Sunday, July 15, 2012
From a Diary: I:xxvii
David Antin: "the problem of architecture is not how to make it, but how to get rid of it.” Consider the qualities of permanence, ephemerality, decay (and/or metamorphosis), sustainability, and renewal as potential fields of creative activity. That old saw about "architecture as frozen music" misses on both counts: music doesn't move (except in some psychological sense), but is itself movement, just molecules of air pushed about and dissipating, ephemera (sound → echo →
memory forgetting); architecture, on the other hand, while slow-moving, is never frozen, it is planned and built over time, and when "finished", it is never done with decay and renovation, wrecking and restoration, ruins and excavations etc., if they are "machines for living" (Le Corbusier), they cannot be immobile. People, things, critters, water, energy, waste, gas, information, dust, memories: they constantly move in and out, some small or large part of the building constantly moving in and out with all the traffic. The landscape around is constantly changing, even the earth below is always in shift. Your house is like a river, you never step over the same threshold. My own caution — when not resistance — to recording is in large part a positive embrace of music as ephemera, finding joy in the life and disappearance of each sound in a particular time and place ("live" music, of course, and also this: I often can recall playing recordings in particular times and places, but not necessarily the particular music which was represented on those records (lesson: recordings can be used in ephemeral performances)). But this caution also comes from the sense that a recording, as a storage process for musical sound, has something in common with a mortgage, a means of financing the purchase of a "real" property (ownable stuff that doesn't move: German: Immobilien, French immobiliers), suspending full ownership until a debt is paid (and, as recent history amply illustrates, many debts are never paid); a mortgage is, literally, a dead pledge or dead wage. N.O. Brown: "The dynamics of capitalism is postponement of enjoyment to the constantly postponed future."