Under his feet, too, there was something like motion-not only one, several motions, warring in strange confusion. He froze in terror. Could this be the earth? Certainly, this was the earth. After all, it moved. That had been mentioned in school, though it was passed over in a hurry, and later on they had tried to cover it up. It was not considered good taste to speak of it…whether other people felt it? Perhaps, but they did not show it. Probably they did not mind, these sailors.
text: Rainer maria rilke, notes of Malte Laurids Brigge 1910
painting: Hugh Ferriss, The Lure of the City, 1925
…So I must thread the tormenting complications of this labyrinth physically as well as mentally whenever I go out, and I am both exasperated and touched when, as sometimes happens, I lose myself for a moment in my own maze, and the work of my hands seems to be still doing its best to prove sufficiency to me, its maker,…
And when I picture myself in the midst of danger, then I insist with clenched teeth and all my will that the burrow should be nothing but a whole set apart to save me…
Now the truth of the matter- and one has no eye for that in times of great perils, and only by great effort even in times when danger is threatening- is that in reality the burrow does provide a considerable degree of security, but by no means enough, for is one ever free from anxieties inside it?
These anxieties are different from ordinary ones, prouder, richer in content, often long repressed, but in their destructive effects they are perhaps much the same as the anxieties that existence in the outer world gives rise to.
text: Franz Kafka, The Burrow
drawing: Micheal Webb (Archigram) 1958
What’s He Building In There?
What The Hell Is He Building In There?
He Has Subscriptions To Those
Magazines… He Never
Waves When He Goes By….
He’s Hiding Something From
The Rest Of Us… He’s All
To Himself… I Think I Know
Now What’s That Sound From Under The Door?
He’s Pounding Nails Into A
Hardwood Floor… And I
Swear To God I Heard Someone
Moaning Low… And I Keep
Seeing The Blue Light Of A
He Has A Router
And A Table Saw… And You
Won’t Believe What Mr. Sticha Saw….
There were things around us and about of which I can render no distinct account — things material and spiritual — heaviness in the atmosphere — a sense of suffocation — anxiety — and, above all, that terrible state of existence which the nervous experience when the senses are keenly living and awake, and meanwhile the powers of thought lie dormant. A dead weight hung upon us.
Text: Edgar Allan Poe, Shadow
Etching: G.B. Piranesi, The Giant wheel
All we communicate to others is an orientation towards what is secret without being able to tell the secret objectively. What is secret never has total objectivity. In this respect, we orient oneirism but we do not accomplish it.
text: Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
drawing: Arduino Cantafora, Casa dell’Acqua,1978
…….My one fear is that tomorrow I may die without having come to know myself. In the course of my life I have discovered that a fearful abyss lies between me and other people and have realized that my best course is to remain silent and keep my thoughts to myself as long as I can. If I have now made up my mind to write it is only in order to reveal myself to my shadow, that shadow which at this moment is stretched across the wall in the attitude of one devouring with insatiable appetite each word I write. It is for his sake that I wish to make the attempt. Who knows? We may perhaps come to know each other better. Ever since I broke the last ties which held me to rest of mankind my one desire has been to attain a better knowledge of myself.
Idle thoughts! Yet they torment me more savagely than any reality could. Do not the rest of mankind who look like me, who appear to have the same passions as I, exist only in order to cheat me? Are they not a mere handful of shadows which have come into existence only that they may mock and cheat me? Is not everything I feel, see and think something entirely imaginary, something utterly different from reality?
I am writing only for my shadow, which is now stretched across the wall in the light of the lamp. I must make myself known to him.
text: The blind owl by Sadegh Hedayat.
drawing: Arduino Cantafora
Totes Haus Ur
No overview of the darkest realms of contemporary art would be complete without reference to Schneider who, since the age of eighteen, has transformed his parents’ former home into the disconcerting work known simply as the Totes Haus Ur (Dead House Ur).
A labyrinth of hidden passageways, sound-proofed rooms, crawl spaces and dead ends,Totes Haus Ur subverts the security of the home into an environment which is bewildering, oppressive and even malignant: the single door leading to one windowless room cannot be re-opened once closed.
Nevertheless, very few are given permission to visit. Instead, interiors are meticulously reconstructed for exhibition or removed entirely to make way for further compulsive alterations.
The room is empty. All we see is room. We are completely surrounded by a monotonous, unyielding, massive, yet ultimately vague material. Blank surfaces everywhere. Floors, walls, and ceiling all made of the same whitish stuff. Only soft lines between them. Everything merging to form a monolith interior. As if space has been carved out of an endless heaviness at some unknown time. A man-made cave with no way out. Our prison.
Text: Mark Wigley, Inside the Inside
Artist: James Casebere, Asylum 1994
To fall, cadere, is to approach what is accidental, coincidental, by chance…..Looking down is equated by losing control, to losing one’s stand. This may be termed as an experience of distich space, a space in which the observer is not the active generator of perspectival order, but rather a stain in a space defined by light.
Ground Level by Xavier Costa