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 ».
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.
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.
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.
Homo faber – Homo sapiens
« Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth »: in a time of relentless information where an undiscerning allegiance of the scientific proficency to accumulative datas and a so called ‘economy of attention’ dictate the legitimacy of a vast majority of decisions, Archimedes’ remark quoted by Pappus of Alexandria (in: Collection or Synagoge, Book VIII, c. AD 340) suggests an alternative stand; echoing the metaphorical telescopic device of Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, the admonition invites to deliberately distantiate the observer from its subject to stimulate greater leverage : now set on the fringe of its field of expertise, contemplating the invigorating complexity of phenomenas, the observer records signs of transversal mutations.
As the blessed child of clashing progenitors – economy, environment, society, program, vanity – the condition of architecture not only stifles its product to a paradoxical figure, that of a radical consensus but also confines its agent to an imperative ductility to critically address conflicting demands; yet, the improbable fragmentation of competences and the persistent bias prevalence of homo faber over homo sapiens have disrated any non-utilitarian determinations to trivial scrutiny.
Driven by exogenous and contradictory requirements and at the converging point of manyfold ruling interests, the architect’s expertise is protean by necessity rather than by inclination; aware of the trans-generational nature of the urban environment and accordingly resisting to the most immediate fervour of its time, the architect is the last generalist.