Monday, September 9, 2013

Do Ruins Open Up a Field of Fulfilling Forms?

Robert Ginsberg says "The ruin allows its forms to speak their truth, the script having been ripped away.  The form is articulation irrespective of intention.  Liberated from the architectural, the form is purely formal.  The ruin is a purifier of form.  While a valuable unity may have been lost, a field of fulfilling forms springs up from its seeds.  The original whole is destroyed, but this originates wholes.  Form flourishes amid destruction.  A shaping up comes from the tearing down.  Formerly a building; formally a ruin; an aesthetic formula."

Cleverly written.   But I would be more cautious.  How can we know that the forms found in ruins have their own truth?  Is the truth really more evident after the "script" i.e. the form in its originally intended shape, is stripped away?  Are intentions of architects/builders so irrelevant to ruins?  What is left for articulation when you cannot even hypothesize about intentions?  It is arguable that what makes ruins interesting is the architectural insofar as it is still present.  What makes sense of "purely formal" form or purification of form?  I wouldn't deny that a "field of fulfilling forms" can arise here, and that it arises from the seeds laid by the original architecture, but to say that "form flourishes amid destruction" is perhaps too optimistic.   Form flourishes amid destruction for the aesthete of ruins, perhaps.  Ruins can give us a thrill amidst destruction and can encourage both creative and reproduction imagination, but this is rare.

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