last sunday, i found the 8"x 10" photo pictured above of some men building a radio station (along with some others related to the same station that i will post in the future...). i do have a love of architectural spaces that seem to be for a single person in a landscape to take in a view. this one, i think, is quite spectacular. today, as the photo was gathering dust in a pile on my desk waiting to be scanned and posted, i received a huge lot of photos in the mail, most of them garbage, but two still attached to a scrapbook page with the words "dad's bird cage" written beneath them. in what must surely be familiar "roden logic" to most airforms readers by now, i instantly connected the two... thus, here they are together.
as we move past the beginning of passover, and nearer the sunday of easter, it seemed somehow appropriate to picture these two perches (much more so than the dancing chickens and violin playing bunnies i had planned to post!). clearly, the antenna shot reveals a magnificent suggestion of sunrise viewing, and "dad's birdcage" a perfect spot for watching the sunset.
for years i've been looking at humble architectures of this sort, thinking about structures for one, leaning more towards the isolation of the antenna than dad's birdcage, but more towards dad's birdcage than the antenna in terms of humility of scale.
some of the things that alexander graham bell built, particularly a couple of viewing stations to watch his beautiful kites, seem this perfect combination of the material presence of dad's humble wooden shanty and the geometry-o-desics of the antenna's form. bell's viewing station looked a lot like the small surveyors' pyramids i posted a few weeks ago.
when i was in wyoming during january there was a beautiful stile we could use to step over a barbed wire fence. having never really seen one close up, nor interacted with one, i was instantly reminded of bell's architecture. it was such a wonderful experience to walk up and down this structure, to walk simply and easily over a fence, like a ladder broken in half and bent over. the stile was like a piece of architecture that was only a space upon a frame, or a kind of pedestal for this short activity of a climb-walk. the sensation of moving through it was quite incredible, as it activated parts of the fence that one would not be able to navigate without it. the stile's form and construction reflected much of what i long for in the viewing structures i sometimes think about; for at the top of the stile there is only room for one; and as one stands upon the top step, one feels to be magically standing in absolute stillness upon the thin top line of a fence...
there's a great quote by bataille where he talks about the word silence, and how it's meaning is essentially "the abolition of sound" and so to speak the word is a "token of its own death"; suggesting that if one speaks the word "silence", one opposes the possibility of its true meaning. the word "stile", feels to me as something wholly different. it is an awkward and beautiful word, feeling both visually and audibly like the construction and presence of the thing it represents.
william s. burroughs suggests that the words in an "alphabetic language" have no "pictorial resemblance" to what they mean; but in the case of the word stile, i think it's actually pretty close, though not perfect. perhaps, if the "L" was in the middle, and the word became "stlie" it would then perfectly mirror in form the thing it represents. one could just as easily stand upon the center of the word "stlie" as one could upon an actual stile; and there, upon the center of that word, or that thing, one could see from the top of a wonderfully balanced "l", a sun rise or a sun set, with one's feet firmly planted upon the apex of an "l" that somehow felt a bit like an antenna or a bird cage...
Labels: alexander graham bell, antenna, bataille, bird cage, roden logic, william s. burroughs