Outlining Manner

Authorship – Actorship

In the chapter XVI of his Leviathan – Of Persons, Authors and Things personated (1651), Hobbes defines the person as he « whose words and actions are considered, either as his own or as representing the words and actions of another man [] » accordingly delineating two subcategories : that of the natural person – when the words are his own - and that of the artificial person – when these are representing the words and actions of another ; he further states : « Of persons artificial, some have their words and actions ‘owned’ by those whom they represent. And then the person is the ‘actor’, and he that owns his words and actions is the ‘author’, in which case the actor acts by authority – but is not the author []. So that by authority is always understood a right of doing any act, and ‘done by authority’, done by commission or license from him whose right it is ».

Leviathan. Thomas Hobbes, 1651
Leviathan. Thomas Hobbes, 1651

The distinction between authorship and actorship expediently polarizes the paramount questions of the What?  and of the How?, of the content and of the form. The point is not to apply a literary notion to some emulative acceptation of its content, but rather to hypothetically submit a conceptual intendment to its potential adequation in the field of architecture ; and as such, Hobbes’ axiomatic statement informs us on the condition of  the architect, whose authority is fundamentally a licensed and commissioned one ; as the tributary of given programmatic, economic and legal prerequisites and impelled through exogeneous necessities, architecture resolutely assigns its agent to performing a given act in the name and interest of (x) : the architect is a political actor.

Tragedy – Comedy

In the second book of Serlio’s Regole generali di Architettura (1545), the tragic scenery shows a series of court buildings, war memorials, civil monuments settled along the rigid axis of a central perspective and punctuated by a memorial threshold opening onto an unobstructed vanishing point; rigorously subordinated to the spinal street, the laminary lineup is ordered such as ingresses are staged perpendicular to the street avoiding frontal views of the representative entablatures. Corroborating the prevalence of the public over the private, a pair of outward orientated stairs lead to the set.

Tragic Stage. Sebastiano Serlio, 1545
Tragic Stage. Sebastiano Serlio, 1545

The comic stage setting on the other hand displays a turbulent sequence of doorways, storefronts and arcades disjointedly eroding the central political void ; no convergence point here, but the richly ornamented porch of a religious shrine as the absolving sign to a collection of artifacts striving for attention. Converging steps to the stage achieve to portrait  the manifest surrender of the public realm to the sphere of the intimate.

Comic Stage. Sebastiano Serlio, 1545
Comic Stage. Sebastiano Serlio, 1545

As a result of the transversal capitalist conformity, of its economical horizon and its inferent indvidualism, the city has long capitulated under the assaults of private interests ; the ascendency of the oikos over the polis, respectively of the product over the process, has disrated the urban content to a long accumulative array of equivocal signs.

Bowing under the conceited laughs of licentious opportunism and its compulsion for visibility, the contemporary city has deserted the tragedy : comic scenery is now its only stage.

Original – Repertorial

A byproduct of the pervasive theatricality of the metropole is its relentless need for the new, therein not only complying with the essence of its outcome, the product – which is to be consumed and therefore ever renewed – but also with the quickly evolving rules of comic features : whereas Aristophanes’ rhetorics hardly trigger any hilarity anymore, we are still moved by Antigone’s tragic audacity.

By indulging in an often irrelevant alterity, metropolitan actors seem to have made any meaningful difference hardly legible : however legitimate discordances may be, they are bound to the prerequisite of repetition as the dominant marker of singularities.

Derived from the late latin repertorium – storehouse – a repertory is the entire assortment of things available in a field or of a kind ; inasmuch as the manyfold identities of a repertoire account for its protean expertise - its range so to speak - yet its most essential attribute lies in its availability : a repertory is a potential to be constantly re-activated.

In its search for a dynamic consideration of time, withstanding the contemplative view of collective memory and its sententious unfolding of events, manner advocates for a deflective handling of history, of its canons as much as of its failures, and generates anexact figures – rigorously inexact, that is inexact by essence and not by accident (G.Deleuze & F. Guattari in Mille Plateaux, 1980).

History is a beat.