Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stairway to the stars, we got better things to do

Contrary to one theory, the Internet is not made of cats. Not exclusively, anyway. Another major component is photographs of Lego-block re-creations of Escher's 'Relativity', which together occupy not just bandwidth but an entire symphony-orchestrawidth.


So you would think that someone would also have rendered Piranesi's Carceri in the plastic-block medium, but No. In fact when I mentioned the idea to John Coulthart at feuilleton, it went down like the proverbial cup of cold sick aboard a zeppelin Titanic:
I’ve grown rather tired of seeing all of popular culture being filtered through the medium of the Lego brick. The reason you get Escher over Piranesi is that those meme things only work when enough people know what’s been converted into Lego. On the level of Escher (never mind any recent film or TV series) Piranesi isn’t at all popular.
We would call attention to the Carceri as a foreshadowing or harbinger of Escher, but it happens that even more authoritative sources than Riddled have already done so. Note the dubious geometry and depraved perspective. Reutersvärd Triangles are all very well in first-year Psych textbooks and on Swedish postage stamps, but they have NO PLACE IN ARCHITECTURE, and several physical laws must be suspended to prevent Carceri XIV from collapsing in a heap of gravity and contradictions.

Of course Coulthart has no sense of humour clings defiantly to an old-school analog aesthetic. Just as well that I didn't suggest using Legos to build Bruegel's Tower of Babel instead.

15 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Godot on you for helping zrm, he needs some.
~

wiley said...

It's. not. made. of cats?

Substance McGravitas said...

On the level of Escher (never mind any recent film or TV series) Piranesi isn’t at all popular.

SPUTTER. Saw a Piranesi collection in Toronto at the AGO while I saw Escher in godawful Edmonton. THE WORLD IS READY.

Meanwhile in other Canadian news, Calgary is the Kultural Kapital of Kanata for 2012 and to prove it the Glenbow has kowboys.

Smut Clyde said...

There might be an element of wistful thinking in Mr Coulthart's belief that Piranesi is sufficiently esoteric to be safe from the plague of low-rez Lego-fication. Coulthart knows his popular culture -- he prepares SF cover-art for a living -- but he likes to keep his pulp & trash separate from stuff for the cognoscenti.

I'm not gonna troll him about it. If Feuilleton isn't on your blogroll, it should be.

The descriptions of Castle Banat in Lucius Shepard's "The Golden" are a homage to Piranesi. Any other popular-culture references? Research reveals that Piranesi has never featured on Boing Boing.

Substance McGravitas said...

I'm not gonna troll him about it. If Feuilleton isn't on your blogroll, it should be.

Added to the OPML file after following a link from you some other time. Yesterday I saw an item from it and thought OMG CLYDE WILL WANT TO SEE THIS THING FROM MY SUPER-COOL OPML FEED IT IS RIGHT UP HIS ALLEY and then I stopped to think about where I might have gotten such a link.

I also tried to watch The Wire in Lego but there appeared to be zero funny things in it and gave up.

mikey said...

There is significant developing concern on the International diplomatic level that certain rogue agencies are seeking large numbers of highly enriched Lego Blocks in order to build advanced Lego Fission Reactors. In an emergency meeting with Lego Group executives in Billund, Denmark, IAEA officials were said to be seeking strict export controls on the ubiquitous plastic bricks...

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

but they have NO PLACE IN ARCHITECTURE,

Piffle. I have a friend who did his thesis on a series of studies that would have made Piranesi fold up shop and start drinking more heavily.

They were useless, unbuildable, and totally theoretical, so I do not understand why he is not as famous as Gehry or Morphosis.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Also, Lebbeus Woods.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Just as well that I didn't suggest using Legos to build Bruegel's Tower of Babel instead.

Would he settle for Borges' Library of Babel?

fish said...

Shoulda been a pope.

Substance McGravitas said...

Popes jump up to get beat down.

Smut Clyde said...

a series of studies that would have made Piranesi fold up shop

Shops that fold up? Sounds a bit conceptual to me.
Memo to self: upload photographs of some of the Gehry-meets-Speer monstrosities currently sprouting across Singapore -- not so much to serve actual functions, more to advertise the authorities' power and willingness to squander resources. Conceptual, back-of-the-envelope sketches put straight into realisation.

Substance McGravitas said...

Ned is mad at The Google.

vacuumslayer said...

I think you left out a major compornent.

Sirius Lunacy said...

Damn right we got better things to do. Like going to the hardware store!