in all dimensions?

I am embarrassed to say I dont know for sure. I suspect the answer is yes. I have some recollection that strange things happen in higher dimensional space that might make things easier. But let me tell you about another really charming problem. Imagine that were going to make a knot out of a polygon were going to model it with, say, thirty-two edges. Now were interested in what are the different knot types you can make with precisely thirty-two edges. Theres a kind of space of them, a world of them, a population. And you can sample from them, sort of interview each one and ask, What kind of a knot are you? This is a very classical statistical kind of problem: you have a population and want to identify the constituents. We know there are a finite number of knots you can make with thirty-two edges; what we dont know is whether that number is 600, or 1,000, or 10,000. There is no mathematical theory yet thats even been able to give us a meaningful estimate.

There are knots that are wild and others that are tame. Can you tell us what a wild knot is?
I would explain it by giving you an example and then saying, Think like that. Imagine I take a bunch of beads and were going to make a sort of necklace. Now, I take the first bead and tie a little trefoil knot inside it. Now, next to that I attach another bead, but this time with half the radius, and inside that I make a smaller trefoil knot. Then, next to that, I put yet another bead with half the radius still. Now, imagine I take
right: This is a minimal non-equilateral stick presentation of the 819 knot as computed by Rob Scharein and rendered by KnotPlot. According to standard knot citation, the first number indicates the smallest number of crossings in the knot, and the second subscript number identifies the knots relative degree of complexity in the group of knots with the same minimal number of crossings. KnotPlot, developed by Scharein, is one of the most widely used softwares for constructing, visualizing, and manipulating mathematical knots. It is freely available for most computer platforms at www.knotplot.com.

You must have an answer up to a certain number of edges?

Eight. Thats all we know about right now. It turns out nine is already too complicated. And even for eight edges, theres one case we dont know for sure.

together, you get 1. The knot equivalent of 1 is the trivial knot, or what is also called the unknot. But you can never cancel out any knot and get back to the unknot by adding it to another knot. There is no such thing as knot reciprocals.

For eight edges how many knots are there?

For eight equal-length edges, there are eight or nine different knots, apart from the trivial knot, and we dont even know whether its eight or nine.

It seems extraordinary that something so simple could be so difficult.

Its humbling.

Knot theory began out of an interest in electromagnetism and atoms, but then it became pretty much a theoretical subject. Now its coming back to applications. Can you comment on that?
Knots have historical roots going back to the time people first tried to attach things together using strands of fiber. We have pieces of knotted material going back tens of thousands of years. The physical properties of knots are very important for practical things like fishing and hauling boats, but also because they occur in important biological and physical systems such as polymers and DNA. This is what drives a lot of my research nowthe physical or spatial properties of knots and their evolution in biological systems. DNA, RNA, and proteins can be quite long structures and so their positions in space can be quite complicated. If you take an electron micrograph of these things, you will find lots of complicated structures and from a practical point of view wed like to be able to analyze them.

Can you explain the idea that knots can be seen like numbersyou can add them and subtract them, and there are even the knot equivalents of prime numbers.
That is a theorem that goes back to the 1960s. Remember how we can construct a wild knot by making knots inside little beads? Well, this method also tells you how to combine knots. If you take one knot and put it inside a bead, and a second knot and put it inside a bead, and so on to make a little necklace, that process with some generalization also shows you how to take a knot and reduce it into its atomic piecesits indivisible parts. The way it works is this: take a knot and let us try to find a sphere that intersects with it at two points, so that inside the sphere is one piece of the knot and outside is another. The technique tells us that given any knot, however complex, we can find a finite collection of spheres so that inside each sphere there is a piece of the knot that cannot be broken down any further into simpler pieces. You can move the spheres around so it looks like a chain of beads, each with a little knot inside. Every knot is composed of a unique set of these irreducible knots. Its exactly like building up composite numbers from prime numbers. These irreducible knots are the primes of the knot world. The unique factorization of knots is analogous to the unique factorization of integers. With numbers, we call it multiplication, but with knots we call it addition. One interesting thing about knots is that you can never cancel out a knot by adding it to another knot.

Are pieces of DNA and RNA actually knots? Dont knots have to be closed?
In nature there do exist DNA structures that are closed these are plasmids and they occur in viruses, etc. But its true that a lot of DNA is open-ended. Some of the work Im doing now is to expand classical knot theory so that we can deal with the nature of knotting in open strands. Here, we believe the critical thing is to capture the nature of the knotting that occurs if you freeze their position and we now have a pretty robust strategy for doing that. Another example has to do with whether or not certain kinds of enzymes can act upon DNA, whether they can access specific regions where they could function and change the properties of the DNA. This is more a geometric issue than a topological issue. It changes with the geometry and flexibility of the materials. Why is this important? Well, some structures are known to be critical in diseases like cancer, so the ability to control those is a fundamental medical issue. There are certain molecules, for instance, that have a part thats hydrophobic (water-hating) and other parts that are hydrophilic (water-loving). The hydrophobic parts try to surround themselves so that they are protected from the water by the hydrophilic parts. Now this material is flexible, like a string of spaghetti, so one question is, How will that spaghetti organize itself? How will it fold itself up in space in order to best protect the hydrophobic parts? What are the

So theres no knot equivalent of negative numbers?

No, theres not. But its more accurate to think in terms of reciprocals: If you take the number 2, then its reciprocal is 1/2, and if you multiply 2 and 1/2

spatial properties of a configuration that does this best, and would there be knots in this structure?

How complex are DNA knots?

For biological systems we are definitely interested in very large knots. As were doing our analysis, Ive got knots on my computer with crossing numbers of 5,000. Those are pretty complicated.

Does it astonish you that we can start out with something as apparently simple as a piece of string and 150 years later mathematicians havent remotely exhausted what can be understood about it?
As I look at the history of mathematics, there are many problems we are only beginning to know how to ask, but we dont yet have the intellectual framework or tools to answer. The challenge often is to figure out the questions where you can actually make progress. Thats a real art form that successful mathematicians know how to do. We learn how to ask questions for which we currently have a hope of answering. We can work on impossible questions forever and not get anywherethe art is to ask those questions that we can possibly answer.

Do you see any questions in knot theory being in the potentially impossible class?
Certainly, the classification of knots. I dont think we yet have the tools we need. It may be so hard that some people dont even consider it a legitimate question; its so far beyond what they can even imagine doing. Personally, I think nothing is impossible, its just a matter of time and imagination.
Note: Cabinet acknowledges that this is the third occasion on which the name of fellow Brooklynite Maurice Sendaks beloved book has been purloined for an article title (see issues 4 and 9 for previous occurrences). The next use of this title is slated for issue 44 for an article on Oscar Wildes influence on twentieth-century childrens literature.

opposite left: A tight representation of the 86 knot as rendered by Jason Cantarella with Ted Ashton, Michael Piatek, and Eric Rawdon. Ashton, Cantarella, Piatek, and Rawdon developed an image animation computer program to simulate the process by which knotted tubes tighten. Their code for the program is called RidgeRunner. These images depict the final sequence in the program, the knots final tight shape. opposite right: A tight representation of the 818 knot as rendered by Jason Cantarella with Ted Ashton, Michael Piatek, and Eric Rawdon. right: Electron micrograph of RecA protein-coated DNA trefoil knot generated by E.coli DNA topoisomerase I acting on nicked circular DNA (for more detail see Nature, no. 304, pp. 559-560, 1983). The diameter of the complex is 10 nm. Micrograph courtesy of A. Stasiak, University of Lausanne.



Shooting holes in things is an enduring American pastime. Plinking cans set up on a fence rail. Sniping rats at the town dump. In Bullets by the Billions, a patriotic treatment of the Chrysler Corporations industrial prowess published in 1946, the company boasts that when testing ammunition it had no problem enlisting men who loved guns and marveled that anybody could be found to pay them for shooting. Apparently, the chatter of machine guns and the bark of carbines, pistols and revolvers at Chryslers Evansville, Indiana, ammunition plant was nearly continuous during the war. Today, the serious business of testing the war machine belongs to men in white lab coats, but a close approximation of the old days occurs twice annually at Knob Creek Rangeor KCR as its printed on baseball caps and coffee mugsin Bullitt County, Kentucky. Here anyone can choose from an international buffet of automatic weapons arranged neatly on tables under white canopies and polish off a thirtyround magazine, or a fifty-round belt, for about one dollar per round. I arrived at KCR having never fired an automatic weapon. I wasnt prepared for the sound of 200 machine guns firing simultaneously. The sound wasnt a sound at all, but rather a tidal wave of acoustic energy, a physical force that flattened the hair on my arms and reverberated in my ribcage. Set in a shallow valley with sharply sloping hillsides, KCRs horseshoe-shaped firing range compounded the effect. Sound crashed against the hills and washed back over the line in a feedback loop of explosions and echoes of explosions. But as shooters stopped to reload, it became possible to discern distinct percussive notes. A dissonant medley of small-caliber machine guns filled the middle register. Submachine guns, machine pistols, and assault rifles improvised around the edges in short, snappy riffs, sending streams of empty brass cartridges tinkling to the ground. And throbbing beneath it all like a heartbeatpum pum pum! pum pum pum!was the steady bass of .50-caliber heavy machine guns.

The enemy tanks were now abreast of Lieutenant MURPHYs position, rolling across the open field on both sides of him and firing at him with their cannon and machine guns as they passed ... As we engaged the KRAUT tanks with bazooka and directed artillery fire, I saw Lieutenant MURPHY climb on top of the burning tank destroyer. ... Though smoke was pouring from the open hatch, Lieutenant MURPHY... opened up on the enemy with the TDs 50 caliber machine gun. The destroyer was ... chock full of ammunition and gasoline. ... It was like standing on top of a time bomb. The KRAUTS threw everything they had at Lieutenant MURPHY ... he was standing on the TD chassis, exposed to enemy fire from his ankles to his head and silhouetted against the trees and the snow behind him. As the infantry swarmed up toward the destroyer, they fired their automatic weapons and rifles. ... I could see their white machine gun tracers smash against the hull and turret and then glance off. The small arms fire seemed to be converging in on him from all directions, and I dont understand yet how he came through it alive ... Through all this furious fire, Lieutenant MURPHY stood in his exposed position and fired whenever the Germans attempted to advance. I saw him kill KRAUTS
above: The M85 .50-caliber machine gun mounted on US tanks in World War II.

On 26 January 1945, Company B was out in the open country just beyond a tongue of woods near HOLTZWHIR, FRANCE. At about 1400 hours, the enemy counterattacked with a terrific punch ... Lieutenant MURPHY remained at his CP, which was under a tree in the open meadow, so that he could direct artillery fire on the advancing enemy. Together with a tank destroyer ... he held that rearguard position under raking fire from the German tanks. From my position in the woods, I saw a direct hit from an enemy 88mm gun smash into our tank destroyer ...


in the ditches and ground folds and on the open meadow.... The fight Lieutenant MURPHY put up was the greatest display of guts and courage I have ever seen. There is only one in a million who would be willing to stand up on a burning vehicle, loaded with explosives, and hold off around 250 raging KRAUTS for an hour and do all that when he was wounded. Lieutenant MURPHY not only stood off one of the most rugged and determined squarehead forces I have ever run into, but he must have killed and wounded about a hundred of them with directed artillery and 50 caliber fire.

Excerpted from eyewitness account of Pfc. Anthony V. Abramski, of actions performed by Audie Murphy, for which Murphy later received the Medal of Honor. Murphy was eighteen years old at the time.

M2HBalso known as Ma Deuce or simply the fifty the biggest, longest-serving machine gun in the US arsenal. The only one for rent belonged to an elderly man whose liver-spotted hands shook with Parkinsons tremors. He stood on a wooden pallet, slowly working a hand-cranked autoloader that resembled a meat grinder. I put my name on the list and paid $200 for a 100-round ammunition belt laced with red-tipped incendiary bullets. As I waited my turn, I talkedshoutedto Jason Fischer, a postman from London. He asked me to take a picture of him with two .50-caliber bandoliers slung over his shoulders in the manner of Hollywood action heroes. The bandoliers formed an X in the middle of his black T-shirt, on the front of which was printed the name of a band, Suicidal Tendencies. Yeah, yeah, Jason said, before I could come up with a good postman joke. Ive heard all the postman jokes.

February 1996 Aircrew Protection Division U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory Fort Rucker, Alabama Report No. 96-14 Force Transmission Through Chest Armor During the Defeat of .50-Caliber Rounds A total of 17 pigs were procured for the tests; the WRAIR pathology report documents only 14 pigs, but pathology was not accomplished on pigs 3A-04, 4A-01, and 4U-02. All pigs were domiciled in the USAARL vivarium for 4 to 6 weeks prior to testing. This time was used to screen the animals for disease (CBX, BUN, and stool exam), and to develop a feeding schedule (standard pig diet for mature pigs) that resulted in a test weight of approximately 200 lb and to condition the animals to the environment as well as to the procedures of the experiment itself. The USAARL Veterinary Medicine Branch provided care and husbandry to the animals. The animals were trained by daily rehearsals to make them familiar with the fitting of the body armor, placement in the test cage, moving the cage to the test building, etc.

Audie Murphys life story is the stuff of American myth. He was one of twelve children born to poor Texas sharecropper parents. His father abandoned the family; his mother died when he was seventeen. To help support his five younger brothers and sisters, Murphy tried to join the Marines but was rejected because, at 5 5, he was too short. So he joined the army. After three years of combat, he returned home the most decorated soldier of World War II. A month before atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, Murphy was featured on the cover of Life magazine. Murphy moved to Hollywood at the invitation of James Cagney, and in 1946 he received a bit part in Beyond Glory, as a cadet and roommate of the movies star, Alan Ladd. In 1955, after performing in a series of B-westerns with such titles as The Duel at Silver Creek and Ride Clear of Diablo, Murphy starred in perhaps his best-known film, To Hell and Back, which was based on his autobiography of the same name. Published in 1949, To Hell and Back was a best-seller, and the movie went on to become Universals highest-grossing picture for twenty years, until Jaws broke the record.

Separated from the spectator bleachers by a chain link fence, the firing line was a long, open-air shed covered by a corrugated steel roof. On a typical autumn day, a handful of men would be spread out along the line, sighting in rifles for deer season, or perhaps target shooting. But today the line was crammed to the rafters with ammunition crates, tool lockers, and hundreds of machine guns. A few shooters invited spectators to fire, for a fee, machine guns from their collections. The only gun 41 that interested me was the .50-caliber Browning

Test surrogate The Landrace breed of pig was chosen for its light colored skin, which facilitated the detection of bruising and other soft tissue injuries. Certain metabolic characteristics, such as digestion, blood chemistries, and skin and muscle perfusion, are analogous to the human. The pig also could be purchased in varying sizes from miniature swine to larger farm-bred animals. This enabled us to select animals approximating the weight of a human aviator, and whose chest breadth was similar to a humans, resulting in our being able to use standard chest armor with no modification. Twenty-four hours before testing, a pig was moved from the open-air vivarium into a climate-controlled quarantine room in order to minimize heat stress. The animals feed was stopped on test day at 0600 hours and the pig underwent the routine of cage placement, movement to the test building, and armor fitting. The animal was anesthetized in a calm condition prior to placement in the cage. Immediately posttest, the animals level of consciousness was estimated by direct observation (eye movement). The animal was moved back to the quarantine room and removed from the cage as soon as possible after the impact. The animal was visually observed for alertness and heart rate, and the respiration monitored for the next 3 hours prior to euthanasia.
around his shoulders, just as the English postman had done. He smoothed his pleated chinos and grinned to show that he was in on the joke.

In line ahead of me was an attractive young woman who looked as if shed accidentally stumbled onto the firing range during her morning jog. Now that she was here, she seemed determined to make the best of it. She pulled back her ash-brown hair into a ponytail and fired a test round. Then she paused to wipe her palms on her fleece and fired a few more. She didnt try to aim the gun or touch it any more than was necessary to make it worknothing like the men I observed, all inveterate stylists of destruction, including me. Firing the weapons wasnt good enough for us. We gritted our teeth. We laid on our bellies or let loose from the hip. We tore through belts of ammunition and shouted for more. We wanted to annihilate something, but more importantly, we wanted to be seen annihilating it. The guns were props in some private war movie unspooling inside our skulls. Everywhere at KCR, packs of young men in camouflage battle dress huddled around video camera LCD screens to review their performances. The woman finished the ammunition belt with a long, jerking burst that set her ponytail swinging against the nape of her neck. She smiled, more in relief than pleasure, and stood up to wipe the dust off her track pants. Her husband convinced her to stand next to the .50 for a picture; then he handed over the camera so she could take 42 pictures of him wrapping the ammunition belts

By the time I finished elementary school, Id read every war book in the school library three or four times over. My favorite writer was Cornelius Ryan, author of The Last Battle, A Bridge Too Far, and The Longest Day, which I preferred to the movie version starring John Wayne. The film rendition of A Bridge Too Far, on the other handwith its rambling complexity, its huge cast, and its graphic depiction of violence (for its time)closely approximated Ryans account, and by implication, the battle itself. I also watched every war movie broadcast on one of the two channels we received on our television, and I became something of a critic of the genre. I had little patience for war movies made in the 1940s and 1950s. The sets looked like setsall potted trees, painted backdrops, and high-key lightingand the actors stalked heroically through them with none of the weariness, fear, and skepticism I believed was part and parcel of the soldiers experience. All the vehicles appeared to be drawn from the same US surplus motor
above: Audie Murphy on the cover of Life, 16 July 1945. Most Decorated Soldier Comes Home to the Little Town of Farmsville, Texas. opposite: Still from To Hell and Back. Courtesy Audie Murphy Research Foundation. More info can be found on <www.audiemurphy.com/amrf.htm>.

pool and painted with appropriate insignia. And the only difference between the good guys and the bad guys was that the bad guys always flopped on the ground face-first when shot. Compared to the way in which todays war movies revel in wars grisly horror, these movies seem almost humane. The staged violence is a dramatic element rationalized in the service of character. It might not look authentic, but it has purpose and meaning. To Hell and Back is that kind of movie. The narrative briskly traces Audie Murphys life, each scene building on the theme of self-sacrifice. It begins with Murphys hardscrabble upbringing, and the saintly devotion with which he cares for his younger siblings and ailing mother. As a soldier, Murphy is a reluctant hero. He is shy with women, and he never smokes or drinks alcohol. He refuses battlefield promotions. But when the bullets start flying, he is the first one out of his foxhole. In battle after battle, from Sicily to France, Murphys selfless devotion to his comrades in Company B begins to look more and more like a suicidal death wish.

inadequate to evaluate consciousness. Testing without anesthesiology was abandoned after one trial test due to difficulty in handling the animal. Subsequent to trial run #002, all the animals were anesthetized with Nembutal (pentobarbital sodium) and the anesthesia maintained during the test and post-test period.

Anesthesia The initial protocol for this project specified that the pigs not be anesthetized during the impact of the round. The basic idea was to evaluate the squeal level as well as visual cues to determine its consciousness level because cardio and pulmonary measurements were deemed

In the lulls between shooting sessions, a young man chugged across the firing range on a farm tractor to set up new targets and to drag away the burned-out hulks. Before my turn with the .50, he unchained an old Chrysler New Yorker directly in front of my position. The feverish clicking of ammunition loaders up and down the firing line indicated that the other shooters had noticed it as well. The signal came and the line erupted. Every muzzle pointed at the Chrysler. In a matter of seconds its windows disintegrated and the taillights exploded. Ornamental chrome peeled off the body in curled strips and then tore away. I was afraid there would be nothing left for me. Clenching the .50s spade grips, I pressed the trigger button and drummed a burst through the Chryslers passenger door. Small bits of debris and pebbles quivered in suspended animation beneath the gun barrel. There was surprisingly little recoil, however, considering the size and power of a .50-caliber round, which is almost six inches long from tip to rim, and half an inch in diameterfour times the size of a full-power .30-caliber rifle cartridge.


Objects hit with a .50-caliber round from a distance well in excess of a mile, whether from the Browning M2HB or a .50-caliber rifle of the type favored by US sniper teams fighting in Iraq, absorb a force equivalent to a car dropped from a height of four feet. Delivered on the tip of a projectile, thats enough energy to turn a concrete block into a cloud of dust, or to bore clean through an engine block. Most small-caliber weaponsanything bigger than .50-caliber qualifies as a cannonwont pulverize a mud brick wall and kill whoever may be taking cover on the other side. That might explain why Ma Deuce has been mounted on every type of US vehicle since 1933, from Jeeps to Humvees.

To Hell and Back was released in 1955, a decade after

Murphy had stood alone atop a burning tank in a cold forest somewhere in eastern France, beating back a ferocious German assault with a .50-caliber machine gun. It must have been difficult for Audie Murphy the man to play Audie Murphy the legend. He had no formal training as an actor. He was no Brando. There is no evidence in the movie of Murphy plumbing the depths of his psyche or finding his motivation. Audie Murphy assumes the role of Audie Murphy as if he had been given direct orders to do so. He soldiers dutifully from scene to scene with efficiency and reserve. If one were to take his performance at face value, charging a German machine gun emplacement was only moderately more dangerous than sitting down to dinner with a poor Italian family. Halfway through the movie, Murphys platoon assaults a German-held farmhouse in the dusty Italian countryside. Under fire, the men crawl on their bellies to the farmhouse door and storm inside, killing Germans on the stairway. On the second floor, they clear a room with a grenade blast. The men burst into the room and Murphy levels his Tommy gun at a figure near the wall. A full-length mirror shatters and falls to the floor. After the men realize Murphy has shot his own reflection, one of them jokes that it was the first time hed seen a Texan manage to outdraw himself. Murphy turns to the man and angrily warns him against telling the other men in the platoon what he has done. His voice shakes.

Id paid extra for incendiary ammunition, but the Chryslers sheet-metal skin was too thin to set it off. I had to hit something hard, like the frame or the engine block. I swiveled the .50 around and fired a burst into the roof pillar. It popped free in a white flash and a puff of smoke. The corner of the roof collapsed. The passenger door sagged on its bottom hinge, then flopped on the ground. The interior of the car was a smoldering heap of shredded foam and fabric. I cleared the ammunition box in one long burst, traversing the length of the Chrysler from bumper to bumper. The car disappeared for a moment in a flickering cloud of gray smoke. Orange flames licked at its rear quarter panel from somewhere underneath. I stood up and dusted off my pants. The Chrysler was completely engulfed in fire, the reward of a job well done. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction to watch it burn. But the other shooters werent finished with it. They kept pumping rounds into the charred wreckage with homicidal gusto.

Audie Murphys war experiences troubled him throughout his life. An insomniac, he became addicted to sleeping pills. He was often difficult to get along with. He gambled away three million dollars hed earned as an actor, thoroughbred horse breeder, and country-music songwriter. Two years before he was killed in a private plane crash, in 1971, he was tried and acquitted for attempted murder for his part in a fistfight. Audie Murphys grave is the second-most visited site at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1960, he was honored with star #1558 on Hollywoods Walk of Fame, which is located at the corner of Vine Street and Selma Avenue, on the ground next to a bus-stop bench.

The findings of the Walter Reed veterinarians are at Appendix D. The conclusions from the necropsy are quoted: At three layers of foam, there was evidence of marked skin bruising and pulmonary hemorrhages at the site of impact. At four layers, gross lesions were limited to skin bruising, and microscopically, pulmonary hemorrhages were of mild severity. At five layers, there were multifocal random microscopic pulmonary hemorrhages. All lesions are consistent with blunt trauma. Further studies to define the level of protection need not entail initial live animal studies.

Results revealed 1) one pig out of four died instantly where the 0.55-inch foam was worn; all the pigs survived with the thicker foams; however, even with the 1.07-inch foam, one of four sustained bradycardia for 10 seconds post impact; 2) the pathological and physiological findings indicated the standoff foam used transmitted excessive pressure and caused the trauma noted above; and 3) the PVC standoff foam is highly rate sensitive, causing a threefold pressure increase for the rear surface velocity estimated in the tests.


opposite and preceding: Thirty-seven copies of Cabinet no. 12 (The Enemy) shot twice by an armor-piercing .50-caliber rifle and twice by an incendiary .50-caliber rifle at 100 yards. The marksman, Wayne Gunter, attacked the issues at Knob Creek Shooting Range, West Point, Kentucky in October 2005 under the coaching of Erik Hord. Photos Steve Featherstone. Special thanks to Featherstone and Kenny Sumner. The Enemy issue was chosen to be the subject of this ballistic experiment because, as Cabinets worst-selling issue of all time, huge numbers of extra copies still remain in storage. This was probably the result of the issues conceptually interesting but visually lackluster cover. Its theme also made it an obvious candidate to be pummeled by large-caliber weaponry. Our remaining 719 copies can be purchased for DIY reenactments for $10 each. A pre-shot issue is available for a tax-deductible donation of $100 .

DIVINe wIND: AN INterVIew wItH AtsUsHI tAkAtsUkA

RyO ManabE

On 25 October 1944, a group of Japanese airplanes flew out of a Philippine airfield: a few hours later, the mission was completed as all of them crashed suicidally into the US escort carrier St. Lo and several other naval vessels. This was the first official Kamikaze attack, organized as the last resort of the severely diminished Japanese military. A campaign of aggressive recruitment was conducted to fully mobilize the last and only resource with which Japan was left, namely fighters with a mentality of total self-sacrifice. The monumental honor of single-handedly sinking an enemy ship anesthetized the fear of death, and nearly 2,400 airplanes were said to have followed in the next ten months. However, the abrupt ending of the war in 1945 dismissed the remaining pool of the Kamikaze trainees to unexpectedly, and perhaps unwillingly, resume their ordinary lives in the shadow of once-accepted death. Atsushi Takatsuka, today a retired elementary school art teacher and a practicing painter, has put out a quarterly newsletter for more than twenty years. It has grown into an unprecedented compilation of thoroughly researched facts and hitherto unvoiced testimonies of the surviving Kamikaze pilots. Not only does Takatsukas newsletter help his fellow Kamikaze trainees cope with the stigma of not completing their missions, but also provides a counterpoint to both the wartime glorification of and post-war repugnance toward the Kamikaze program. Ryo Manabe met Takatsuka in Tokyo to discuss the historical profile as well as sociological implications of the notorious operation.

there was a difference between a Kamikaze pilot and a candidate for Kamikaze missions: only immediately prior to an actual sortie did the military issue the ceremonial announcement by which a candidate became a Kamikaze proper. So sometimes people call me an ex-Kamikaze pilot or a survivor of Kamikaze squadrons, but these are contradictory by definition: becoming a Kamikaze inevitably entailed death.

What was the historical context of the Kamikaze tactics?

In the year prior to the end of the war, the number of lost battles was swiftly mounting. This prompted young Japanese officers to confidentially propose various lastresort options to the military council. The Kamikaze strategy was one of them, without being an order handed down by the military authorities.2 For instance, the idea of Kaiten, the suicide torpedo, was conceived as a way to utilize excess torpedoes. The Japanese torpedoes were technically advanced and the Navy was invested in the production. However, as Japan lost more and more battleships, opportunities for launching these torpedoes dramatically decreased. As a result, a number of torpedoes were left unused and piled up in warehouses until they were given a second chance as suicide weapons. Kaiten was a manned torpedo loaded with 1,500 kilos of high explosives, which is more than twice as much as conventional torpedoes. To target enemies and accurately conduct bodily attacks on them, a special periscope was devised. As soon as an enemy vessel was spotted and its location confirmed, Kaiten pilots would climb into the torpedoes, measure the distance and angle, and be launched from their carrier submarine. Once separated, even in a case of unsuccessful attempt, a Kaiten was given no choice but self-destruction in order to maintain the confidentiality of the weapon. This made it possible for the crew of the carrier submarines to determine whether a Kaiten attack was successful or not, by judging the timing of the explosion heard in relation to that of launching. It was around the same time that the aviation Special Attack weapon, Ohka [Cherry Blossom], was invented. It was a heavy glider with 1,200 kilos of explosives loaded in its nose. An Ohka would be carried above an enemy vessel by a mother airplane and released when the target was confirmed. It traded the basic functionalities of an airplane such as maneuverability and speed for the greater impact of an explosive that was beyond the crafts normal loading capacity. But the Ohka shared the same idea of vehicleweapon hybrid with the Kaiten, and in fact with most of the other Special Attack inventions. When the war situation further worsened and the number of surviving fighter jets dropped, patrol jets and even outdated models that had been used only for training were mobilized for the Kamikaze missions. The Ohka eventually came to be utilized for most of the Special Attack missions after the Okinawa Campaign, since, despite their lack of speed, their compact bodies were ideal for flying out of small hidden airports constructed on dry riverbeds or golf courses, and for weaving in and out of mountains at night.

Lets start with the definition. What is Kamikaze?

Kamikaze is shorthand for Kamikaze Special Attack Force [Special Attack being an euphemism for suicide missions]. The phrase Kami-Kaze [Divine Wind] was derived from the late-thirteenth-century incident in which phenomenal typhoons saved Japan from the Mongols.1 As far as suicide missions are concerned, there were non-aviation units as well: the Kaiten [Revolving Heaven] unit, which was also referred to as Human Torpedo; the submarine units Kouryu [Biting Dragon] and Kairyu [Sea Dragon]; the motorboat-based Shinyo [Shaking Ocean] unit, etc. As you can see, none of these is technically Kamikaze, although the distinction is blurred nowadays. The first group of crashdive airplanes with the officially given name of Kamikaze flew out on the 25th of October 1944, and the Kamikaze was dismantled at the end of the war in August of 1945, so in all it lasted only for about ten months. At the earlier stage of the Kamikaze tactics, which is to say the beginning of the Philippines Campaign, the Kamikaze unit consisted only of selected pilots who had completed the official flight training. However, in the latter phase of the campaign, they appointed even those who were still in the middle of 48 training as Kamikaze candidates. And, by the way,

How did individual Kamikaze candidates get selected? Were there any limitations applied?
In the earlier stage of the Kamikaze operation, the Japanese Navy could afford a democratic process of selection. For instance, the first twenty-four Kamikaze pilots were asked by their commander, and none declined his request. When the unexpected recruitment of the Kaiten was announced in my Naval Primary Aviation Course, everyone but the students and a few commanders were ordered to leave. In this highly confidential and intense atmosphere, four-inch square slips were passed around, and five minutes were given to make the decisions: those who wished to switch to the submarine unit were told to put a double circle, those who would leave the decision to their commanders a single circle, and those who only wanted the initial flight career were to leave it blank. In this specific case, there were a few limitations. For instance, oldest sons and only children were excluded due to the concerns for their family structures. Since this particular recruitment was for submarine unit, those who were not skilled in swimming and those who were susceptible to seasickness were disqualified. Generally speaking, the physiabove: A basic mat exercise for the students in the Primary Aviation Course. Photo courtesy Atsushi Takatsuka.

cally fit and relatively older (seventeen and over) ones were preferred. Given these criteria, it is said that roughly onetenth of the applicants were accepted in this recruitment. Shortly after, they were transferred to other training bases that were specific to the Kaiten troops. All this, however, was forced to change dramatically by the spring of 1945. The Secondary Aviation Course was discontinued in order to speed up the transition from the foundational education to the practical training, and the focus of the practical training shifted to the Kamikaze flight itself. The draft became less selective and less voluntary.

What kind of special training was required for the Kamikaze pilots?
Kamikaze attack may sound easy when described merely as a suicidal dive at an enemy. In fact, there was a rumor after the war that even those who did not know exactly how to fly an airplane were appointed for the Kamikaze missions. But there was a specialized training menu for the Kamikaze pilots because, for instance, they needed to be capable of steering the airplanes under extreme gravity when detached from mother carrier aircrafts. Other examples are launching from catapults built on mountaintops and high-altitude flight on newly invented rocket-engine airplanes.


How much damage from the Kamikaze attacks was reported? Besides physical destruction, was symbolic damage also taken into account?
Even today, exact figures are hard to obtain, but according to one report, which is supposed to have matched the American sources, 2,370 Kamikaze planes flew out of the military bases, half of which were confirmed as crash-dived. As a result, 203 ships of the Allied Forces were damaged, 83 of which sank. The damage brought about by the Kaiten unit is still unknown. As for the Shinyo unit, there were only one or two attacks reported to be successful in the Philippines, and only one in Okinawa. Needless to say, gathering and delivering information was extremely difficult during the war, so even the military authorities had no more than a vague idea of how successful the Kamikaze operation would turn out to be. Symbolic damage may have been expected, but personally, I never thought about how threatening I might be to the enemy. I was preoccupied with whether or not I could successfully carry out the mission when the time came.

Well, as a whole military community, I am not sure if we were in good enough shape to put the Kamikaze operation in such a perspective, although there were flyers and posters on the street saying, All One Hundred Million Suicide Attacks, or Move Forward, One Hundred Million! You Are Fireballs. So I would say that Japan certainly had an ideological momentum in which each member of the nation was encouraged to look up to the suicide-attack soldiers and do his or her absolute best for the country.

Did the government promise any type of tangible compensation to the Kamikaze pilots?
Compared to deaths in regular duties, fallen soldiers in the suicide missions were entitled to exceptional posthumous promotions. For example, four-rank promotion would be given to a Private after his death, allowing him to skip the rank of the officer and advance to Second Lieutenant. This was not only to honor his completion of a suicide mission, but it also affected the amount of pension his family would receive
above: The Chiran Requiem, a mural by Katsuyoshi Nakaya depicting six heavenly maidens carrying away the soul of a Kamikaze pilot. Courtesy Chiran Collection, Peace Museum, Kagoshima.

What about the psychological effects on the Japanese side? I assume the Kamikaze strategy fueled patriotism 50 and inspired a sacrificial mentality.

after the war. However, in terms of the motivation for volunteering for Special Attack missions, these forms of tangible compensation were secondary: what came first was a desire for recognition in a strictly hierarchical and highly competitive community. We all experienced an enormous sense of superiority when we were called to serve as Kamikaze candidates, leaving the rest of the group behind. As you can imagine, seventeen or eighteen is generally a time when boys get most competitive, you know? I would say this competitive nature of the youngsters, who comprised a major portion of the Special Attack Force, fueled the suicide operation more than anything.

of the vehicles were simple enough for mass production.

I recall Shinyo was simply a wooden boat with a used Toyota motor attached and loaded with as much explosives as it could physically bear.
Right. As much as 250 kilos of explosives was loaded on one boat. It was true with the Ohka, also. The parts that did not require much structural strength were all made of wood.

Securing a certain number of pilots must have been crucial to the administration of the Kamikaze force. Did the government devise any strategic advertisements?
Aviation was the department that needed the most reinforcement, and in order to supply more pilots, recruitment for the Primary Aviation Course got more aggressive than in previous years. The most immediate change was that they suddenly started talking about this foundation course differently: what used to be a place for dropouts, who were not good enough for the elitist Imperial Naval Academy, was transformed overnight into a decent career choice. But since the number of candidates they acquired did not quite match their expectations, the military authority put pressure on prefecture-level administrators to have each school provide a required number of candidates. The consequence was evident in the size of Class 13 of the Primary Aviation Course to which I belonged: there were 28,000 of us, which is nearly ten times more than the previous class. However, ironically enough, they were confronted with another problem: the number of training facilities and airplanes fell far short of what was needed for that many trainees. I think this was the reason why redesignation of soldiers for marine/submarine suicide units was arranged. Compared to the suicide airplanes, the marine weapons were more easily manufactured and mastered. Nevertheless, the recruitment continued to be uncompromising until the very end of war, for there was nothing else available to keep their hopes high given the worsening situation with the war. It finally reached a point where a troop called Fukuryu [Hidden Dragon] was organized: wearing simple scuba gear, they hid under water along the coast and blew up the landing crafts that passed above them using bamboo sticks with explosives attached to the tips. Another unit, called Doryu [Earth Dragon], specialized in suicide attacks on enemy tanks: they would crawl out of pits with bombs strapped to their bodies and explode right under the tanks.

When it came to war technology, the Germans were mentors to the Japanese. Were the designs of the Kamikaze vehicles influenced by the Germans?
Certainly Japan had an established relationship with the Germans at the time, but it was difficult to maintain communication. For instance, a blueprint for Shusui, Japans first rocket-engine jet, was lost while being transported from Germany because the submarine was destroyed. So the prototype for Shusui was built based on the memories of the surviving officers.

By definition, the Kamikaze mission is one-way. In preparing for the final flight, were there standard rituals such as prayers, songs, dances, or drugs? Was the last meal any different?
No, as far as I know, we did not have any procedure that was particularly formatted. I have heard that some people buried locks of hair in the backyard of a shrine, and others took alcohol to reduce their stress, but this was not required nor recommended by the officers. They just told us to leave a will if we wanted, and some of us did leave final statements in the form of poetry, but the style of mental preparation was principally up to the individual. I wouldnt say the length of military career made no difference in this process of self-control, but by and large, the Kamikaze candidates had already accepted their imminent deaths by the time they had completed the basic training. Besides, I think the sense of attachment to life itself was numbed. In some troops, though, it was a custom that those who had their final sortie scheduled were entitled to a few days of vacation and given permission to visit home.

Wasnt it a concern that sending the pilots home might affect their determination?
No. Remember that love for your family and love for your country perfectly coincided with each other during the war.

As is clear in the examples you have already given us, the unusual nature of suicide missions suggests that the designs of the vehicles were equally unusual.
Yes, the basic idea behind the Kamikaze tactics is that everything is disposable. Therefore, the designs


In your book Yokaren [The Foundation Course], I noticed that the icon of the cherry blossom appears repeatedly. Although it is a popular icon in Japanese literature and poetry throughout history, its omnipresence in the war context was rather surprising. The term cherry blossom is integrated into the title of a war anthem and into the name of a troop and a fighter plane. There was even a war medal in the shape

of a cherry blossom. How would you read the relationships between the Japanese, the cherry blossom, and the Kamikaze mentality?
I think the cherry blossom symbolizes a sense of detachment from life that is characteristic of the Japanese aesthetic. Cherry blossoms are simple, transient, and seem to willingly accept their fate in perishing.3 To praise such simplicity and impermanence is a uniquely Japanese aesthetic, which I think is fair to reference when we think of why the Kamikaze operation was met with such minimal resistance.4

Did the Kamikaze pilots have clear images of the world to come after the completion of their missions? It was said that the 9/11 terrorists believed a very concrete scenario: after the mission they would enter heaven where virgins would be waiting for them, and so on.
In a popular war anthem at the time called Douki no Sakura [Cherry Blossom of Comrades], there was a line: At the floral capital of Yasukuni Shrine, we will bloom on the spring treetops to see each other. I do not think we necessarily had a concrete image of the Yasukuni Shrine, but we vaguely thought that after our deaths we would be enshrined and get to see our comrades who had died before us.5

How do you and other Kamikaze candidates who never had a chance to complete your missions feel about those who did fly?
I have posed that question to numerous ex-Kamikaze pilots whom I have come to know through the newsletter I publish, and the response varies from person to person. Some survivors literally owe their lives to those who flew, since the rule was that in case of sickness or injury, you would be replaced by another pilot who was next in line. So they must have suffered from indescribable feelings to this day. But the bottom line is that it was inevitable. All of us shared the same vision of the suicide mission being our fate, and as individuals, we had no power over the decision of ending the war either. Many of us continue to attend memorial services and recognize the distinguished accomplishment of fellow aviators, but I think those occasions also give us opportunities for sharing the inexplicable resentment and ill feelings that we normally suppress. To me, what has been more excruciating than anything is the fact that my life was forced to dramatically change twice in only two years, regardless of my will. The first was to have been carried away by the decision our school made in response to the prefecture-level recruitment, which was that everyone must volunteer to serve in the military. Before, I had never imagined myself being a serviceman. The second is to have survived rather accidentally despite my acceptance of and resignation to death.

Can you think of any myths involving the Kamikaze? Have you encountered outrageous rumors and absurd misperceptions?
If I come across the word Kamikaze used synonymously with reckless and insane, I certainly cannot help feeling uncomfortable. At the same time, though, I dont think we have made conscious efforts to correct this kind of misinterpretation. For years, many of us hid the fact that we were involved in Kamikaze because the post-imperialist society of Japan quickly developed an antagonistic stance against anything or anyone that was associated with the word Kamikaze. In fact, it sometimes caused trouble when we applied to schools and jobs after the war. There was a term Special Attack Syndrome, which referred to a state in which an ex-member of the Special Attack Force was devastated from the missed opportunity of dying in honor, and yet not able to find an alternative aspiration in life. In my case, looking at the increasingly darkened series of paintings that I started after the war, I finally realized that my memory of Kamikaze was fermenting. That was when I started my research in order to obtain the entire picture of the thing, which was followed by the process of writing. As for my painting, it has still continued to address the theme of distance, a kind of tension between two non-objects.

What prompted you to launch your newsletter?

It has been nearly twenty years, but I consider it a continuation of the book Yokaren because it inherits the original purpose of identifying what felt like murk lying on the bottom of my heart. It has been widely supported by my generation, those who share the same emotional complications, and recently, I have become motivated to enlighten younger generations about the war through this newsletter.

When you first saw the news on September 11, did you make a connection to the Kamikaze?
I had never even thought about the connection between terrorism and the Kamikaze operation until someone pointed it out to me. Then I thought, How could they possibly be thought of as in any way being related when one is a nondiscriminatory attack on citizens and the other is a military strategy targeting battleships! Also, they are completely different in terms of their technical and procedural aspects. But after a while, they started to present some similarities: the Kamikaze and the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were both beliefbased acts of self-destruction, for example. Our Emperor used to be referred to as a human deity, and wor52 shipped as such.

opposite: A device simulating the sensation of flight. One of the required exercises in the Primary Aviation Course. Photo courtesy Atsushi Takatsuka

1 In 1264 and 1281, Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, grandson of the great Genghis Khan, made determined attempts to conquer Japan with massive fleets. Both times, Japan was unprepared to repel such overwhelming and technically advanced military forces, but miraculously timely typhoons destroyed a significant portion of Mongol fleets, forcing them to retreat after just a few days of fighting. These heaven-sent typhoons were later hailed as answers to Japans prayer and became known as Kamikaze, or Divine Wind. See Robert Leckie, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II (New York: Penguin Books, 1995). 2 It was Admiral Takijiro Onishi who inaugurated Kamikaze tactics when he arrived in the Philippines in mid-October 1944. His statement made in October 1944 reads: Once we make the decision to use body-crash tactics, we are sure to win the war. Numerical inferiority will disappear before body-crash operations. See Albert Axell & Hideaki Kase, Kamikaze: Japans Suicide Gods (London: Pearson Education, 2002), p. 36. 3 Inazo Nitobes classic text, Bushido: The Soul of Japan, offers an interesting comparison between the Japanese cherry blossom and the Western rose: We cannot share the admiration of the Europeans for their roses, which lack the simplicity of our flower. Then, too, the thorns that are hidden beneath the sweetness of the rose, the tenacity with which she clings to life, as though loathe or afraid to die rather than drop untimely, preferring to rot on her stem; her showy colors and heavy odorsall these are traits so unlike our flower, which carries no dagger or poison under its beauty, which is ever ready to depart life at the call of nature, whose colors are never gorgeous, and whose light fragrance never palls. See Inazo Nitobe, Bushido: The Soul of Japan (Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 1969), p. 113. 4 During the war, the verb Chiru (literally translated as scatter) was often used as a euphemism for dying in suicide missions. This illustrates the poetic notion of the suicide mission: it is as natural and inevitable as flower petals scattering in the air. 5 The Yasukuni Shrine (Peaceful Country Shrine) in Tokyo was built in 1868 as the guardian shrine of Japan, where fallen servicemen were believed to join the guardian spirits of the nation. It was the only shrine in the country that the Emperor himself visited twice a year to show his respect; being enshrined at Yasukuni was therefore considered a special honor. The post-war Yasukuni, however, has been increasingly a target of criticism, especially in Asian countries, since its glorification extends to controversial figures like General Hideki Tojo, Japans most prominent war criminal. See Axell & Kase, pp. 12-18.


The thematic section of this issue of Cabinet, dedicated to Ruins, has been guest edited by Brian Dillon, the magazines UK editor. As his introductory essay on the following pages demonstrates, Brian has been a peerless guide through the fallen arches, cobwebs, and hidden trails that are necessarily at the heart of any issue addressing ruins. We are grateful to Brian for sharing with us his intellectual curiosity, fascinations, and rigor.

Fragments From a History oF ruin

Brian Dillon

For the eyes that have dwelt on the past, there is no thorough repair.

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

1. For the Renaissance, the ruin was first of all a legible remnant, a repository of written knowledge. Classical ruins had preserved a certain stratum of the linguistic culture of Greece and Rome: the inscriptions on monuments, tombs, and stelae. Other mute objectsfragments of statuary, columns, bits of orphaned arch or broken pedimentcomposed in themselves a kind of script made of gesture, line, and ornament. In 1796, the French archaeologist Antoine Chrysostome Quatremre de Quincy would ask, What is the antique in Rome if not a great book whose pages have been destroyed or ripped out by time, it being left to modern research to fill in the blanks, to bridge the gaps? But already, at the end of the fifteenth century, the rubble of the classical past had been figured as a sort of scattered cipher: a text that was alternately readable and utterly mysterious. It happens most dramatically in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: the curious literary work attributed to one Francesco Colonna and first published in 1499. At the level of its language, the book is strange enough: it is written in a mlange of Greek, Latin, and Italian that led the critic Mario Praz to declare its author the James Joyce of the Quattrocento. Its narrative, however, is equally odd, and tells us a good deal about the conceptual proximity, in this period, of the architectural and the written enigma. The Poliphilo of the title travels in search of his lost love, and finds himself in a territory strewn with classical detritus: capitals, epistyles, cornices, friezes, kiosks, and pyramids; all, as he only dimly discerns, somehow significant. There are obelisks inscribed with hieroglyphics, linking the text to the long tradition of the emblem: the conjunction of word and image in which the reader is meant to divine a moral meaning. It is no accident that the emblem books of the following two centuries are full of such devices as disembodied hands, butchered torsos, and empty masks. Knowledge, so the emblematic ruin insists, is a matter of piecing together a sundered past. 2. In the eighteenth century, the ruin is an image both of natural disaster and of the catastrophes of human history. In fact, it is difficult to tell the two apart. The aesthetics of the sublime is in part an effort to name the confusion that comes over us when faced with wholesale destruction: we experience storms, battles, earthquakes, and revolutions as equally impressive facts of both nature and history. The text in which the universal significance of localized ruin is most elaborately dramatized is Les Ruines, ou Mditation sur les rvolutions des empires, published in Paris in 1792 by the Comte de Volney. He begins: Hail, solitary ruins! holy sepulchres and silent walls! you I invoke; to you I address my prayer. While your aspect averts, with secret terror, the vulgar regard, it excites in my heart the charm of delicious


sentimentssublime contemplations. The author recounts his travels among the ruins of Egypt and Syria, before his eye ostensibly settles on a view of the Valley of the Sepulchres at Palymyra, where Volney had never been (all that follows is imagined on the basis of illustrations by the English archaeologist Robert Wood). Overcome by a religious pensiveness, he imagines the dead streets full of people, falls into a reverie on the cities of Babylon, Persepolis, and Jerusalem, and concludes, as he contemplates silted ports, fallen temples, and ransacked palaces, that the earth itself has become a place of sepulchres. Tears fill his eyes as he imagines contemporary France reduced to the same desuetude. A spectral figure now appears before himthe genius of tombs and ruinsand spirits him high into the air, from which lofty vantage he sees the globe spotted with deserts, fires, and fugitive and desolate peoples. It is a law of nature, Volney surmises, that all things must fall into ruin. But the apparition corrects him: the hideous earthly vision, above which he floats at a sublime distance, is not natural at all. It is, precisely, human history.

3. Romanticism turns the ruin into a symbol of all artistic creation; the literary or painted fragment is more highly prized than the finished or unified work. An aphorism by Friedrich Schlegel states: Many works of the ancients have become fragments. Many works of the moderns are fragments at the time of their origin. Everything tends towards the status of a torso: the incomplete or mutilated hunk of sculpted stone. The Romantic impulse is to valorize the very decay of the classical artifact. In 1779, the painter Henry Fuseli depicted The Artist Overwhelmed by the Grandeur of Antique Ruins: head in hands, he despairs at ever matching the splendor of the statues whose remnants are scattered around him in the form of a massive marble hand and a gargantuan foot. Even finished works are reimagined as mere fragments. For John Keats, the figures on a Grecian urn are frozen in time; they are both immortal and unfulfilled, For ever panting and for ever young; / All breathing human passion far above. For Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, in his Laocon, the classical sculpture represents not a narrative, nor even the frozen climax of a story, but a randomly chosen instant, a single moment that comes to stand for all that is missing. The more we see, writes Lessing, the more we must be able to imagine. And the more we add in our imagination, the more we must think we see ... to present the utmost to the eye is to bind the wings of fancy and compel it, since it cannot soar above the impression made on the senses, to concern itself with weaker images, shunning the visible fullness already represented as a limit beyond which it cannot go. This is the insight behind a poem like Coleridges Kubla Khan: the finished work is a short fragment of the text the poet claims originally to have imagined, before his opium-induced reverie was interrupted and he forgot two hundred lines. The Romantic fragment differs from the earlier literary forms of the maxim, aphorism, and motto in this regard: it refuses to resolve itself into a discrete thought, polished wit-

ticism, or paradox among a collection of similar jeux desprit. The Penses of Pascal are the tiles of a mosaic; the fragments of Romanticismand later of Nietzsche, E. M. Cioran, Walter Benjaminare like the same tesserae scattered as if by some cataclysmic eruption or invasion.

4. The ruin is made meaningful by the interposition, between object and viewer, of a frail human figure. In the art of the Renaissance, ruins appear first of all as a fractured ground or hinterland upon which to present the sacred or suffering body. In several cases, the Savior or saint in question (St. Jerome, for example, in a wilderness of toppled marble) is shown surrounded by the remains of a vanquished pagan world (which is also a reminder of the viewers own inevitable end). Less often, the Virgin is framed by a crumbling arch or tottering pillars. In Mantegnas St. Sebastian (1480), a vast landscape of ruin opens out behind the perforated body of the martyr; in the foreground, where a pair of archers are about to vacate the scene, a single stone foot (all that remains of an adjacent statue) rhymes with the saints. The history of ruins in art records the gradual diminution of the human figure until it is merely a tiny 57 marker of the enormity of the destruction that has

been wrought in the scene. In the seventeenth century, the figures shrink to take part in incidental anecdotes in the foreground, or at the edge, of the central drama of decay. Later, in the paintings of Hubert Robert, human beings clamber like infants among the ruins of ancient Rome, or form a thin frill of activity atop the Bastille, as they begin to raze it to the ground. This dramatic shift in perspectivethe insertion of the human as a scarcely visible vanishing point in the composition of disasteroccurs not long before another set of catastrophes is considered and pictured by geologists. In Charles Lyells Principles of Geology (183033), the earth is revealed to have been lacerated, riven by scarcely imaginable forces. In the accompanying illustrations, the scale of the upheaval is conveyed by a series of minute figures, perched on the edges of volcanoes or precipices: intrepid tourists lured by the spectacle of destruction. The drawings
opposite top: Flix Bonfils, Baalbek, Temple of Jupiter, front view, 1870s. opposite middle: Louis de Clercq, Baalbek (Heliopolis), interior of the Temple of Jupiter, 1859. opposite bottom: douard Denis Baldus, Mission hliographique of 1851, Roman Theater at Arles (detail). above: Dimitrios Constantinou, The Temple of Zeus, 1860.

are the geological equivalents of the Prisons of Piranesi. In 1822, Thomas De Quincey wrote of their endlessly ruined imaginary interiors: Again elevate your eye, and a still more aerial flight of stairs is beheld: and again is poor Piranesi busy on his aspiring labors: and so on, until the unfinished stairs and Piranesi both are lost in the upper gloom of the hall. At last, it seems, the individual quite vanishes into darkness and decay. The human figure reappears, however, within a few years, in the earliest photographs of ancient ruins. In Maxime du Camps photographs of the antiquities of Egypt, there is inevitably (sometimes tucked to the side of the structure in question, so as not to interrupt the composition unduly) the tiny punctuation mark of a local guide, giving some indication of the scale of the monument. But he is a reminder tooas also in the photographs of douard Denis Baldus, taken as part of the French states mission hliographique, that depict the Roman ruins of Franceof the puny stature of the provincial population compared to the grandeur of the ancients (and by extension of the empire that even now is preserving that heritage for the future).

5. If ruination is in part a return to nature, in the nineteenth century nature itself is imagined as already ruined. In the writings of John Ruskin, for example, the natural world appears subject to an alarming erosion: its outlines have begun to blur, its forms to dissolve. Ruskin first bruits his distress at the apparent decomposition of landscape in 1856, in his Modern Painters. The modern landscape painting, he writes, is distinguished (or rather, not distinguished at all) by a certain loss of formal integrity: it has become smoky, cloudy, foggy, ignoble (in the sense, as one says of a gas, of having lost its nobility, its purity). The natural world has come to resemble, in fact, the murky atmosphere of the modern city, or of the industrial hinterland. Still, Ruskin does not definitively blame pollution from factories for the strange phenomenon that, in an essay of 1884, he claims has arrived in the skies above London: The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century. This plague-cloud, says Ruskin, has haunted him since the 1870s. It looks, he claims, partly as if it were made of poisonous smoke; very possibly it may be: there are at least two hundred furnace chimneys in a square of two miles on either side of me. But mere smoke would not blow to and fro in that wild way. It looks more to me as if it were made of dead mens soulssuch of them as are not yet gone where they have to go, and may be flitting hither and thither, doubting, themselves, of the fittest place for them. You know, if there are such things as souls, and if ever any of them haunt places where they have been hurt, there must be many above us, just now, displeased enough! This last is a reference to the dead of the Franco-Prussian War. The passage looks forward, too, to a Europe whose landscape will have been more comprehensively devastated a quarter of a century later, and to another poetic response T. S. Eliots The Waste Land, with its desperate motto: these fragments I have shored against my ruin.

6. In the dialectic between the ruin and nature, the ruin comes to be seen as natural; this is why it is possible to ruin a ruin. A particularly resonant example of a ruin ruined is the archaeological excavation, in 1874, of the Colosseum. In 1855, the English botanist Richard Deacon had published his Flora of the Colosseum, recording the 420 species of plant growing in the site that had been, until the construction of the Crystal Palace in London four years earlier, the largest architectural volume in the world. The six acres of flora included species so rare in Western Europe that their seeds must originally have been carried there, Deacon conjectured, by the animals imported from Asia and Africa for the citys games and spectacles. These precious plants, he writes, form a link in the memory, and teach us hopeful and soothing lessons, amid the sadness of bygone ages: and cold indeed must be the heart that does not respond to their silent appeal; for though without speech, they tell us of the regenerating power which animates the dust of mouldering greatness. By 1870, the vegetation had all been stripped away, and a few years later the floor of the Colosseum was dug out to reveal the cellars and sewers. The area flooded, and the center of the Colosseum remained a lake for five years. In his essay of 1911, The Ruin, the German sociologist Georg Simmel identified the precise relationship that had been disrupted in Rome. Architecture, he writes, is the only art in which the great struggle between the will of the spirit and the necessity of nature issues into real peace, in which the soul in its upward striving and nature in its gravity are held in balance. In the ruin, nature begins to have the upper hand: the brute, downward-dragging, corroding, crumbling power produces a new form, entirely meaningful, comprehensible, differentiated. But at what point can nature be said to have been victorious in this battle between formal spirit and organic substance? The ruin is not the triumph of nature, but an intermediate moment, a fragile equilibrium between persistence and decay. 7. Where imagined future ruins were once the objects of metaphysical fancy or hubristic imperial dreams, the modern ruin is always, to some degree, a palpable, all-tooreal remnant of the future. In 1830, having completed his architectural masterpiece, the Bank of England, Sir John Soane commissioned the artist Joseph Gandy to paint a series of views of the structure in ruins. Ten years later, Lord Macauley wrote of a future New Zealand tourist standing on a broken arch of London Bridge and contemplating, in the midst of a vast solitude, the ruinous dome of St. Pauls Cathedral and a desolate city. (In the 1870s, Gustave Dor would imagine Macauleys New Zealander perched by the banks of the Thames, sketchbook in hand.) The most ambitious projection of the future ruin, however, is that of Albert Speer, who claimed to have seen a concrete hangar, halfdemolished, and been convinced that modern materials were unsuitable to picturesque decay: It was inconceivable that a hunk of rusting metal could one day inspire 59 heroic thoughts like the monuments of the past

Hitler so admired. By using special materials, or by obeying certain laws of statics, one might be able to build structures which, after hundreds, or as we fondly believed, thousands of years, would more or less resemble our Roman models. The modern ruinthe industrial ruin, the defunct image of future leisure (the vacant mall or abandoned cinema), or the specter of Cold-War dreadis in fact always, inevitably, a ruin of the future. And that future seems, retrospectively, to have taken over the entire twentieth century: all of its iconic ruins (Battersea Power Station in London, the atomage archipelago that now stretches across America, the derelict environment of the former Soviet Union) now look like relics of lost futures, whether utopian or dystopian. For how long will the century gone by still look like it has some frail purchase on futurism? Modernist architecture, especially, seems reluctant to cede its franchise on the future: there is still a thrill of things to come to be felt among the ruins of the early part of the century, as if confirming the statement of Vladimir Nabokovs that Robert Smithson was fond of quoting: The future is but the obsolete in reverse.

8. For all its allure, its mystery, its sublime significance, the ruin always totters on the edge of a certain species of kitsch. The pleasure of the ruinthe frisson of decay, distance, destructionis both absolutely unique to the individual wreckage, and endlessly repeatable, like the postcard that is so often its tangible memento. The very recent, industrial ruin is the contemporary equivalent of the picturesque view of a decaying Roman amphitheatre: it is part of an aesthetic now so generalized as to have lost almost all of its charge as a generic image. The twentieth-century ruin has become the preserve of countless urban explorers and enthusiasts of decaying concrete: the evidence of their obsession is spreading across hundreds of websites devoted to haunted asylums, silent foundries, vacant bunkers, and amputated subway stations. The secret of these places, in short, is out: the motivation behind such a fascination for decay is less clear, however. The ruin, still with us after six centuries of obsession, is no longer the image of a lost knowledge, nor of the inevitable return of repressed nature, nor even of a simple nostalgia for modernity. Instead, it seems almost a means of mourning the loss of the aesthetic itself. Ruins show us againjust like the kitsch object a world in which beauty (or sublimity) is sealed off, its derangement safely framed and endlessly repeatable. It is a melancholy world in which, as Adorno put it, no recollection is possible any more, save by way of perdition; eternity appears, not as such, but diffracted through the most perishable.

opposite: Andrea Mantegna, St. Sebastian, 1480. overleaf top: Jean Charles Pradinel, after Flix Philippoteaux, Chateaubriand and Pauline de Beaumont in the Ruins of the Colosseum, illustration from Memoires doutre-tombe. overleaf bottom: Eric Rondepierre, The Trio (Moires series), ca. 1996.


tHe ruined man

GeorGe PenDle

Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.

Edgar Allen Poe, The Fall of The House of Usher It should come as no surprise that the Tower card in the Tarot deckwhich portrays a stone column being struck by lightningsignifies destruction, loss, and ruin. Indeed, the fall of a tower, whether in ancient Babylon or modern America, cannot help but suggest the terrible consequences of hubris. And never has the calamitous obliteration of a grand building been so entwined with one mans fate as in the strange instance of William Beckford and Fonthill Abbey. In 1785, at the tender age of twenty-five, William Beckford, Lord of Fonthill, began the self-imposed exile that was expected of him. On a visit to Powderham Castle the previous year, the married Beckford had dallied with the seventeen-year-old William Courtenay, the future Earl of Devon. The incident had been espied by a servant with calamitous results. Within days, London newspapers were talking of the detestable scene lately acted in Wiltshire, by a pair of fashionable male lovers. The scandal blossomed, spurred on by the fact that Beckford was, as Byron would later christen him, Englands wealthiest son. Born the sole heir to the Lord Mayor of London, Beckford had lived a life of the utmost privilege. At the age of six, he received music lessons from Mozart, himself aged nine. Four years later, upon the death of his father, he inherited vast sugar plantations in the West Indies and an annual income of some 100,000 pounds a year. He was tutored in the seclusion of the family home of Fonthill Splendens, but his mind grew enraptured by tales of the East gleaned from his dead fathers library. He dreamed of the gorgeous, the horrible, the absurd, and the magical, and by the age of twelve he was a confirmed Orientalist. Such an interest was not taken to be a suitable pursuit for a future English gentleman. At thirteen, Beckfords tutor forced him to burn his prized collection of Japanese prints. His family desperately tried to school him to look upon taste and sentiment as acquisitions of less importance than the right use of reason. They could not have failed more dramatically. As Beckford grew older, his interest in the exotic strengthened, providing an enchanting escape from the English phlegm and frostiness that seemed to nip his enthusiasms in the bud. He began writing magical, romantic stories and at the age of twenty-one, his head swimming with both the Arabian Nights and the haunting Carceri dInvenzione etchings of Giovanni Piranesi, he wrote in three days the book on which his reputation restsVathek. Vathek is a novel of rebellion. It tells the fate 61 of the Caliph Vathek, ruler of the Arabian empire,

a man obsessed with embracing sensuality and forbidden knowledge. Yet despite having a giant palace with five wings devoted to the five senses, Vathek remains unfulfilled, for he wished to know every thing. He thus constructs a giant tower, 1,500 steps tall, from which to commune with the stars and penetrate the secrets of heavena gross offense against the divine. One day a mysterious stranger arrives at his court, carrying with him incredible splendors, and offers the Caliph access to the Palace of Subterranean Fire within whose vaults he will be able to contemplate the diadems and inventions of Solomon and the pre-Adamite Sultans. Like Faustus before him, Vathek is enamored of such an offer. He renounces Islam, surrenders to the magic arts, and begins a series of human sacrifices to the malignant spirit that tempts him. After years of bloody corruption, Vathek eventually travels to a deserted mountain where the earth opens beneath him, and he descends into the Palace of Subterranean Fire. The mysterious stranger did not lie; here are the talismans promised him, but a sense of despair and hatred invests the place. The palaces mournful inhabitants stagger to and fro, their hearts consumed by fire, for Vatheks promised land is nothing other than Hell. Now four years after the completion of his great work, Beckford was shunned by society. With his long-suffering but loyal wife in tow, Beckford kicked the dust of England from his heels and began thirteen years of peripatetic wandering across Europe. While his fortune could not buy back his shattered reputation, it did make his movements easier. His traveling retinue included a doctor, baker, cook, valet, three footmen, and twenty-four musicians. His bed traveled with him, as did his cutlery, plates, books, and prints. It was reported that he required any inn at which he stopped to have his rooms repapered for him, and, on one occasion, in Portugal, he was said to have imported a flock of sheep from England to improve the view from his window. He became a rapacious collector, of both objects and people. During the French Revolution, he regularly bought the books, art, and furniture of the fleeing aristocracy and he reputedly made fine purchases in the teeth of both the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France. He was accepted into the highest society in Portugal, France, and Switzerland, but the death of his wife and the increasingly vociferous European wars drove him back to Englands shores in 1796. Still excluded by his peers, Beckford retreated to his estate at Fonthill and directed his ceaseless enthusiasms into creating a concealed kingdom for himself. To keep what he termed unbelievers from intruding upon his fantastical life, he now enclosed the 519 acres of his estate within a twelve-foot-high wall that stretched for seven miles, much to the annoyance of his fox-hunting neighbors (Beckford, unlike most of his class, was a fierce opponent of blood sports). For some years he had been mulling over plans to construct a little pleasure building on his property. But his vision had grown monstrously since his return. With the fashionable architect James Wyatt in his pay, the proposed Fonthill Abbey was to be a vast Gothic structure in the shape of a cross, with the two axes meeting at a central

octagonal building. Almost inevitably, towering over all else, was to be a 300-foot tower, or as Beckford dubbed it, his grand Babel. When building finally began, Beckford was at the heart of construction. Five hundred laborers worked in shifts throughout the day and night, and when they were not progressing quickly enough, Beckford bribed 450 more away from the erection of King George IIIs chapel at Windsor Castle with large quantities of ale. He could regularly be seen traversing the scaffolding, ninety feet in the air, grasping a blazing lamp, shouting, supervising and singing out of tune. In the middle of a letter to a Swiss friend he broke off, Farewell. The Octagon is calling mejentends sa voix. Within Fonthill, Beckford became Vathekeven his own daughters took to calling him our Caliphand his fortune allowed his every sensual desire to be fulfilled. He turned the Abbey into a cornucopia of fine art and furniture. There were cabinets and boxes of Japanese black-and-gold lacquer, giant porcelain jars, yellow damask drapes, alabaster tables, ornate oak ceilings, massive marble fireplaces, and fifty-foot purple curtains hung behind chairs of purest ebony and ivory. On the walls were Rembrandts, Canalettos, Drers, Hogarths, and Poussins, and every surface was covered in crystal, amber, and stone curiosities. The handful of guests Beckford allowed to enter his estate were overawed by what they saw. Attendees of a dinner party, at which Lord Nelson was present, were greeted by Fonthills resident dwarf standing by the Abbeys thirty-five-foot-tall oak doors (a visual trick employed to accentuate their already colossal height). Dinner was served at dusk under the gaze of hooded servants holding flaming torches. Word of the wonders of Fonthill made Beckford an irresistible poison. His neighbors, who still avoided him for his youthful indiscretion, attempted to arrange visits to the Abbey when the master of the house was elsewhere. However, if Beckford caught wind of such a visit, he would surprise his ungracious guests with a banquet, which he knew that etiquette (the same etiquette which saw them spurn him) would compel them to attend.

Whether it was the bibulous bribes to the Abbeys builders or Wyatts preferred construction materials (cement and timber), no sooner was a wing completed than it began to crumble. On one occasion Beckford insisted on having Christmas dinner in the Abbey in spite of the fact that the mortar in the kitchen was still wet. As the servants carried the food into the dining room, the kitchen collapsed behind them. The grand tower soon followed, destroyed in a gale, and when the builders ran out of stone during its rebuilding, Beckford demolished his ancestral home of Fonthill Splendens in order to supplement their materials. The more enmeshed Beckford became in his creation, the more isolated he grew. He set mantraps in the grounds to ward off trespassers and refused visitors alto62 gether. The construction of the Abbey overwhelmed

his life. Some people drink to forget their unhappiness, he wrote, I do not drink, I build. Indeed the crumbling of the Abbey seemed to excite him, offering as it did the chance to begin building once more. His one complaint the second time the tower fell was that he had not been there to witness it. An innate melancholy infused the building. Its dark and dank rooms spoke of a grandiloquence underscored by loss, of majesty exiled. Even the wonders of the Abbeys scale were undercut by something infinitely sad. The painter Constable thought it strange that such a place, so fairy-like and so filling by every standard a role of taste and elegance, should be standing alone in these melancholy regions of the Wiltshire Downs. The same could be said of Beckford himself. By 1817, it was rumored that he was enlivening his solitary existence by ordering lavish meals for twelve at which he would be the sole guest. With twelve servants attending to his needs, he would eat just one dish before leaving the table. In gloom and isolation he lived, his only constant companions his four dogsNephew, Tring, Mrs. Fry, and Viscount Fartleberry. Beckford felt compelled to continue stocking his house with new treasures and to keep rebuilding. Rooms were constantly redesignated and redecorated. Like Vatheks Palace of Subterranean Fire, the Abbey had become both the prize Beckford sought and his eternal punishment. He was trapped in a fairy tale of his own creation. However Beckford was not as blind to his fate as the Caliph Vathek had been. Entombed alive in his crumbling monster he wrote to his son-in-law, I will die ... if I vegetate here many more months in this state of solitary abandonment. As his sugar plantations suffered major reversals, he desperately tried to sell the Abbey, but each attempt was aborted. I am suspended between the sky and the earth, he wrote to one prospective buyer, his words infused with genuine dread, I implore you to release me from this insupportable position. In 1822, a buyer was finally found, and as if by magic Beckford was released from the curse of Fonthill Abbey. I am rid of the Holy Sepulchre, he wrote as if awakening from a nightmare, not for twenty years have I found myself so rich, so independent, so tranquil. When the tower at Fonthill collapsed for the third and final time in December 1825, destroying much of the Abbey, Beckford seemed to have escaped the fate that had been destined for him. Would to God it had been more substantially built! wrote one contemporary architect who visited the site. But as it is, its ruins will tell a tale of wonder.

opposite top: John Buckler, The Ruins of Fonthill Abbey, 1825. opposite bottom: Giovanni Battista Paranesi, The Man in the Rack from Catalogo delle opere date finora alla luce da Gio. Battista Piranesi, 1743-1761.


SuSan Silton
It usually begins mid-spring, between rains. An unremarkable drive from one end of the city to the other is punctuated by the appearance of a house clothed in stripes. By August, there will have been similar sightings of these perverse Christos marking the Los Angeles landscape, their color combinations ranging from yellow/blue to red/yellow/blue to yellow/white. You may even spot one in red, white, and blue, though this patriotic array seems to have fallen out of fashion among fumigation companies, the service sector responsible for bringing striped tents to the neighborhood. It is estimated that termites have been in existence for 250 million years and, according to the National Pest Management Association, cause over $5 billion in damage to US homes each yearmore devastation than all fires and storms combined. It is suggested on several pest-related websites that the weight of all termites on earth outweighs that of all humans. Methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride are the odorless fumigating gases most commonly used in the United States to eradicate drywood termites. The pesticide is circulated through a given structure via a gastight tarpaulin and the amount used is generally determined per cubic feet of building space. Fumigation typically lasts for a period of at least twenty-four hours for maximum effectiveness, following which the building must be adequately aerated. No wonder. On the Air Toxics website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the hazard summary for methyl bromide warns that it is highly toxic. Short and long-term inhalation by humans, it suggests, can lead to neurological effects, as well as degenerative and proliferative lesions in the nasal cavity. The list of specific acute and chronic effects includes pulmonary edema, dizziness, speech impairment, twitching, tremors, and possible kidney failure. If the disease (infestation) itself doesnt kill (ruin) you, then maybe the cure will.

The ruin wrought by 2,000 known species of termites who matter to you and me because they feed on the very foundation of our dwellings, but whose critical ecological purpose is to help break down and recycle up to one third of the annual production of dead woodis neither as overt nor immediate as that wrought, for example, by an earthquake, hurricane, forest fire, or bomb. While any of these disasters offer the opportunity to view destruction in real time, the outward signs of a house being destroyed by termites are much more subtleno breaking news, no CNN headlines, no rush of adrenalin. In fact, the primary visual marker for a structure being consumed by termitesunless, of course, the structure is our own home, in which case we can see their droppingsis the striped tent, which heralds both condition and remedy. In his book The Devils Cloth, Michel Pastoureau traces the stripe to the Middle Ages, in which there are a great number of individualsreal or imaginarywhom society, literature, and iconography endow with striped clothing. In one way or another, they are all outcasts or reprobates, from the Jew and the heretic to the clown and the juggler, and including not only the leper, the hangman, and the prostitute but also the disloyal knight of the Round Table, the madman of the Book of Psalms, and the character of Judas. They all disturb or pervert the established order; they all have more or less to do with the devil. What we regard as the panacea is thus, in the end, a devil in disguise, a bomb in a pretty package. Every year for several months, a host of newly tented structures mark the Los Angeles topography like primitive Burensdazzling and amusing us as alternative architectures, their animated, abstract horizontal and vertical stripes asserting themselves in otherwise monotonous cross-town commutes. Their innocent appearance belies a darker identity, suggesting both the natural disaster already spreading beneath and the unnatural disasters their poisonous contents might yet produce.


elementary Particles: an interview witH Peter BrimBlecomBe

Brian Dillon & Sina najafi

At what point does coarse dust become visible?

What we know is that in historic houses, cleaners see a surface as needing to be cleaned when the coverage is about three percent, though thats very crude. It depends on the color of the dust, what kind of surface shiny or flatand so on. But cleaners behave in general as though three percent is undesirable. What we know about historic libraries, however, is that the cleaners call it a little bit dusty when about six percent is covered with dust. Once it exceeds six percent coverage, they start talking about it being dusty or very dusty, at which point they also express a desire to clean. You could argue that book cleaners are less sensitive than housekeepers who clean historic houses, but thats due to visibility. The accumulation of dust on books and shelves tends to be less easy to see than the accumulation of dust on shiny furniture. Those are the kind of numbers that we derive from the habits of the cleaning staff, but its not really public perception. The cleaning staff is more house-proud than the average visitor, who doesnt look as carefully. However, what happens with the public, which is particularly interesting, is that dust has both negative and positive aspects. The visiting public will often say, Oh wow, the place was slightly dusty and the sunbeams gave it this enormous atmosphere of historicity. There was a wonderful evocative feeling of a building that was lived in, and so on. And then we ask them later if there is anything we should do, and they respond, Yeah, you should give it a decent mop and clean all the dust away. So its a very difficult management problem knowing how to respond to these contradictory public desires.

The kingdom of dust, which until recently represented the threshold of the visible, once extended to every nook and cranny of the world. Traveling by air, dust would land quietly and lay claim to the world around usthe gentlest form of ruination possible. Modern microscopes, easy-to-clean plastic surfaces, and new hygiene standards have challenged dusts dominion. We now know what dust is made of, how to clean it, and even how to produce new forms of it, at times lethal. But though diminished in its scope, dust nevertheless remains.
Dust is an area of interest for Peter Brimblecombe, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of East Anglia. He has researched the many forms of decay, deterioration, and disintegration, including the blackening of buildings by pollution and the effects of such spoiling on public attitudes towards architecture. Much of his work has been on dust accumulation in Britains libraries and historic homes belonging to the National Trust. Brian Dillon and Sina Najafi spoke to him by phone.

Like most people, were not quite sure what dust is. To what extent is dustlibrary dust in particularmade of books and to what extent it is made of people?
That depends on the collection. Obviously if youve got books with leather, then you have leather-rot and so on. But if you go into archives, where there are particularly few people, most of the dust is from boxes that are degrading. And in libraries in historic homes that have many visitors but where the books are not being read, where the library is decorative, then most of the contribution tends to be from people.

Is the public desire for clean historic homes due to the assumption that dust indicates neglect of the national heritage?
Indeed. They read dust as neglect.

Does size factor into the definition of dust used in your field?
Were interested in what we call coarse dustdust that settles onto surfaceswhich tends to be near five microns and above. In the health field, youll find people talking about respirable dust, which is often somewhat smaller in size.

Leaving aside aesthetics and public perception, could you clarify the actual effects of the dust were talking about?
In the public mind, we know that people view dusty properties as unhealthy for their visit. Thats probably not true but its definitely a strong public perception. Another perception, which is more the conservators, is that a dusty property is likely to have insect infestation, the argument being that dust provides food for insects. Thats probably also not true, though there are indications that some kinds of dirt, for example, grease, most certainly feed insects. So those are some of the misinterpretations about dust. But there is the real effect of the chemical damage caused by dust, which is not simply aesthetic. Dust allows corrosion products to build up, and being slightly hydroscopic, it also allows moisture to build up, which is another form of chemical damage. Dust also becomes very strongly embedded over time. If you leave it long enough, it becomes tightly bound to the underlying surfaces. So youve got to remove that dust to restore the artistic or the evidential value of the object, but if aggressive, the cleaning itself ends up damaging the object.

Is that because finer dust has no effect on the kinds of conservation projects youre interested in?
Its not well understood as of yet. All we know is that the dust that most influences the cleaning regimes in both libraries and historic houses is the settling dust, the coarse dust. That is the dust that costs money because it changes the appearance of things, which in turn drives the weekly cleaning budget. Weve focused on coarse dust because of these financial considerations. The effects of finer dust are probably very long term: the gradual accumulation of soiling and the loss of contrast, the gradual blackening of papers 68 or graying of light-colored materials, etc.

Does your research lead to guidelines for cleaners at historic libraries and homes?
There are two reasons you dont want to clean frequently. Housekeepers cost money, and, second, you minimize the damage to the underlying surface by reducing cleaning frequency. We have really been trying to persuade housekeepers to leave things longer, to think more carefully about how the public views the property, not how they themselves view the property, to only clean when necessary. And thats a very difficult battle because in many ways their whole existence is driven by keeping the property spic and span. So were trying to give them tools, like little speckly picture cards of dust accumulation where we can say, You really shouldnt clean until this point. And the other thing we do is to try to lower the actual amount of dust that gets to the objects. For example, if the path you design for visitors to take on their tour moves them further away from an object or area, you lower the dust level. One interesting thing is that people release more dust when theyre very active, when theyre moving around jerkily, so you need to design nice smooth routes through buildings. But also people shed more dust at the beginning of their visit when theyre more excitable and pointing things out than at the end of a visit after thirty rooms when theyre beginning to get a bit tired of seeing yet another state bed. Youve got two further 69 options: getting people to be a little more tolerant of

dust, or trying to sell dust as part of the visitor experience, as a way of conveying a sense of lived-in historicity. Weve deliberately done this as a conservation practice but it also reflects how the house probably looked when it was being lived in. It probably wasnt cleaned every day; it was probably cleaned once a week. In many ways, this daily cleaning regimen probably doesnt reflect historic cleaning habits; but, to be fair, the visitor numbers today are also much higher than they would have been at the time.

There are numerous literary and historical references to the blackening of buildings and to the accompanying aesthetics of this process. In one of your papers, for example, you even cite Horace complaining about a temple being blackened.
above: Examples of sticky samplers used in National Trust libraries to allow staff to see patterns and degree of dust accumulation. These are from the library of Anglessey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, UK. The exposed area of sticky surface is 2 x 2 cm. These samples were exposed on bookshelves for just under three years. The sample code refers to the press and shelf number of the library. Samples collected by the National Trust Book Teams. Sample 22A (top left): short fibers and a fragment of leather from a book binding. Sample 20F (top center): some fibers and a few very long ones. Sample 2A (top right): some fibers and a wood fragment from the shelf. Sample 17E (bottom left): rather few fibers compared to the number of larger dust specks. Sample 4I (bottom center): lots of variously colored fibers shed from visitors to the library. Sample 26J (bottom right): colored fibers, some quite long. Photos Sheila Davies, University of East Anglia.

Does dust also have a long tradition of being discussed? There are scattered remarks about dust, such as Prousts visitors noting that his house was so dirty that he had dust bunnies all over and he apparently even gave them names. But does the literature go beyond just anecdotes?
There are historic comments, and the most obvious ones relate to soot in terms of the use of indoor fireplaces. By Victorian times, the problem became so serious that you find that furnishings and wallpapers tended to be very darkcolored in order to hide the dust. The exception was surfaces that could be washed very readily, like the antimacassar on the backs of chairs, which were white and stood out. Theres the whole question of finding your way around these very dark rooms, because not only were they dark but also they had very low-intensity lighting using candles or gas lamps. This is why they chose to have very bright white coverings, where possible. The other classic strategy was the use of brass indoors, which was very bright and stood out. But the problem goes way back. In the fifteenth century, you see that people will only bring out festive hangings at Christmas, for example, when they can afford to burn wood instead of coal, because wood produces less black soot and causes less damage to the hangings. Of course, housekeepers have written about dust, especially late-eighteenth-century housekeepers, the kind that Jane Austen would talk about in Pride and Prejudice. Many housekeepers kept journals or books where they wrote in great detail about the removal of dust, how frequently it needed removal, and made quite thoughtful observations about dust. Some of the policies in National Trust properties in England have evolved from those housekeepers in the eighteenth century. Were particularly interested in one of the eighteenth-century housekeepers, Susannah Whatman, who describes how you shouldnt let dust settle because after a while its difficult to clean. As the wife of a wealthy paper manufacturer in the 1780s, she illustrates how the more thoughtful housekeepers have written very carefully about the problems of dust.

dust in the presentation of our historic buildingsthe sense of exciting mystery when the dust flies up and sunbeams look so lovely, and then as a sign of neglect. Theres an ambiguity in our modern approach, and theres an ambiguity in the very use of the verb.

Maybe its appropriate to end on a very small note. Can we discuss dust jackets on books? Do they do what the name suggests or are they just a publicity stunt?
Despite their name, dust jackets are not very effective. What happens is that dust sneaks down and accumulates between the jacket and the boards of the book. Book cleaning staff hate dust jackets because you have to take them off, clean them, and then clean the internal boards of the book, which get little lines of dust around them. Dust jackets are quite a nuisance; they basically collect dust.

Historically, the word dust referred to all kinds of matter most obviously, physical remains, corpses, but also to all kinds of dirt and soil. I wonder if youve come across the historical juncture where the word actually starts to mean specifically the kind of dust were talking about now.
Im not sure at what point that takes place. Dust, historically, is not viewed very positivelythink of bite the dust and other expressions such as dusty old buildings, and dusty old books. But theres a real incongruity: dust is actually a very unusual word in that the verb can mean exactly the opposite depending on how it is used. To dust may mean to clear the dust away, or it may mean to dust with snow or to dust with icing sugar. So its an internally ambiguous word, one of only about a dozen such words in English that are internal antonyms. Its interesting 70 in that it reflects the whole ambiguity we have with

tHe arcHaeologist oF modernity

Colin joneS

The life of Thodore Vacquer was lived under the star of anonymity, isolation, and failure. A failed engineer, a failed architect, a highly ambitious author who wrote copiously, if largely indecipherably, yet published next to nothing, Vacquer was an individual whose rebarbative character was such that even his friends referred to him as a wild boar and a permanently rolled-up hedgehog. His desperately unglamorous portrait reveals an oblique gaze half hidden from view by his spectacles, the demeanor of a funeral parlor director, and the rough, embarrassed hands of a workman, not an intellectual. This exemplar of personal failure was an archaeologist employed by the City of Paris who spent all his life excavating, viewing, and reflecting upon the distant past of his native city. Born in 1824, he attended all (and directed many) substantial excavations in Paris between the 1840s and his death in 1899. His life and work thus overlapped with the period in which Paris was refashioned and mythologized as the city of modernity under the inspiration of Baron Haussmann, Emperor Napoleon IIIs Prefect of the Seine from 1853 to 1870. In essence, Vacquer was Haussmanns doppelgnger. For in order to refashion Paris as the city of modernity, Haussmann and his ilk had first to dig down beneath millennia of construction into soil at the historic heart of the city, uncovering a past almost totally unknown and largely unsuspected. Haussmann operated through the erasure of topological features and the material culture and vestigial traces of a discardable past: Vacquer made of those very processes of destruction and reconstruction the substance of his life and work. As Haussmann created a new city out of the filthy, disease-ridden and crime-infested hellhole described in the novels of Balzac and Eugne Sue, Vacquer located a lost one, namely, Roman Lutetia. The Roman baths currently visible on the Boulevard Saint-Michel had long been known (though in fact they were invariably mistaken for the palace of the fourth-century AD Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, who had briefly resided in the city). Through extensive observation and excavation, Vacquer also identified for the first time the late Antique/early medieval rampart on the le de la Cit, the Roman street plan, a theater on the Rue Racine, a forum and associated buildings on the Rue Soufflot, cemeteries out beyond the Luxembourg gardens and in the south-east of the city close to the Gobelins, and, nearby, an amphitheatre (the arnes de Lutce). All this was literally terra incognita for more than a millennium-worth of Parisians. One might have anticipated these discoveries chiming in well with the imperial, classical idiom that had long been a tradition in Parisian urban planning. Indeed, Haussmanns reconstruction of the citywith its quasi-rectilinear street grid, its wide, triumphalist roadways, and its visually aligned power-monumentsdrew heavily on this idiom. Yet 71 Haussmann, like virtually all municipal and national

officials, largely ignored the Roman remains that Vacquer uncovered. This refusal to respond positively to such an astonishing range of Lutetian finds may seem surprising. Yet if Parisians bathed in an aura of Romanitas, they preferred their city to be compared to Rome itself, not the provincial hick town that Lutetia had been. Vacquers ruins and finds were judged simply not grand enough to be worthy of preservation. They contributed nothing to the myth of modernity that Haussmann was busy constructing. In any case, the practice of conservation of heritage (patrimoine) was still relatively in its infancy at this time, and focused less on urban neighborhood sites than on major monuments. And these had been in short supply in Roman Lutetia. If there was grandeur to be found in Pariss ancient past, it lay in the citys medieval remains, not its Roman ruins. (Exactly the opposite was true of Rome itself, whose archaeology in the same period consisted in the callous discarding of the medieval strata so as to reach as the classical substructures that lay beneath.) The failure of the discovered ruins of Lutetia to be incorporated into the Haussmannian mythologization of Paris is clearly evident as regards what was probably Vacquers most significant career findthe arena-amphitheater (arnes). A major part of this was discovered in 1869 during the construction of the Rue Monge on the Left Bank. The site itself was scheduled to be an omnibus depot. Despite Vacquers best efforts, Haussmann gave the green light to the bus depot, privileging current utility over respect for the citys historic fabric. More than ten years later, when further street construction in the neighborhood led to the uncovering of the remainder of the arena site, Vacquer was too disenchanted to give its preservation much thought. It was left to othersfellow archaeologists and amateur conservation enthusiasts led by Victor Hugoto pursue a public campaign for further excavation. It is not possible, Victor Hugo thundered in an open letter to the municipality in 1883, that Paris, the city of the future, should renounce the living proof that it was a city of the past. The arena is an ancient mark of a great city. The municipal council which destroys it would in some manner destroy itself. These words had their effect: conservation was instantly decreed. Even so, archaeologists at the site were soon embarrassed to realize that there was virtually nothing of the original monument still intact on the site. This ancient mark of a great city was little more than a mark. Before it was opened to the public in the early twentieth century, it had to be more or less completely reconstructedthere was simply too little there to think of mere conservation. The arnes de Lutce still lie, largely forgotten and ignored, well off the tourist trail. Their unspectacular modesty makes them the least Haussmannian of Parisian monuments. So does a Roman pedigree that left most Parisians cold. In what other city is it imaginable that one should accede to the most magnificent of local Roman monuments (the bath system) through the Museum of the Middle Ages? Furthermore, Haussmanns construction of Paris as the city of modernity proceeded by establishing a notion of a

captions TK

former state of the cityle Vieux Paristhat was now being historically superseded. Haussmann even employed photographers such as Charles Marville to take before-and-after photographs of his building sites as a way of highlighting the impact of his modernizing mission on Old Paris. Le Vieux Paris thus passed into the Parisian (and indeed global) consciousness as a thing of narrow, cobbled medieval streets, winding mysteriously around piles of rubbish and the occasional street trader (since the need for lengthy exposure times allowed these photographs to reveal little of the hustle and bustle of the streets of Old Paris). Ironically, long after Haussmanns demise, such shots were revalued as icons of the hidden, wistful, and picturesque charm of a city that had stubbornly managed to survive Haussmanns modernization. Squashed uncomfortably between a Haussmannian mythologization of the city as template of modernity and a counter-narrative that prized an Old Paris medieval rather than Roman in substance, Vacquer really had no chance. His failure sprang less from his personal shortcomings than from cultural processes that transcended him and his discoveries. These had scant place for Roman ruins. Only at the very end of the twentieth century did Vacquer start to achieve the renown that the quality of his work justified. His labyrinthine, bewilderingly disorganized personal archivelong unconsulted in the vaults of the Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Parisbecame a shrine for archaeologists seeking to understand Lutetia. For much of the latter had subsequently been lost forever, and

had only ever once been glimpsed with the eyes of eruditionthose of Thodore Vacquer. The neo-Haussmannian wave of urban renewal and monumental building from the 1950s and 1960s onwards re-stimulated urban archaeology and threw up hosts of new discoveries. In 1991, the Muse Carnavalet, dedicated to the history of Paris, decided to take their Roman finds out of the warehouses in which they had been almost entirely consigned since the First World War and to place them on public display. The room in which the finds wereand arelodged was named the Salle Vacquer in his honor. Many of the prize exhibits were indeed his discoveries. In its way, this is a reassuring sign that the city has a more accepting view of its Roman originsand that even a permanently rolled up hedgehog may have his day.

opposite: One of a series of nineteenth-century annual maps depicting the projected road construction of Paris. This 1859 map includes the cut for the new rue Monge (indicated by one of the brown lines in the lower right), which would uncover the arnes de Lutce. below left: Thodore Vacquers sketches of artifacts excavated from the forum on rue Sufflot, ca. 1847. below top right: Photograph of the 1870 excavation of the arnes de Lutce. below bottom right: Contemporary photograph of the arnes de Lutce.


WaleaD BeShty & eriC SChWaB

An elderly German schlepping an Aldi bag marches slowly towards the rear of the seven-story residential block as we alight near the bicycle rack. Stopping, half-turning towards us, the man asks if perhaps we forgot something. Recently two bikes were stolen from here, he continues, disappeared in broad daylight! Youve got to lock up everything these days. He stands and waits for us to answer, not glancing past the bikes to the drooping chain link fence weve just climbed over, beyond which dark foliage swallows most of an abandoned lot. Of course he suspects why were here, where weve just been. He lives here, hes old enough, maybe he knows something. I ask in German if he knows anything about that concrete hulk back there, den Betonklotz da hinten? Not turning his head to look, he surveys us intently under dark Bismarck eyebrows. His diction is crisp, less a Berliner than a Saxon accent. Ja, der Betonklotz, he responds, hesitantly waving in that direction. They built it in 1942, right in the middle of the war, Hitler and his guysthough actually, he explains, it was built by French prisoners of war. Gazing straight at it, he begins to narrate. It was an experiment to test the capacity of the ground underneath. You see over there by the bridge, where theyre doing repair work on the S-Bahn tracks? Its all white sand theyre digging up; all this ground beneath us is Brandenburg sand. Thats why they had to build this massive load-bearing block, diesen Grossbelastungskrper, to see if the ground would hold or how deep it would sink and how fast. Its actually mushroom-shaped, got a stem sticking as deep into the ground as this apartment building is high. The upper Zylinder here is ten meters in diameter, solid concrete, it must weigh five hundred tons, imagine that. Later on, in the 50s and 60s, after the war, engineers from the Technical University came and did more experiments. They installed great long steel tracks down underneath it, and alongside they sunk single cement posts, all for further tests. Im not sure 74 myself what exactly they were after, he says.

He stares straight past the dark grey mass lurking in the overgrowth. Thats all a long time ago, he continues. You know, even before that, Hitler and his architects wanted to build another concrete mass right in the center of town, in the Tiergartena massive plate-shaped foundation slab, wider than the Olympic Stadium, to hold up a gigantic dome that they wanted to build near the Brandenburg Gate. A Volkshalle that would have dwarfed the Reichstag! And then a magnificent boulevard, a Prachtstrasse like the Champs-Elyses, that would run all the way from there right to here, cutting straight through from Kreuzberg to Schneberg, and from here to Tempelhof airport. You know the grand airport building there? That too was built during the Hitlerzeit. From Tempelhof you can still fly to London and Brussels. He stretches out his arm to suggest a flying plane, then, with a sweeping gesture, he continues: And right here they planned to erect this huge triumph arch, twice as large as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, an bergrosse Struktur with four massive concrete pillars holding up four huge archways. Only, before they could start, they wanted to see if this sand underneath us would carry the massive weight. Imagine: each cornerstone was to have inside it a Zylinder as big as this one. The other three were never built, of course. Only this one was finished, and its been standing here almost 60 years now. Well, even the T.U. people gave up their experiments in the 70s. Since then it does nothing but sit there, just like now. Its too big to tear down, its solid concrete, nobody wants to pay for the demolition, you understand? At one point people talked about placing it under protection as an historical site, but nothing ever came of it. Those city building officials still dont know what to do with this monstrosity, dieses Ungeheuer. Hardly anyone even notices it anymore. Crazy. Hitlers architectSpeer was his namehe sat over there in Spandau prison for 20 years, didnt die until the 80s. You know, the best view is from above, you can see the whole thing from the roof. Would you like me to take you up there? Its no problem, I live right here


The test construction for the arch is mentioned in passing in Albert Speers memoirs,1 but to seek it out you need its street address, which is noted in a recent architectural monograph on Speers Berlin.2 Its easily spotted from the Kolonnenbrcke: an innocuous concrete block among the trees, tucked away in an unlikely corner of Schneberg. Its also easy enough to climb the fence, if you ignore the few faded Betreten Verboten signs. You can walk right up to it, poke around behind it, beneath it. But the fact of the matter is, the thing hardly imparts an overwhelming impression: just a big, round cement block, overgrown by foliage and overshadowed by postwar high-rise apartments. Eager efforts to experience this thing as something more than an abandoned mass of concrete meet with unexpected resistance. If only it offered some trace of Nazi insignia, or some odious corner suggesting atrocious actsinstead of a mute grey lump, not nearly huge enough to overwhelm its surroundings, let alone a curious traveler. If it were ruined, at least it would have ruin-value, the notorious Ruinenwert that so preoccupied Hitler and Speer in their grandiose building plans: to erect edifices with such great masses of stone that their ruins would outlast even the Thousand-Year Reich. But the great arch was never completedjust this one, unfinished remnant, not the kind of thing one might wish to visit and contemplate as a monument or a memorial, not the kind that have proliferated in Berlin especially since the period when this thing and things like it were being built. In a way, its sheer grey obtrusiveness echoes the rows of innumerable smaller blocks recently installed as a Holocaust monument in the center of Berlin. Or Berlins few remaining concrete bunkers, which have at least been refitted as scenic lookout towers, or climbing rocks, or movie sets. Though equally indestructible, this block of cement managed to remain altogether useless and ignorednot even a small sign or plaque explains its presence here. Rejected by history, ignored by tourism, indigestible by naturewhats left to learn from this silent, stump75 shaped lump of concrete? A tree stump, at least, can

be made to reveal its own age, its own historyyou simply cut it open and count its concentric rings. That tree lived X years, grew Y high, died in year Zand this was its place in history. But this concrete block? Never finished, never really alive, it never really had its moment in time, its place in historybuilt to test the possibility of its ever reaching its full size, its sheer bulk instead demonstrated its impossibility, the same impossibility that fated it to remain here: too huge to build, too huge to demolish. In a passage from W. G. Sebalds Austerlitz, the author ruminates on a recent conversation with the books buildingobsessed title figure, in which the latter had speculated that only small-scale buildingsforest cottages, bridgekeepers huts, scenic pavilions, even tree houseshad the capacity to evoke a sense of peace, whereas in the case of more massive buildings, the larger they grew beyond reasonable human dimensions, the more they seemed to cast a shadow of their own impending destruction, to the point where they could be reasonably understood only as eventual ruins. So Sebald sets off to explore a massive nineteenth-century fortress in the Belgian countryside, expecting to confront the geometric perfection of towering star-shaped fortifications, a ruined emblem of overbearing military rationality. What the author encounters instead is an inscrutable mass of overbaked and wrinkled concrete that, for him, evokes nothing more than a great beached whale, a faceless and formless monstrosity that seems to demand submission even as it defies every effort to comprehend it.3 Lurking in Sebalds incomprehension is really a kind of stubbornness, a refusal either to submit to the brutal necessity of such masses of concrete or else to retreat into a way of understanding themas ruins or relics conquered by time, superseded by historythat tacitly preserves ones own sense of superiority. Such mental maneuvers only mimic the polarities of scale and mass these edifices impose: we all are free to deplore such brutal measures until the day were relieved to find refuge in them. Perhaps the same stubbornness is what drove Sebald to insist, in On the Natural History of Destruction, that Western civilization had yet to come to grips, even fifty years later, with the devas-

tation inflicted on German cities by Allied bombing in the final years of World War II. Does the victory over unlawful aggression and manifest evil, he wonders, suffice to explain such acts of reciprocal destruction, or does such destruction stand instead as irrefutable proof that the catastrophes which develop, so to speak, in our hands and seem to break out suddenly are a kind of experiment, anticipating the point at which we shall fall away from what we have thought for so long to be our autonomous history and sink back [zurcksinken] into the history of nature?4 A stillborn monstrosity of human ambition. Conceived to commemorate the climax of an era that aimed to last a millennium but destroyed itself in hardly more than a decade. Now just another beached leviathan, slowly sinking back into the sands of timeless natureso maybe the only remaining question is, will it disappear altogether before the present historical era, of industry and capitalism and democracy, of cities and civilization and autonomy, itself sinks back into the nature from whence it sprang?

For Sebald, Hitler and Speers plans to demolish and rebuild great swaths of Berlin were merely a prelude to the actual devastation wrought by Allied bombersboth part of the same experiment in catastrophe. Sebald finds his intuition confirmed in an essay on Speers memoirs by Elias Canetti, the author of Crowds and Power, who obsessively dissects Speer and his bosss increasingly megalomaniacal architectural aspirations as symptoms of the paranoia produced by pure unlimited power. Contemplating these plans, Canetti notes with resignation, makes one aware of the terrible destruction of Germanys cities. You know how it ends, and now suddenly youre shown what began it, in all its scope.5 Indeed, even at the time, it was assumed that Berlins total reconstruction and the ever-expanding plans for total war were inseparable; Speer and Hilter openly discussed the fact that the bombing of Berlin would alleviate some of the need for extensive demolition, not to mention the displacement of tens of thousands of Berliners. For Canetti, this inhumane indifference to the actual human cost marks 76 the central paradox of Speers embrace of Hitlers

plans: building and destruction, which in Hitler existed side-by-side. For wasnt it the unwavering enthusiasm of these same German masses that Hitler hoped would infuse these buildings with an aura of unsurpassable poweras symbols of a mass that will never perish [Symbol fr eine Masse, die nicht mehr zerfllt]?6 What for Canetti remains an unfathomable paradox in the very nature of power, however, for Sebald reflects a far more basic urge: a drive to transcend human life, human history, once and for all. Speers plans, Sebald observed, which nowhere incorporate his societys actual social life, serve as the setting for a dead age; they represent the triumph of ideology, frozen into a monumental panorama. The yearning for total order has no need of life.7 In the end, of course, most of Speers grand plans for Berlin were realized only in miniature as architectural models. Then again, in retrospect it seems clear that these plans and models were never really meant to have a lifesized version. Speer himself recognized that such buildings would be not only bigger than anything yet built but, in effect, beyond all dimension, berdimensional. Indeed, as Speer notes sardonically, he had to design the vast Peoples Hall to contain mass demonstrations of over 150,000, which required such an immense scale that Hitler himself, when he appeared on its grand ceremonial balcony, would literally have disappeared to an optical nothing, zu einem optischen Nichts.8 For Sebald, it is this sort of drastic shift in perspective, more than the buildings themselves, that encapsulates Hitlers most secret desire. Paraphrasing Speers observations, Sebald writes, Thus Hitler was so enthused by the pyramids, those petrified extensions of domination and the irreversibility of death, which obsesses the paranoiac emotionally because deathas the administrators of Kafkas castle well knewrepresents the most random but also the most seamless of all systems of order.9 The quest for perfect order becomes the desire for death only because the paranoiac cannot keep things in the proper perspective. This is a lesson already available in the teachings of Kant: To apprehend the sublimity of the Egyptian pyramids, he explains, one must regard them from the proper distance; viewed from too close up, their sheer scale and upwards sweep overwhelm the individual, but from

too far away they lose their grandeur and appear as simple geometric shapes.10 Perhaps this rule explains the sense of perspective that eludes both Canetti and Speer: where Canettis efforts to fathom the essence of Hitlers power are overwhelmed by the sheer, unfathomable excessiveness of it allthe scale of the masses, the scale of delusion, the scale of brutality11Speers memoirs view recently past events from a contrived distance in which events appear as diminutive as the architectural models he made for Berlin. Unlike those two, who spoke directly from experience, Sebald, writing from the next generation, was perhaps just far enough away to attain the proper lack of distance.

That day in August, we politely declined the old mans offer to join him on the roof; feeling rather like trespassers, we quickly jumped on our bikes and headed back to Kreuzberg. But the lofty perspective we would have gotten wouldnt have matched the one we probably secretly wished for: a supersized neoclassical archway at the apex of a vast, gently sloping boulevard flanked by rows of other neoclassical monstrosities, culminating at the far end with a Superdomelike stone behemoth crowned at the top by a Nazi eagle holding the world in its claws. Or anyway, thats how the scale model looked that Speer constructed for Hitler. The perfect white replica of the future imperial capital, Germania, that one sees in the pictures,12 usually accompanied by the suggestive factoid that it was housed in an exhibition hall of Speers Akademie der Knste that could be conveniently reached from Hitlers Chancellors Headquarters via the adjoining garden, allowing regular midday visits even in the midst of the war. Already in 1925, while still in Munich, Hitler had prepared his own sketches of the Triumph Arch and the domed Peoples Hall, which he presented to Speer as a gift in 1935, and Speer returned the favor in 1939, when he surprised Hitler on his fiftieth birthday with a four-meter-high model of the Triumph Arch that left the Fhrer speechless. Obsessed with seeing his dream city realized within his lifetime, Hitler insisted the 1950 deadline for com77 pleting the first stage of the plans to rebuild central

Berlin (including the dome and arch) be met regardless of the war.13 Indeed, Speer recounts, Hitler was at times too distracted with detailing his plans for the 1950 inauguration of the New Berlin to attend strategy sessions for the imminent invasion of Russia. In 1941, Hitler even delayed executing for six crucial weeks an order, personally urged by Speer, to transfer 30,000 skilled steel workers away from the Triumph Arch construction project to the Russian front to assist in repairing railways destroyed by the Russians as they retreated, railways crucial to resupplying badly overextended German troops facing the onset of the Siberian winter.14 Increasingly beset by the bad news from the Russian front, Speer recalls, Hitler was able to be lively, spontaneous, and relaxed only during those regular visits to his model city; imagining himself as a traveler first arriving in the new southern train station of the imperial capital, he would stoop down and gaze through the triumph arch and down the grand boulevard to the dome, allowing himself to grow so overwhelmed by the miniature spectacle that he would weep with excitement and gratitude.15 In retrospect, Speer contends, he felt disquieted by his own designsespecially the shift in my style from a modernist rendition of early Doric simplicity to a gratuitously supersized, insistently monumental Late Empire stylepost-Napoleonic bombast that Walter Benjamin once all too alluringly termed the style of revolutionary terrorism. For Speer, the style brought to mind the Satrapenarchitekturthe style of the ancient Persian despots, the Satrapsfamiliar to him primarily, he admits, through the garish film sets of ancient Babylon built in the Hollywood hills by Cecil B. DeMille. (One neednt seek out an archive of silent films to view examples of such Satrapenarchitektur. The 2000 French documentary Uncle Saddamfilmed in the years just before the second Gulf Waroffers a virtual tour of Saddam Husseins equally drastic and bombastic plans to rebuild Baghdad, guided by the rulers architect, one of his distant nephews; also the more recent documentary, Gunner Palace, which charts the daily lives of American troops quartered in one of Saddams once lavish but now bombed-out palaces.) It is in another example of Late Empire monumentalism, the colossal Antwerp train station, that Sebald first

encounters Austerlitz, who immediately sets out to explain how Belgium in the era of King Leopold sought to assert its newly won global economic leadership statusthe fruit of its Congolese coloniesby erecting this massive station. Its towering domed entryway was designed to transport the newly arriving traveler into a realm beyond profanity, into a cathedral of world trade and world traffic, its balconies adorned with the pantheon of the new gods of industry Mining, Industry, Transportation, Trade, and Capital. And in the dominant position, as king of these gods, Time itself, in the form of a great clock, whose mechanical hands would control the movements of travelers by synchronizing the trains, and with them all traffic and commerce, across the entire continent, commanding the very interaction of space and time in a way that can only appear to the traveler, once the journey is complete, as something altogether illusory just as always, I recall Austerlitz remarking, our best plans find a way, in the course of their realization, to become their exact opposite.16 The cornerstone of what was to be the worlds tallest triumph arch, sinking slowing into the sandwas it just a kind of inverted hourglass, a perverse historical clock set to measure the speed of civilizations reconstruction against the motionless inevitability of gravitys downward pull? Would such a gravitational sand clock be triumphs exact opposite?

Triumphator, riding his chariot adorned with the trappings of

The experience of rebirth, a rite de passage realized architecturally as the narrow gateway through which the victorious returning troops are allowed to marchthis was probably the original meaning of the triumph arch, according to the anthropologist Ferdinand Noack (in a passage archived in Benjamins Arcades Project).17 Yet if this were the case, Noack reasons, then the porta triumphalis required no grand architecture to achieve its symbolic purpose; two posts and a lintel would have sufficed. By contrast, the Roman triumph arches were embellished with frieze reliefs of scenes from the victorious battle, of parading prisoners and spoils 78 won, reveling soldiers and the victorious general, the

Jupiteralmost as though, beyond their symbolic function as ritual gateways, these arches were also assigned a popular representational function: to animate the victories they symbolized in lively pictorial sequences, like a form of primitive TV. Hitlers arch, however, was conceived not only on a far greater scale but with an altogether different symbolic and representational purpose. Its double eighty-meter-high archways were to remain unadorned on the outside, while on the inside, austerely inscribed in granite, were to be inscribed the names of all 1.8 million Germans who fell in World War I. The triumph arch was thus conceived first of all not to commemorate a past victory but to redeem a loss symbolically creating a rite de passage for masses of already dead soldiers, embedded under the archway in a permanent triumphal march. The Nazi ascendance to power as a reversal of history itself, a rebirth into an era of permanent triumphthis was the triumph of the 1934 film Triumph of the Will. The theme of German rebirth was entrusted to Leni Riefenstahl, whose visual architecture of narrow juxtapositions formed a virtual cinematic triumph archlaughing children riding each others backs in mock chariot races, Nazi officials in shiny convertibles, geometrically arrayed masses of storm troopers stiffly goosestepping through the narrow, ornate streets of old Nuremburg. Even today, watching Riefenstahls propaganda tour de force remains a gripping ordeal; one can hardly imagine its effect on masses of ideologically overstimulated Germans packed into ornate cinema palaces for quasi-compulsory viewings, simultaneously terrorized and enthralled into joining the laughter, cheering the speakers, and marching Sieg-Heil-ing through this narrow cinematic rite de passage into the Nazi worldview. Reportedly it was Hitler himself who insisted on the films title, with its clear reference to the Nietzschean Will to Power. It is less likely that Hitler was aware of a deeper allusion in the word triumph itself. The Latin form triumphus stems from an ancient Greek word, thriambos, an exclamatory term associated with Dionysian religion whose etymological ur-meaning remains unclear (at least

according to the OED). Though commonly connected with the Roman military ceremony, the original connotation of the word triumph is in fact not victory but the arrival of Dionysus, the dying and reborn god whose perennial return was celebrated with revelry and ritual chanting of the word thriambe, thriambe.18 Eventually, the Greek rite morphed into a ritual whereby leaders were invested with divine power; transmitted via the Etruscans to the Romans, it became a ritual whereby the victorious general and his troops were temporarily granted godlike power on their return from battle, in order to then be re-integrated into the civil order. Thus, triumph originally designates not the thrill of victory but its more ambivalent aftermath, the evocation of an enthused sense of divine possession that could only be brought to an end by expending itself in manic celebration. It is hardly a coincidence that this original sense of triumph as a sort of cyclical mass exuberance recurs in early attempts to describe the manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder in individuals: [It] cannot be doubted that in cases of mania the ego and the ego-ideal have fused together, Freud noted, so that the person, in a mood of triumph and self-satisfaction, disturbed by no self-criticism, can enjoy the abolition of his inhibitions, his feelings of consideration for others, and his self-reproaches.19 So ambivalent was the prospect of this recurring triumphal mania thatsome have speculatedthe original Dionysian revelers were not allowed to enter the community through a normal gateway at all and instead a special entry was broken directly through the citys walls: the first triumph arch as a rupture in the barrier separating civilization from chaos, meaningful history from mindless repetition. Was Hitlers triumph arch to be just such a gatewaybetween death and life, defeat and victory, traumatic past and triumphal futurethat never fully opened but now waits, indestructible but slowly sinking, to be finally closed? Certainly, if there was ever an historical era of triumph, it still enduresat least to judge by the words of the American president who recently declared, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the inevitability of freedoms triumph 79 over all its age-old foes.20 Precisely to the extent

that the word triumph has come to signify something like an absolute, final victory, not just the felicitous gaining of the upper hand over worthy competition but the righteous vanquishing of an unworthy foe, it also signifies something pre-ordained, inevitableand thus, presumably, something one is justified in announcing even before the final victory is declared. Yet by this (admittedly mythical) logic, is the triumph gateway something that is opened even before the arch is finally built? Is this the message one gleans from a concrete blocks mute mockery?

Maybe that old Berliner knew even more than we thought; maybe he knew that what we were looking for wasnt buried in the past, or encased in a slowly sinking lump of cement, but simply elsewherecloser to our own backyard. Benjamin again: In the dream in which, before the eyes of each epoch, that epoch which is to follow appears in images, the latter appears wedded to elements of prehistory, that is, of a classless society.21 Perhaps the lifeless society of perfect order that Speer projected in miniature to captivate his patron Hitler, as much as the classless society that Benjamin relegated to an ur-utopians dream, was simply destined to be realized elsewherein some faraway city in a western desert, in a place where the traveler could re-visit the Egyptian pyramids, the Arc dTriomphe, and more Satrapenarchitektur than Speer ever dreamed of. A place where anyone with a few dollars and a desire to get lucky can still discover, as Hunter Thompson (Johnny Depp) remarks in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, what the whole hep world would be doing Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This was the Sixth Reich.
Text by Eric Schwab. Photographs by Walead Beshty. The author dedicates this article to Eli Sagan. He would also like to thank Offer Egozy, Ann Toebbe, and Martin Blume for their thoughtful contributions. All translations from the German are the authors, unless otherwise noted. 1 Albert Speer, Erinnerungen, (Berlin: Propylen, 1969), p. 169. 2 Hans J. Reichhardt and Wolfgang Schche, Von Berlin nach Germania. ber die

Zerstrungen der Reichshauptstadt durch Albert Speers Neugestaltungsplanungen (Berlin: Transit, 1998), pp. 138-39. 3 W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 2001), pp. 31-32. 4 W. G. Sebald, Luftkrieg und Literatur. Zricher Vorlesungen (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 2000), p. 17; Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction, trans. Anthea Bell (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 67 [translation slightly modifiedES]. 5 Elias Canetti, Hitler, nach Speer (1971), in Das Gewissen der Worte (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1981), p. 172. 6 Ibid., p. 174. 7 W. G. Sebald, Summa Scientiae. System und Systemkritik bei Elias Canetti, in Die Beschreibung des Ungluecks. Zur oesterreichischen Literatur von Stifter bis Handke (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1994), p. 95. 8 Speer, Erinnerungen, p. 168. 9 Sebald, Summa Scientiae, p. 95. 10 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, Section 26. 11 See the final sentence of Canettis essay (p. 199): The shame over this situation, the insight into this disgrace, the essence of this false visioneverything comes together here into an indestructible impression. 12 Most recently in a scene from Oliver Hirschbiegels 2004 film Downfall [Der Untergang] in which one first glimpses Hilter (Bruno Ganz) bent down and peering gleefully through the Triumph Arch to see the view down the grand boulevard. 13 Document reproduced in Speer, Erinnerungen, illustration before p. 193:
GENERAL ORDER from: Adolf Hitler, Headquarters, Berlin, June 25th 1940 In the shortest possible time, Berlin must undergo an architectural reshaping in order to assume that outward expression which will be commensurate with the greatness of our victory as the capital city of a mighty new empire. In my view, the realization of this henceforth most important building project of the Reich will be the most important contribution to ultimately securing our victory. I expect its fulfillment by 1950. The same holds true for the reshaping of the cities Munich, Linz, Hamburg, and the Party buildings in Nuremberg. All posts in the service of the Reich, States and Cities as well as the Party shall yield every requested assistance in executing the projects of the General Building Inspector for the Imperial Capitol Berlin. AH

Speer, the General Building Inspector referred to in the note, adds the following caption: After returning from Paris, Hitler received me in the little den at his farmers cottage; he was sitting alone at the table: Prepare an announcement in which I order a total resumption of the Berlin construction projects. Wasnt Paris lovely? But Berlin must become even lovelier! Hitler hand-inscribed the date, which marked the cease-fire with France the date, as Speer remarks, of Hitlers greatest triumph (p.188). 14 Ibid., p. 200. 15 Ibid., p. 147. 16 Sebald, Austerlitz, p. 46. 17 Ferdinand Noack, Triumph und Triumphbogen (1928), quoted in Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1999), p. 97. 18 See H. S. Versnel, Triumphus. An Inquiry into the Origin, Development, and Meaning of the Roman Triumph (Leiden: Brill, 1970), especially pp. 37ff. and 300ff. 19 Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, trans. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1959), p. 82; originally published as Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse (1921). 20 George W. Bush, Securing Freedoms Triumph, The New York Times, 11 September 2002. 21 Walter Benjamin, Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century (ca. 1925/26), in Reflections, trans. Edmund Jephcott (New York: Schocken, 1978), p. 148.


derelict utoPias
Mark SanDerSon

Along the coastline of northern Italy lie a number of distinctive buildings, constructed during the 1930s to function as holiday hostels for the children of industrial workers who were members of the Fascist Party. This kind of building was called a colonia, which translates literally as colony, and its purpose was to promote health and fitness in an atmosphere of sun, sea, and regular exercise. The holidaymakers pledged love and allegiance to Mussolini at daily flag-raising ceremonies. For the purposes of propaganda, there was no higher cause than the nurture of Italys children and no better vision than boys and girls at orderly play in spectacular settings of modern architecture amid panoramic views. Two futures were on display here: the modernization of a nation together with its future citizens.

Despite the lack of consensus about the root causes of Fascism, it articulated itself through a largely coherent corporate identity that ranged from logos to the design of new towns. While most of its slogans and symbols have long since been erased, its remaining architecturevarying in style from theatrical classicism to rationalism to futur81 ismis still recognizable as Fascist. Most common

is a stripped-down classicism that recalls De Chiricos Piazze dItalia paintings, where all architectural form is simplified into disconcerting and faintly menacing scenography. The ideology was intended to manage the population through the production of belief, a technique most effective in the youngMussolinis most famous slogan, Credere, Ubbidire, Combattere,(Believe, Obey, Fight) was posted in every classroom. The Opera Nazionale Balilla (founded in 1926) absorbed and unified all various youth groups into a single cohesive entity and offered Balilla Youth between the ages of eight and fourteen after-school activities including sports, gymnastics, military drills with dummy rifles, and excursions to holiday colonies by the sea or in the mountains. Idyllic spaces and panoramic views coincided with obedience, effort, and militarism. Comradeship was instilled in the Balilla Youthwho played, ate, slept, and marched togetherin an attempt to dislodge older allegiances to place, church, and family.1 Leisure time was being colonized with a view to regulating both consciousness and space.2 Everyone was to be trained in the ways of Fascism, preparing them for a world of work, war, and mass culture.
above: Dormitory at Le Navi in Cattolica. Designed by Clemente Busiri Vici, 1932. Currently a summer youth center, windsurfing school, and art school (two wings were demolished). All photos Mark Sanderson.


Looking at these distinctive buildings todaysome of them derelict, some restored beyond recognition, most of them encroached on by coastal developmentit is hard to imagine the impact they once made on their surroundings when newly built on coastal scrubland and on the outskirts of towns and villages barely touched by tourism. They must have appeared above the landscape like modern ocean liners in small harbors. Some of the colonies were indeed designed to look nautical, through the use of portholes, decks, and streamlined profiles. A colony at Chiavari looks like a thirteen-story conning tower, while the Novarese colony (built in 1934 in just over four months) appears like a cross between a warship and a modern sphinx. Le Navi, designed by Clemente Busiri Vici and built in 1932, is the most explicit example of the nautical style to be found in Europe, certainly in the 1930s: four dormitory wings (only two now remain) in the shape of futuristic ships are drawn up on the sand, arranged around a central block that houses offices and a refectory. Some of the buildings display futurist themes of dynamism either through their streamlined form or through actual dynamic elements that would be activated by the movement of children through them: the Novarese colony had two semi-spiral ramps at each end which acted like turbines as they flushed children from the dormitory floors and siphoned them up again at the days end. The Costanzo Ciano colony features a skeletal bridge carrying two ramps in an X configuration which made a spectacle of the movements of its inmates and ensured an impressive and photogenic scene when used for mass gymnastic displays. Despite its somewhat spectral and austere classicism, typical of late Fascist architecture, the ramp-bridge is also futurist in its triplane-like appearance. It recalls the stage-set for the musical number in Gold Diggers of 1933, Remember My Forgotten Man, choreographed by Busby Berkeley.3 Clearly, the intention was to integrate the theme of play into material form and to signal a distinct function that was essentially without architectural precedent. Another, no less significant, purpose of the colony was to provide a memorable and glamorous experience for the children, one that was in stark contrast to their humdrum everyday existence. The colonies were seen as instruments of modernity, not just through the socialized, robust, and disciplined lifestyle they offered, but also through their power to transform the very nature of their users. As the Italian architect Mario Lab wrote in 1942:
Everything in [the colonies] , from their abstract lines and volumes to their ground plans, which trace the itineraries of life in common everything combines canteen and washrooms, dormitory and gymnasiumto make up the plastic form and visual image with which, for ever, these children will identify the memories of periods spent in school colonies. They will be stimulated for the first time to appreciate architectural form seen not just from the outside, but adopted for living within.4

In the process, a new malleable citizen was supposed to emerge, conditioned to the transience of modernity and purged of traditional, vernacular tastes and habits.5 The war, which scarred many of these holiday resorts, saw some transformed into temporary barracks, hospitals, and stores; later, scavengers and vandals damaged these too. Whereas old ruins are usually photogenicfull of melancholy and absencethese modern ruins evoke a sense of failure, violence, and indifference. (As Nikolaus Pevsner points out, Concrete structures, with walls designed to be rendered white, make bad ruins.6) Ironically, many still operate as hostels, though the military-style dormitories have been subdivided for greater privacy. Some of the hostels operate in view of other, now-derelict colonies. In one example, these juxtapositions are combined in the same structure: the Rosa Maltoni colony, originally co-owned by rail and postal workers, survives, one half restored, one half disused.
1 Camerata, or room-matethe Fascist form of addressderives, like its communist synonym, comrade, from the word for room. 2 Noel OSullivan points out the lasting relevance of Rousseau to activist politics and totalitarian, listing his four main steps to producing patriotic feelings: total politics (no distinctions between the personal and political); total education (with an emphasis on physical exercise to generate competition and emulation); total will (the submerging of all factions in the general will); and total spectacle (making politics into theatre). Noel OSullivan, Fascism (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1983), pp. 93-97. 3 It is worth noting that a preoccupation with representations of obedient and wellmanaged crowds was not only the province of totalitarian regimes. 4 Mario Lab, Larchitettura delle colonie marine italiane, in Mario Lab & Attilio Podesta, Colonie (Milan: Editoriale Domus, 1942), quoted in Fulvio Irace, Building for a New Era: Health Services in the 30s, Domus, no. 659, March 1985, p. 3. 5 Anthony Vidler indicates a useful pantheon of twentieth-century thinkers on the topic of the lost nature of dwelling that collects Freud, Heidegger, Bachelard, Dreyfus and Lukacs. Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992), pp. 7-8. 6 Nikolaus Pevsner, Time and Le Corbusier, Architectural Review, 125, no. 746 (March 1959), p. 160. In Mark Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995), p. xvi.

opposite, left column from top: 1) Disused north half of Colonia Rosa Maltoni in Calambrone. Designed by Angiolo Mazzoni, 1931; south half still used as holiday hostel. 2) Central block and main entrance of Colonia Costanzo Ciano in Milano Marittima. Designed by Mario Loreti, 19371939; abandoned. 3) A day colonia, Pesaro. Architect unknown, ca. 1934; currently a basketball center. 4) Colonia Marina Novarese in Rimini. Designed by Giuseppe Peverelli in 1934; last used in 1975. opposite, middle column from top: 1) Colonia Costanzo Ciano. 2) Colonia Marina Novarese. opposite, right column from top: 1) Main hall of Le Navi. 2) Colonia for girls in Tirrenia. Designed by Mario Paniconi and Giulo Pediconi, 1934; grounds now used as a parking lot in summer months. overleaf: Two views of Le Navi.



Fantastic city: engineering ruins in cold war america

joSePh MaSCo

Few societies have invested as thoroughly in ruins as Cold War America. While most civilizations have experienced moments of self-doubt about their future, perhaps even contemplating the ruins that might be left behind as a testament to their existence, it took American ingenuity to transform ruination into a form of nation-building. The invention of the atomic bomb in 1945, with its potential to transform the earth into intergalactic rubble, proved to be utterly transformative for American society. Nuclear fear would soon provide not only the rationale for a new US geopolitical strategy, which ultimately enveloped the Earth in advanced military technology; it also provided officials with a new means of engaging and disciplining American citizens in everyday life. For US policymakers, the Cold War arms race transformed the apocalypse into both a techno-scientific project and a political resource. Linked to the new global project of Soviet containment was thus the creation of an entirely new kind of social contract in the US , one based not on the protection and improvement of everyday life but rather on the contemplation of ruins. In the 1950s, the mock evacuation of cities under the rubric of civil defense, as well as the scientific project of testing Americas industrial and material wealth against the power of the exploding bomb, produced a new commitment to engineering ruins as a form of national theater. Civic leaders and politicians led evacuations of the city for television cameras; the media compared blast damage to fire damage to fallout, and estimated the expected casualty rates had the attack been real. It was no longer a perverse exercise to imagine ones own home and city devastated, on fire and in ruins; it was a formidable public ritual, a core act of official governance, techno-scientific practice, and democratic participation. Indeed, in early Cold War America it became a civic obligation to collectively imagine, and at times theatrically enact, the physical destruction of the nation-state. Cold War ruins are, consequently, not the end of the story, but rather always offer a new beginning, becoming the markers of a new kind of social intimacy grounded in highly detailed renderings of theatrically rehearsed mass violence. The intent of these public spectacles was not defense in the classic sense of avoiding violence or destruction but rather a psychological reprogramming of the American public for life in a nuclear age. After the Soviets became the worlds second nuclear power in 1949, US policy makers were concerned that nuclear terror would become so profound that the American public would be unwilling to support the military and geopolitical agenda of the expanding Cold War. The immediate challenge, as US nuclear strategists saw it, was to avoid an apathetic public (which might just give up) on the one hand or a terrorized public (unable to function cognitively) on the other. For the Eisenhower 85 administration, the solution was a new kind of social

engineering project, pursued with help from the advertising industry, to teach citizens a specific kind of nuclear fear. As Guy Oakes argues in The Imaginary War, the Civil Defense programs of the 1950s and 60s were designed to emotionally manage US citizens. The formal goal of this state program, he notes, was to transform nuclear terror, which was interpreted by officials as a paralyzing emotion, into nuclear fear, an affective state that would theoretically allow citizens to function in a time of crisis. In addition to turning the domestic space of the home into the front line of the Cold War, Civil Defense argued that citizens should be prepared every second of the day to deal with a potential nuclear attack. In doing so, the Civil Defense program shifted responsibility for nuclear war from the state to its citizens by making public panic the enemy, not nuclear war itself. The Civil Defense sloganSurvival is your businesssums up the new colonization of everyday life with nuclear logics and fear. But as one key policy manual from the RAND Corporation cautioned, this psychological inoculation needed to be finely calibrated: the destruction had to be real enough to mobilize the public but not so real as to invalidate the concept of defense altogether (a distinct challenge in an age of increasingly powerful thermonuclear weapons which offered no hope of survival to urban residents). The federal response was an elaborate propaganda campaign aimed at producing a new generation of Americans psychologically prepared to fight a long cold war, or a very short nuclear one. Here is how a US Civil Defense film from 1956 entitled, Lets Face It, described the problem posed by nuclear warfare:
The tremendous effects of heat and blast on modern structures raise important questions concerning their durability and safety. Likewise, the amount of damage done to our industrial potential will have a serious effect upon our ability to recover from an atomic attack. Transportation facilities are vital to a modern city. The nations lifeblood could be cut if its traffic arteries were severed. These questions are of great interest not only to citizens in metropolitan centers but also to those in rural areas who may be in a danger zone because of radioactive fallout from todays larger weapons. We could get many of the answers to these questions by constructing a complete city at our Nevada Proving Ground and then exploding a nuclear bomb over it. We could study the effects of damage over a wide area, under all conditions, and plan civil defense activities accordingly. But such an undertaking is not feasible.

In this form of Cold War thinking, one must destroy the city to understand how to protect it: ruins, in other words, hold the key to national survival. The narrator then reveals that they have built, not a metropolis, but rather representative units of a test city for just that purpose:
overleaf: Stills from lets Face it, a 1956 film created by the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.

With steel and stone and brick and mortar, with precision and skillas though it were to last a thousand years. But it is a weird, fantastic city. A creation right out of science fiction. A city like no other on the face of the earth. Homes, neat and clean and completely furnished, that will never be occupied. Bridges, massive girders of steel spanning the empty desert. Railway tracks that lead to nowhere, for this is the end of the line. But every element of these tests is carefully planned as to its design and location in the area. A variety of materials and building techniques are often represented in a single structure. Every brick, beam, and board will have its story to tell. When pieced together these will give some of the answers, and some of the information we need to survive in the nuclear age.

tion much as our parents and grandparents did in the 1950s. These techno-aesthetic displays of finely rendered destruction are a unique form of American expressive culture, the product of a Cold War nuclear logic that continues to haunt Americato inform how it experiences acts of mass violence and how it then engages the world. When contemplating these black-and-white images from 1955, imagine if it were otherwise, imagine if we had no such use for ruins.

A weird, fantastic city, indeed. The Nevada Test Site was the location not of simulated nuclear war but of the real thingas the Atomic Energy Commission built homes, industrial plants, roads, bridges, railroads, forests, and farms to test against the bomb. The images presented here are from 1955s Operation Cuethe largest Civil Defense spectacle of its time. The mannequins that populated the test sites houses and cars are stand-ins for the American public, who watched the destruction live on television. The state-of-the-art consumer items donated from American industry (cars, furniture, clothing, appliances, radios, and televisions) turned this weird city into a capitalist dream space; an idealized American suburb, fresh off the assembly line. The mannequin families that were intact after the explosion were soon on a national tour, complete with tattered and scorched clothing. J.C. Penneys Department store, which provided the garments, displayed these post-nuclear families in its stores around the country with a sign declaring, This could be you! Inverting a standard advertising appeal, it was not the blue suit or polka dot dress that was to be the focal point of viewers identification. It was the mannequin as survivor, whose very existence seemed to illustrate that you could indeed beat the a-bomb, as one Civil Defense film of the era promised. Invited to contemplate their life among the ruins or as mannequins, the national audience for Operation Cue was caught in a sea of mixed messages about the power of the state to control the bomb. These melodramas of the nuclear age did not resolve the problem of the bomb, but rather, focused citizens on emotional self-discipline. It asked them to live on the knifes edge of psychotic contradiction, with the stakes being nothing less than survival itself. One afterimage of Cold War emotional management campaigns is found in our continued pleasure in and commitment to making ruins and then searching the wreckage like tea leaves for signs about our future. While we no longer detonate atomic bombs on fabricated cities populated with mannequins, we do have yearly spectacles in which Americas cities are reduced to smoldering ruins all in the name of fun. The Hollywood blockbuster todaywith its fearsome life-ending asteroids, aliens, earthquakes, floods, 88 and warsallows us to rehearse our own destruc-

time mirror

jereMy Millar

In Andrei Tarkovskys 1979 film Stalkerbased partly on Roadside Picnic, a novel by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky the Stalker of the title is a mysterious guide who leads two men, the Writer and the Professor, into the fenced-off and heavily guarded territory known as the Zone. There, it is said, they will be granted their greatest wish. The power of the Zone, it is suggested, derives from a meteorite that landed there many years earlier. The Stalker leaves behind his wife and his young daughter (she is disabled, perhaps as a result of her fathers earlier forays into the toxic Zone). The lush countryside of the Zone is dotted with military remains; at its centre is an enigmatic complex of derelict buildings, at the heart of which is the room that may possess the secret the trio have come to find.
The central section of the film was shot in a few days at an abandoned hydro-electric power plant near Tallinn, in Estonia. When Tarkovsky and his crew returned to Moscow, they discovered that the film had been improperly developed at Mosfilm Studios, and would have to be shot again. On their return, it was much colder; the discomfort on the faces of the characters is perhaps not only metaphysical. Some who worked on the film have even claimed that the arduous experience hastened the deaths of certain members of the crew. In July 2005, the English artist, writer, and curator Jeremy Millar went to Estonia to explore the real landscape of the fictional Zone. There are in fact two power plants a quarter of a mile apart, one of which has been put into service again; the other remains derelict. Millar went, he says, to see if the Zone was still active. He traveled without any reminders of Stalker, only his memory of individual shots, some of which he found he could reconstruct. Others remained, as the Stalker says of the Zone, capricious. Miller discovered that the interior to one building (in Tarkovskys film, the Writer approaches it before the building itself seems to warn him off) bore no relation to its filmed twin: the heart of the Zone, after all, seems to have been invented in a studio in Moscow. The film that results from Millars research will be called Ajapeegel, which is Estonian for Time-Mirror, and the title of a book on Tarkovsky that Millar found in a second-hand shop in Tallinn. Brian Dillon


roBert des ruines

nina DuBin

we contemplate the ravages of time, and in our imagination we scatter the rubble of the very buildings in which we live over the ground; in that moment solitude and silence prevail around us, we are the sole survivors of an entire nation that is no more. Such is the first tenet of the poetics of ruins.

Denis Diderot, The Salon of 1767

an unprecedented catastrophe can be a far cry from an unlimited one.

Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War

For the RAND Corporation intellectual Herman Kahn, to contemplate the future was to court catastrophe. Kahn has been described as avant-garde in his thinking; he might equally be cast as an avatar of the long eighteenth century. For it was the age of Diderot that inaugurated our modern fascination not only with the future, but with catastrophe as wella fascination that appears to have first found expression in the eighteenth-century cult of ruins.
Diderot holds the distinction of formulating the poetics of ruins, but he was far from alone in his taste for ravages and rubble. The author Rstif de la Bretonne relished the terrifying spectacle of the 1781 fire at the Paris Opra, as did the chronicler, Louis Sbastien Mercier, who was held captive by the horrible and curious sight.1 In a 1787 memoir of his trip to Italy, Charles Dupaty described a giant conflagration at Saint Peters Squarea magnificent event, though entirely fictive.2 In a century marked by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and by the discoveries of Herculaneum and Pompeii, artists and writers alike mined the aesthetic interest of unpredictable catastrophe. Among them was Hubert Robert, whose corpus of ruin paintings includes a sub-genre devoted to contemporary urban disasters. Robert launched the series soon after his return to Paris following eleven years in Rome, and it appears that the French capital repaid his interest rather generously. Sketchbook in hand, Robert returned repeatedly to the charred ruins of the hospital at the Htel-Dieu, which burned in 1772, and he caused a sensation at the Salon a decade later with two large-scale paintings featuring the fire at the Opra. Encompassed in this macabre series of modern ruins were not just actual disasters, but potential ones as well. In 1772, the completion of a new bridge at Neuilly was the occasion of public fanfare, which Robert recorded from a nearby riverbank. Critics of the engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronets design claimed that the bridges piers were too narrow, and the crowd that witnessed the inaugural ceremony, in which the centerings were released climactically into the Seine, is said to have waited breathlessly to see whether the entire edifice would collapse. It is this moment of suspensethe centerings frozen in mid-air, the crash of the waves around the bridges piersthat Robert captured in his canvases commemorating the event. The painters 92 ultimate degree of exuberance appears to have been

reserved, however, for the subject of church demolitions, evidently second in his esteem only to conflagrations. These events occurred with some frequency after 1787, when the Church of the Innocents and its overcrowded cemetery were condemned. In Roberts Demolition of Saint-Jean en Grve Church of 1800, onlookers marvel at the spectacular explosion of the decaying, fourteenth-century monument, while at right, three figures flee in terror. Such occasions were likely something of a popular attraction. The architect Radel, who was entrusted with the demolition, boasted the skill of knowing how to level a gothic church in ten minutes flat, and proudly exhibited diagrams of his technique at the Salon six years later. In every thing sudden and unexpected, we are apt to start, observed Edmund Burke in his groundbreaking account of the sublime.3 And yet if ruins have garnered recognition as the eighteenth centurys sublime subject par excellence, it is precisely insofar as they seem to repudiate suddenness. Indeed, as testaments to the persistence of the past, to duration into the future, ruins stirred powerful awareness of the sublime vastness of time. Reviewing Hubert Roberts Salon debut in 1767, Diderot famously declared: The ideas ruins evoke in me are grand. Everything comes to nothing, everything perishes, everything passes, only the world remains, only time endures. How old is this world! I walk between two eternities.4 It is striking, however, that within a few pages of these solemn reflections the critic observes the effect of the setting sun upon Roberts paintings, and promptly imagines the Salon bursting into flamesconsumed by a large nearby conflagration that threatened the entire building.5 Nothing if not versatile, ruins catalyzed with equal readiness contemplation of eternity and infatuation with exigency. With his renderings of demolition and disaster sites, Robert chronicled the capitals explosive surrender to the forces of contingency, and made it the basis for an accident-driven account of the sublime. Such representations of urban modernity flouted all rules of academic decorum. Just as strikingly, they were executed during a time of free-wheeling economic uncertainty, and it is as expressions of the wild world of late-eighteenthcentury capitalism that they might be considered truly avant-garde. Though it has scarcely been appreciated, the cult of ruins coincided with the emergence of modern market structures, and market forces appear to have catalyzed an awareness of contingency that eighteenth-century artists and aesthetes brought to bear on their apprehension of ruins. The meteoric rise of Robert des Ruinesso called for having cornered that marketis a case in point. As an artist favored by a powerful class of bankers and financiers, Robert enjoyed a proximity to the epicenter of risk that arguably helped shape his distinctive aesthetic sensibility. He became a fanatic for fire-ravaged monuments, after all, at a time when catastrophism constituted the cutting edge in new financial industries. High-stakes gambling on life and fire insurance was a legitimate practice in the last years of the old regime. Financiers floated insurance companies as

investment trusts on the Paris Bourse, capitalizing on the lure of risk and novelty, and more profoundly, on a mass willingness to exchange present certainty for future uncertainty.6 The gambling mania benefited not only the stock exchange, but the interests of the French State: in 1776, Louis XVI established the Royal Lottery as an expedient for recovering from the ruinous effects of the Seven Years War, and thereafter collected millions of livres in annual revenue with which to finance the national debt and important building operations. Official sponsor of a culture of risk, the state peddled such popular ventures as annuities, or life-contingent incomes that expired upon the death of the person named in the contract. These functioned, in effect, as opportunities to bet on the lives of family members and strangers alike, and, though considered morally suspect, they were avidly consumed by the public. Hubert Robert himself made a small fortune investing in life-contingent contracts. The bank managed by Roberts patron, Girardot de Marigny, helped broker one of the most notorious outbreaks of the life-betting frenzy, one which culminated in international bereavement with the premature passing of one PernetteElisabeth Martin, on whose eighteen-year-old head rested two million livres in investments. Martin had been one of thirty Genevan virgins presented to the public as a sure bet, a subject whose longevity, favored by the laws of probability, would furnish investors with an abiding source of annual revenue from the French government. What was the valency of ruins in a climate of economic risk? A clue lies in the Abb de Lubersac de Livrons 1775 account of the garden at Monceau then being constructed on the capitals outskirts by the duc de Chartres. The picturesque pleasure retreat was strewn with artificial ruins, among them a crumbling castle that masqueraded as an ancient chteau, and Lubersac remarked that the structure had a little too much the air of a property seized long ago and of which the proprietor submits to the creditors and the bailiffs.7 This perception of the ruin as the instantiation of unpredictable returns likely had little to do with the duc de Chartress sizeable gambling debts, which he would soon seek to reverse by undertaking an ambitious speculative development project around his Paris property. The comment is instructive, though, insofar as it implicates the vogue for ruins within an economy of chance, and more specifically within the vicissitudes of credit. And the dilapidated castles connotation of repossessed property appears all the more meaningful, if we consider that the cult of ruins coincided with the rampant growth of the Paris credit market. People of Betique, do you want to be rich? Imagine that I am very rich, and yourselves too. Convince yourself each morning that your fortunes have doubled overnight. Then get up and, if you have creditors, pay them with what you have imagined and tell them to imagine in turn.8 So intones the villainous progeny of the god of wind in Montesquieus Persian Letters, in an episode satirizing the illusions perpetrated by the use of credit. Montesquieu witnessed with horror the upheavals that followed the intro93 duction of paper money. Like other critics of the

papered century,9 he equated financial instruments with works of fiction, thus contributing to a literary genre that remainsin todays Alice in Wonderland scenario of derivative products and debt futures, to quote a contemporary commentator10decidedly useful. Denounced by Defoe as a chimera, and likened by Voltaire to commerce of the imagination,11 credit was condemned not only for sustaining the illusion of wealth, but for veiling a reality of debt. The credit economy, flooded with paper currency and bills of exchange, eroded the distinction between profits and losses, Montesquieu observed; it created confusion between a circulating paper that represents money or a circulating paper that is the sign of the profits a company has made or will make in commerce, and a paper that represents a debt.12 Credit injected uncertainty into the present, and disrupted the linear passage of time by conflating yesterdays debts and tomorrows earnings. Suspended, then, between plenitude and mere potentiality, between past value and future returns, credit exhibited precisely the condition that is the hallmark of the ruin. For it was in the eighteenth century that ruins gained recognition as configurations of ongoing decline and growth, decomposition and recomposition, erosion and accretion13as unstable sites of temporal fluctuation. And just as credit existed only on the order of opinion and belief, that is, in absolute porousness to the unpredictable contingencies and emergencies of fortune,14 so was the ruin an object of wonder for its symbiotic relationship with nature and exigency. Visions of ruin, no less than anxiety over credit, reflected a new relationship to the future generated by the eighteenth-century financial revolution. The age abounded in apocalyptic prognostications: the seeds of ruin are here scattered, warned Hume of the states reliance on public credit.15 Concerns that luxury would be the nations downfall resounded in Merciers description of the Paris building mania, which he predicted would lead to mass architectural and financial ruin. According to his assessment, given the cheap materials employed by carpenters, all buildings erected in recent decades were doomed to collapse, and in one hundred years, every house would disintegrate.16 Ruins preyed on the imaginations of risk-averse prophets of doom. Yet, they were also voraciously consumed by a risk-taking milieu that perceived in urban disaster a potential source of profit. In the middle of the century, Voltaire observed the decrepit condition of the capital, and dreamt of the new city that might be built, if [only] Paris would burn.17 Such sentiments would have delighted the entrepreneurial class. For in the eyes of the citys real estate speculators, ruins
overleaf, top left: Hubert Robert, The Decentering of the Pont de neuilly, 1772. overleaf, bottom left: Hubert Robert, Burning of the opera in the Palais-Royal, 1781 overleaf, top right: Hubert Robert, Demolition of St. Jean en Grve, 1800. overleaf, bottom right: Photo from series by Cai Guo-Qiang, Restrained Violence: Rainbow: Project for Extraterrestrials no. 25, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1995. Courtesy of the artist.

occasioned lucrative building opportunities. Hubert Robert was far from the only Parisian mobilized by the sight of the Opra in flames. Theater being the national pastime, the demand for theatrical monuments was a key component of the building mania: at least thirty were built in Paris alone in the last decades of the eighteenth century. For scores of enterprising architects, real estate speculators, and a wily state minister by the name of Papillon de la Fert, the loss of the eleven-year-old Paris Opra (the previous one had burned as well) sparked hopes of rebuilding at a profit. It fell to the King to decide the fate of the public institution, besieged by a flurry of competing interests, and it was Papillon who saw to it that construction rights would devolve to the architect Lenoir, who managed to design a new monument while the old one was still burning. Lenoir, in fact, was a seasoned real estate speculator whose gambles in the business of theater construction would ultimately land him in poverty. In the meantime, however, he succeeded in erecting a new Opra within a whirlwind sixty-five days, after arranging to build it on property that hebacked by two financiershad privately come to lease. Lenoirs company specialized in the buying, developing, and reselling of Paris real estate, and his silent partners included none other than Papillon himself. The minister thus stood to gain from the Opras relocation to the new quarter, where it was certain to raise land values, a fact not lost on the beleaguered Opra troupe. On the eve of the Revolution, the troupe declared that an inconvenient location had driven the Opra into bankruptcy, and that the state, in collusion with private interests, had defrauded the public. Furious trade in government loans and joint-stock shares; frenzied investment in overseas currency; manic manipulation of market values by colluding stock-jobbers who bought on margin and sold short:18 speculation hit a fevered pitch in the 1780s, and it is before the frenetic backdrop of the Paris Bourse that we might best evaluate the vogue for ruins. In 1787, Mirabeau wrote that the stock exchange had fallen into the hands of dangerous financiers who, in order to promote their speculations, employ more or less blameworthy ruses, give false information, deceptive advice, say that they sell when they buy, form sham companies in order to turn men into veritable dupes & in this way cheat turn by turn the government, the public & their accomplices.19 In an unhinged marketplace, false values reigned: failure might masquerade as growth, partial bankruptcy was considered a precondition for grandiose profit, and decline could just as easily be a sign of vitality. This phantasmagoric logic, the basis for a speculative economy, takes spectacular form in Hubert Roberts urban ruins. Exalting unforeseeable collapse, his portraits of the capitals decimated monuments, it could be said, helped condition their audience to a new order of risk. In glorifying the recent remains of unpredictable disaster, Robert sanctioned a world in which the past no longer provided a reliable compass. And for those socialized to embrace contingency, Roberts ruins offered gratifying aesthetic returns. Salon critics attacked the painters 96 hastily-executed pendants featuring the fire at the

Opra, but the canvases were reportedly the object of a bidding war, and fetched the considerable sum of 2,400 livres each from the wealthy banker, Girardot de Marigny.20 Though their production coincided with the advent of insurance, Roberts urban ruins capture a defiantly uninsurable world, one subject to radical reversals of fortune, fiercely independent from the laws of probability, happily hostage to the caprices of chance. In their rendering, hyperbole was of the essence: Robert inflates the scale of his ruins out of all proportion, dwarfs their human witnesses, and marshals the outmoded trademarks of baroque scenographygusts of smoke, walls of flame, floating heaps of dustas if to conjure a city bewitched. Whatever we mean by modernity, writes Lorraine Daston, is linked with new attitudes toward the control of the future and the possibility of a life relatively secure from the disruptions of chance.21 Undoubtedly, Roberts modern ruins exhibit traces of a pre-modern irrationality, of atavistic resistance to the Age of Reason. Yet his paintings might just as aptly be described as hyper-modern. The risk-taking artist is an icon of modern economic life, notes Randy Martin in Financialization of Daily Life. Danger, uncertainty, volatility are necessary if a creative return is to be realized.22 It is thus fitting that Roberts patrons were pioneers of lateeighteenth-century capitalism. Foremost among them was Jean Joseph de Laborde, banker to Louis XV, a self-made modern Midasin the words of Diderot23and perhaps the wealthiest man in France by the time he was thirty. At about the time of Roberts return to Paris from Rome, Laborde discovered the profits to be had in urban development, and, as if by magic, noted Mercier, transformed the citys northern marshland into one of the most fashionable quarters of the capital.24 In a two-decade period the banker purchased and sold dozens of properties and undeveloped lots in the Chause dAntin, making the area a centerpiece in the lives of speculative investors. Throughout the capital, however, far less successful building sprees were carried out, and a proliferation of half-finished edifices created the sense of a provisional city haunted, wrote Mercier, by ruinous fantasies.25 Robert executed his urban disaster paintings during the time of a real estate bubble, and the inflation of land values seems manifestly meaningful to the economy of his paintings. Robert exaggerated the sublime quality of his subjects, and heightened their fear-inducing potential, in keeping with the entrepreneurial logic that the greater the disaster and the higher the risk, the stronger the possibility of incalculable returns. Scholars have noted that the aesthetic of the sublimewith its connotations of dread, danger, and darkness, and its associations, wrote Burke, with the notions of ghosts and goblinscame into currency at a time of alarm over the mysteries of financial markets.26 Prosperity is suspended on the Daedalian wings of paper money, wrote Adam Smith, echoing widespread concern over the transubstantiation of real wealth into ethereal fictions.27 Robert, however, surrendered blissfully to the logic of the bubble. The profusion of vaporous effects in his urban

ruinsharbingers of a spectral economyis yet another sign of his initiation into the cult of risk. Robert and his contemporaries thus discovered in the ruin a vehicle for grappling not only with real disaster, but with the phantom menaces unleashed by the markets institutionalization of risk. With Enlightenment in retreat, traces of the eighteenth century can be found in the figure of todays risk-courting artist. Consider the work of the gunpowder artist Cai Guo-Qiang, whose large-scale, accident-prone, pyrotechnic events uncannily mirror the paroxysmal boom and explosive profits of his native China, the worlds fastest growing economy. In more ominous ways, however, Roberts genre has proven prophetic, as the speculative process his age inaugurated has lately culminated in the proposed futures market in terrorism, not to mention the mysterious spike, on 10 September 2001, in share trading on American and United Airlines. Ever more extreme recourse to the imaginary28 is the legacy of the age of risk, as is the dark merger of futures and ruins.
1 Rstif de la Bretonne, Les Nuits de Paris (Paris, London, and New York: Editions Sambel, 1969), p. 152; Louis Sbastien Mercier, Le Tableau de Paris (1781-1788), Jean-Claude Bonnet et al., eds. (Paris: Mercure de France, 1994), vol. 1, chapter CXXIV, p. 298. 2 Charles-Marguerite-Jean-Baptiste Mercier Dupaty, Lettres sur lItalie, en 1785, 3rd edition (Paris: Jean Mourer, 1796), pp. 238-243. 3 Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful [1757] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 76. 4 Denis Diderot, Salon of 1767, in Diderot on Art, vol. II, ed. and trans. by John Goodman (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 198-199. 5 Ibid., p. 208. 6 Lorraine Daston, Classical Probability in the Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), p. 117; see also Gerda Reith, The Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1999). 7 In Discours sur les Monuments Publics de tous les ges et de tous les peuples connus (Paris, 1775), p. lviij; trans. in David L. Hayes, This is not a Jardin Anglais: Carmontelle, the Jardin de Monceau, and Irregular Garden Design in Late-Eighteenth-Century France, in Villas and Gardens in Early Modern Italy and France, ed. Mirka Benes and Dianne Harris (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 302. 8 Charles de Secondat de Montesquieu, Les Lettres Persanes [1721], Lettre 142; cited and trans. in Thomas M. Kavanagh, Enlightenment and the Shadows of Chance: The Novel and the Culture of Gambling in Eighteenth-Century France (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), p. 84. 9 The locution is Johann Bschs; cited in Marc Shell, Art & Money (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 66. 10 Joel Kurtzman, The Death of Money: How the Electronic Economy Has Destabilized the Worlds Markets and Created Financial Chaos (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p. 19. 11 Daniel Defoe, The Chimera, or The French Way of Paying National Debts Laid Open (London, 1720); J. F. M. Arouet de Voltaire, Oeuvres historiques (Paris, 1957), p. 1311. Cited in Shell, Art & Money, p. 68. 12 Charles de Secondat de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, trans. by Anne Cohler, Basia Miller, and Harold Stone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 418. 13 Nick Yablon, The Metropolitan Life in Ruins: Architectural and Fictional Speculations in New York, 1909-1919, in American Quarterly, June 2004, vol. 56, no. 2, p. 336. 14 J. G. A. Pocock, Modes of Political and Historical Time in Eighteenth-Century England, in Virtue, Commerce and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 91-92. 15 David Hume, Of Public Credit, Essays moral, political and literary, ed. T.

H. Green and T. H. Grose (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1875), vol. 1, p. 367. 16 Tableau de Paris, vol. 2, chapter DCXXXIX, p. 390. 17 J. F. M. Arouet de Voltaire, Des embellissements de Paris [1749], ed. Mark Waddicor, The Complete Works of Voltaire (The Voltaire Foundation, Taylor Institution: Oxford, 1994), pp. 231-232. 18 See George V. Taylor, The Paris Bourse on the Eve of the Revolution, 1781-1789, in The American Historical Review, April 1962, vol. LXVII, no. 3, pp. 951-977. 19 Honor-Gabriel de Riquetti, comte de Mirabeau, Dnonciation de lagiotage au roi, et a lAssemble des notables [1787], p. 29; trans. in ibid. p. 955. 20 See Paula Rea Radisich, Hubert Roberts Paris: Truth, Artifice, and Spectacle, in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, no. 245, 1986, p. 501. 21 Lorraine Daston, Classical Probability in the Enlightenment, op. cit., p. 164. 22 Randy Martin, Financialization of Daily Life (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002), pp. 112-113. 23 Salon de 1769, in Diderot Salons, ed. Jean Seznec and Jean Adhmar, (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975-[1983]), vol. IV, p. 89. 24 Le Tableau de Paris, vol. 1, chapter LXXXVIII, p. 224. 25 Le Tableau de Paris, vol. II, chapter DCCLXXVI, pp. 811-812. 26 See Patrick Brantlinger, Fictions of State: Culture and Credit in Britain, 1694-1994 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), pp. 108-9, and Peter de Bolla, The Discourse of the Sublime: Readings in History, Aesthetics and the Subject (Oxford and New York: Basil Blackwell, 1989), pp. 103-140. 27 Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations; cited in Brantlinger, Fictions of State, op. cit., p. 88. 28 Richard Dienst, The Futures Market: Global Economics and Cultural Studies, in Reading the Shape of the World: Toward an International Cultural Studies, Henry Schwartz and Richard Dienst, eds. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996), p. 74.

overleaf: Trained as an architect, the conceptual artist Gordon-Matta Clark (1943-1978) was best known for a series of radical de-construction projects from the early 1970s in which he used power tools to make cuts in structuresranging from private houses to large apartment buildings and warehousesslated for demolition. In the previously unpublished exchange of letters reproduced on the following pages, Matta-Clark writes to Mrs. Fredry Loizeaux (co-founder, with her husband Jack, of Controlled Demolition Inc., one of Americas leading demolition firms) expressing his admiration for her familys work and inquiring whether they might consider collaborating on a future project involving what the artist dubs a new choreography for the violent alteration of buildings as art. The response is written by Mrs. Loizeauxs son, J. Mark Loizeaux, the firms current president. Correspondence courtesy Collection Centre Canadien dArchitecture/ Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal. On deposit from the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark. Copyright J. Mark Loizeaux.


rome, Broken city

DeniSe Bratton

For who can doubt that Rome would rise again instantly if she began to know herself.1

Petrarch, letter to Giovanni Colonna

Sometime after his first visit to Rome in 1337, Petrarch conjured up the ruins of the ancient capital in a letter to his friend Giovanni Colonna, reminiscing about their walks through the broken city, where the remnants of the ruins lay before our eyes. Yet he never actually describes what they saw, instead reciting an imaginary itinerary of sites where key events in pagan and Christian history occurred. Prefiguring the central project of Renaissance humanism to collect and reassemble the remains of the past, Petrarch invoked the power of ruins to trigger collective memory, and his account uncannily echoes in Freuds use of ancient Rome as an analogy to enter into the more general problem of preservation in the sphere of the mind.2
Petrarchs strictly literary approach gave way nearly a century later to the aestheticizing optic of artists who began to systematically study, measure, and render the ruins of ancient architecture and sculpture in Rome. Early sketchbooks set the standard for a rich tradition of engraved and painted views in which the effects of fortune, time, and nature (not to mention human folly) became the humanist subtext for transforming the ruins into historical as 100 well as artistic monuments in spite of their fragmen-

tary condition. In fact, it was their very incompleteness that gave free play to the architectural imagination. From the early fifteenth century, literary and visual discourses on Romes ruins were interlocked as rubble was refigured to visualize the historical gap between contemporary and ancient worlds. However, just as this period saw the rise of modern discourses on architecture and the city and a new awareness of ancient architecture as a form of cultural capital, debate raged among humanists who argued that the Roman Church was guilty of looting and demolishing antiquities in the name of conservation and reconstruction. In fact, as some buildings were dismantled to meet increasing demands for marble and others were neglected and fell into decay, collective forgetting outpaced collective memory. In the mid-sixteenth century, French topographer and engraver tienne Du Perc or one of his followers produced a book of framed views of ruined Roman monuments paired with imaginative reconstructions. One of these pairs of drawings treats the Forum of Nerva, which was actually begun by Emperor Domitian (8196 AD) and completed after his death by Nerva (9698 AD). Also known as the Forum Transitorium, the long narrow enclosure originally functioned as a throughway conducting heavy traffic between the Forum Romanum along the old road known as the Argiletum. The rough peperino stone of the lateral walls was faced with smooth marble, and the interior was ornamented with a Corinthian colonnade supporting an ornate entablature. Neither the sacred nature of Domitians Temple of Minerva nor the glory of the emperors themselves, or even

the strikingly modern concept of a decorated street could prevent the forums decline. Only one pair of fluted columns known as Le colonnace survives today, the graceful arches at the end and the temple that Du Perc recorded in the sixteenth century having been dismantled by contractors operating illegally out of a quarry at the perimeter of the forum in the early seventeenth century. Du Pracs reconstruction recalls the rationalized perspective space of Serlios design for a tragic stage set, dating from slightly earlier.3 Re-imagining the walls as rusticated, in keeping with sixteenth-century rather than ancient Roman taste, and interpreting Le colonnace as a column display rather than a fragment of the original colonnade, Du Prac read the ruins for his own time. He stripped down the once-ornate forum and also massed it up, referencing not so much imperial Roman architecture as medieval fortresses, while at the same time adumbrating a new kind of urban space to accommodate idealized humanist statesmen picturesquely dressed in togas who embody the civic virtues of the time. Paired with this soberly theatrical reconstruction is a bucolic view of the site as it actually appeared to Du Prac. Tiny figures establish the scale of the forum halfburied in debris, which by then had simply reverted to its early function as a connecting route. Here, the fragment of a nearly vanished architectural complex appears dwarfed by the great emptiness that surrounds it. Combining elements of Serlios comic and satiric set designs,4 the informal and eclectic buildings that had taken hold around 101 the forum look unkempt, weeds spring from the arch

as well as the skeletal remains of the temple, and an animal grazes as if in a pasture. In Du Pracs optic, the ruined forum, the residue of fallen empire, was effectively reinvented as the symbolic political space of an emerging state. However, in the intervening centuries, the ancient forums excavation and elevation to the status of a historic monument seems only to have invalidated it. A fate perhaps worse than oblivion or burial, thanks to the science (and politics) of archaeology, it has been embalmed and its urban function cancelled. Ironically, a recently proposed reconfiguration of the Roman fora as an archaeological park where circulation again becomes a priority may more closely approximate Du Pracs utopianif theatricalproposition.
1 Petrarchs letter is signed 30 November, in transit. In Francesco Petrarca, Rerum familiarum Libri I-VIII, trans. Aldo S. Bernardo (Albany: SUNY Press, 1975), VI, 2, p. 190ff. 2 Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1929-30), trans. James Strachey, et alia, in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1961), vol. XXI, pp. 69-70. 3 See Sebastiano Serlio on Architecture, trans., intro., and commentary Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1996), vol. 1, Bk. 2, p. 89. 4 Ibid., p. 87 and 91, for comic and satiric stage sets.

opposite and above: Pracs views of the Forum of Nerva from the book Disegni de le ruine di Roma e come anticamente erono. Now in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library, The Du Prac Codex was first published in 1916 and then in a facsimile edition in 1963. Images courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture, which holds a copy of the facsimile edition.


eSter ParteGS

These photographs by Ester Partegs were taken during June and July 2005 in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen. China, undergoing a hurried and awkward transition to capitalism, has turned its cities into the worlds largest construction sites. The unprecedented building program is promoted by ubiquitous banners whose message of Progress is unalloyed by any sense of hesitation or doubt. As would happen in any metropolis, these advertisements quickly show the signs of wear and tear. Amid the optimistic scaffolds and cranes of todays China, however, these posters also presage a highrise future so hyper-accelerated that it has begun to fray even before it has come to pass.

tHe dead town

Martin herBert

In 2004, when I accompanied a British artist to the city of Norilsk in Northern Siberia, we were only the twentieth and twenty-first non-citizens of the Russian Federation to visit that year and it was late October, deep into off-season in a place that has no on-season. Norilsks borders are all but closed. Between 1932 and 1953 when the area, above the Arctic Circle and accordingly inhospitable (a temperature of -76C has been registered here), was known as Norillag and was one of the largest and most notorious of the Soviet gulag camps, this was a hard place to leave; now, for most, it is a hard place to enter. For us, however, entry was fairly easy, mainly because the artist had visited previously when its burghers were slightly less defensive (there being an unknowable substratum of reasoning that determines whether Norilsk raises or lowers its portcullis vis--vis the Western world) and had made contact with the head of the rescue service there, an enthusiastic hunter who stocks up for winter by embedding a half-dozen freshly shot reindeer in the ice outside his house. Nevertheless, we both arrived with several thousand dollars of bribery money secreted around our persons, bottles of bribery scotch clinking in bags, and, in my case, a solar plexus seesawing with fear of the unknown. Our rickety internal flight from Moscow having touched down, in darkness, several thousand miles into Siberias colossal negativity of tundra, my nerves were not soothed by the sight of Norilsk itself. A grid of wide, featureless avenues slashed by nostril-searing Arctic winds, with those edifices above three stories built on pilings because permafrost makes sinking foundations impossible, Norilsk feels like a kind of ruin preserved in a deep freeze, unaltered since Stalins death in 1953. The adjective that the few travel writers who have wanted and been allowed to visit invariably resort to in describing the place is grim. Once there was work here (although one could not call it employment, and it didnt exist in conceptual contrast to leisure) building the narrow-gauge railroad from the port to the city: a labor in which tens of thousands died. Frozen bodies were used as ballast for the tracks, and their skeletons emerge every year during the brief thaw. Now, Norilsks only real industry is its nickel mine, also built by slave labor and one of the largest and most profitable in the world. As disturbing as the city is to visit, however, something lurks on its outskirts whose appellation suggests it might be worse still. When the locals refer to a place as the dead town, human curiosity beats apprehension hands down. Shortly later, were on an iceslicked highway, zigzagging towards it. There is only one road here, connecting the city, the airport, and the port town of Dudinka. Along the roadway, the bare black pines that push exhaustedly up out of the tundra are dwarfish and bent, poisoned by the rotten air. The snow is blackened for miles outside the city: Norilsk, with its refineries endlessly pumping smoke into the wind like the 106 national flag of hell, has been described as the most

polluted city in the world, and there is no small irony in the fact that the nickel pulled out of its hot depths is one of the main elements in eco-friendly catalytic converters. The only habitation for endless miles of virgin whiteness, it figures as an eerie, spreading orange glow on the horizon and has one reaching inescapably for cancer metaphors. But people live here and, by Russian standards, they have money, because those who work at the mine are compensated for a life expectancy ten years less than the national average. And at one point developers decided to build a cluster of apartment buildings approximately equidistant from the airport and Norilskabout 40 kilometers from the city. Who was it going to serve? People who worked at the airport? The airport is miniscule. This architectural black hole is shrouded in rumor and misinformation: at one point were given to understand it has something to do with the army, whove deserted it, but this is later refuted. If its connected to the airport, it dates from after the mid-1970s, when the latter was built. Hereas so often in Russiainformation runs out. This, whatever it was, is the Dead Town, where, possibly, someone once lived. It comprises a huddle of horizontal, nine- and five-story concrete shells the color of weak tea or of poured concrete, checkered with stains, facing each other down: high Soviet Modernism with its lights out, empty rectangular sockets where the windows and doors should be and, hilariously, balconies for sunning oneself. (The fact that it is -28C and Im wearing the wrong kind of boots adds to the effect.) Out back, there is a dump of some sort, containing architectural wreckagewhich helps make the buildings themselves look like paragons of uprightness, albeit on a radically recalibrated scale. At first, the artist wants to make some work about the Dead Town. What quickly becomes clear, though, is that this is a place that resists the will to transform it into artbecause nothing needs doing to it. It cannot be slanted, it is what it is: pure morbid atmosphere. Its a place that, because of the confluence of location and design, inevitably conjures up images of a seventy-year (1917-1989) experiment in human coercion: unhappy ghosts peopling a social project now left to rot. But it is not, we come to realize, perpetually uninhabited by living beings, for these ruins are a potential shelter from the blistering cold. Reindeer tracks lead up to the entrances nearest the road; we elect not to follow them. But no doubt this particular buildings interior is like those of the others, which have been systematically ransacked. There are no doors, no light bulbs. Floorboards are missing, revealing intricate icy lattices of rusted pipework. I dont trust the stairs, but my companion goes up. Underneath the pilings outside, I find forensic remains of human habitation: drained vodka bottles, crushed and oxidized food cans containing miniature drifts of snow, a waterlogged powder-blue mattress. And a torso. A frozen limbless cylinder, the ribs furred with brown flesh. In the wrong boots, I kick it over, stagger out from under the building, and find the artist, who takes a

swift look before convincing me that it must be reindeer the remains of a wintry feast. Amazingly, it seems the Dead Town contains something still deader than itself. After a while, late-afternoon sunlight starts to pink the facades, which gain a faint, illusory glamour. Even without that gilding, theres something fiercely attractive about this kind of architecture, because its so perfectly comprehensible in its dehumanization, its idealist sparseness. As a wreck, shrouded in secrecy, that nobody can be bothered to tear downbecause real estate is not exactly at a premium herethe Dead Town cant help but be metonymic. Yet nothing is ever that simple. For the people of Norilsk, totalitarianism is not entirely vanished. It built the mine they work in and the buildings they live in. The city was founded on death and continues to produce death, via the pollution which usually determines that few outsiders are allowed to get a view of what goes on here. But the locals are not miserable: on the evidence of the people we met, they have foreign holidays and gadgetry to compensate for their truncated life spans. Mostly they dont want to leave Norilsk, although they inhabit buildings that, from the outside at least, look only marginally more habitable than the Dead Town. (Inside, you could be in any middle-class European home, except that the heating is cranked up brutally high.) The Soviet system is only half-gone here, and what has filled up the other half is also far from innocent. For example, there is one good place to eat in Norilsk. It is called Kabinet (Russian for office); itd be a fine restaurant wherever you put it, and its where we go to defrost after leaving the Dead Town. The plush and woody dcor is sumptuous. The chef seems comfortable with international cuisine, although he or shell serve you the local fare (reindeer, pickled mushrooms, dill) if you ask. The waitresses are stunning and patrol the floors according to a rigorous and mathematically refined system of shift-work. The prices are, for the typical mineworker, prohibitively steep. Kabinet is open all day, and there are very rarely more than three people in it; often the people who are in it drive big black cars and shake hands elaborately. Everyone here can put a name to this business, and knows not to. I picture Kabinet, in fifty years time, as an entropic wreck to compare with the Dead Town. Then optimism fades and we ask Anastasia to bring us, , one more round of liquid amnesia.


previous: Apartment building in Norilsk, Northern Siberia.

caBinetlandia uPdate no. 3

Long-time readers of Cabinet will have witnessed the mind-boggling transformation of a half-acre of scrubland in Deming, New Mexico, into a complex of structures that has fundamentally changed the tourist industry in the American Southwest. At the heart of this DIY utopia, originally purchased for our 2003 issue on Property, is the Cabinet National Library, designed and built by Matthew Passmore and Friends in the summer of 2004. In February 2005, we received from Cabinet contributor Steve Rowell a series of disturbing images he had taken depicting recent

flood damage at Cabinetlandia. It does not rain much in this part of New Mexico, but apparently the entire years ration poured upon our little bit of land all in one night. Our mailbox has fallen over; the mud has piled up against the lowest compartment of the Library, making it impossible to access the snack bar and snake bite kit; and the humidity has encouraged mold to invade all the issues of Cabinet housed therein. Please send Get Well cards to Cabinetlandia care of the address in the masthead. We will publish the most heartfelt card as part of a future update.
Photos Steve Rowell

calliphora vomitoria (blue bottle fly)

sarcophaga carnaria (common flesh fly)

dermestes talpinus (dermestid beetle)

necrobia violacea (cosmopolitan blue bone beetle)

ophyra aenescens (dump fly)

dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (dust mite)

attagenus pellio (fur beetle)

tenebrio molitor (darkling beetle)

The eighT Waves of inverTebraTe scavengers

Within moments of death, the human body is transformed into a banquet table for insects. Drawn by the changing odors produced by progressive decay, specialized invertebrate scavengers arrive in eight discrete waves. The insects aboveone representative from each phaseare those that forensic entomologists commonly associate with postmortem decomposition in a cadaver left to rot above ground. All animals to be found in nature, with the exception of the dust mite, which was found on www.giantmicrobes.com