Tunnels and Voices: Love and the Cultural Architectonic of Space

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architecture / health / love / multiplicity / noise / Politics / reason / space / transformation / voice

(Ken Garduno)

We were a silent, hidden thought in the folds of oblivion; and we have become a voice that causes the heavens to tremble.
(Kahlil Gibran)

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…
(E. E. Cummings)

The voice — what an unnatural and traumatic element! It is the theoretically irreconcilable, the ever-ambivalent (a voice is never univocal.) It is an everted organic flow, a living sonority: the voice is the elemental flow exchanged through the logic and the architecture of social arrangement. But the really critical question is the architecture of spaces: how are the tunnels and pathways through which the voice flows formed? How do we ‘build’ these vacuoles, tubules, these micro-vortices?

In brief, our question is: how are subjectivities produced which are able to listen, which can become points in a signal-sign network? Where does this noise-filled tunnel lead, where else but somewhere within, somewhere between? The voice comes from inner space, between the tribe, a virtual univocal space that becomes individual, becomes a part-object; or rather, the individual, the voice-machine, rises up only against the tribe, in pitched battle against its calming background-noise and static ritornelles. The tribe reacts against the jagged neologism, this unsanctioned activity of deviational intuition, the echoic profanation; the word which cannot be integrated becomes a war, it is the spark which flies between disparate spaces, presaging millennia of arguments, violence and bloodshed.

There is also a word of peace, of reason, of convalescence which flies above the fray: it is like a songbird whose mating song blinds itself to the entire pathetic world. Love is really only the pathos of the one, and its blind inverse; there is no true eversion in love, no temporalizing of space, only an active impulse and a reactive matter. A binary machine: only when love breaks down is there truth, when it decomposes; only through its decay can new machines begin digging, opening and exploring the depth and darkness beneath, which love once covered over, a chaotic veil hiding a strangely unfamiliar order of time. Love is not a line of flight to be traced but a screen, a white wall or face to be scrambled and reformulated. Love is the “final” or abstract transvaluation, its relation is that of an absolute mapping or transference: a simply-connected consciousness to consciousness communication, bypassing the tedious parasitic chain of inter-transmissions.

However, thought-translation (even if we should see it sooner rather than later) is still not peace, but only the more direct conveyance of difference, of differentiation. A thought cannot be seized except through production of a form. Nietzsche wrote that the perfect must not appear made: it raises an interesting question about the role of the shaper in manufacture, the subject in expression, the true desire of the lover regarding the beloved. For the subject must not appear as himself subject, he must disappear in the process of expression, he must become a force or moment of the process. But then the process must also disappear in its singularity, its haecceity, it must become part of the event. And once we have gone this far, why not go a bit farther? For finally even the event itself must disappear into the flow of matter, it must become pure energy, a pure intensity without relation, an absolute quality or qualitative duration. Thus the engineer’s schematic is really composed of voids, spaces where matter has been selected not to flow, here or there to halt, collapse and return.

An architect is an archaeologist, he really only builds temporal recesses, spaces where time flows backwards; just as love in the end constructs only its own absence, and builds a silent prison out of multiplicity. Love is precisely a mystical bond; love is heaven, or rather, the specific absence of heaven. Love singularly determines a unique and terrible (political) catastrophe, all the more horrifying for being personal, individualized terror. Love, a special ‘taste,’ in the end becomes a new slavery: it is the final and lasting victory of late capitalism, i.e., its “total” reformation, its conciliation and meek apology for history. Once the minoritarian voice has been publicly championed, the market suddenly discovers ethics; so now we produce ethics as well. The axiomatic method is still the same interventionary maneuver as always; now, simply more evolved: the method is catastrophe. the power of violence creates ‘peace’. this is the logic of capital, but health is not silence, it is noise!

Health is precisely still making noise, still rising above the background, the static. health organically generates new coherencies and intensities, a healthy spirit dominates, by creating new cultural architectonics, aligning fractured ontologies. There is a hidden or nomadic pathway between expressive blocks of power, leading us on towards new intensities. The path of love is endless: it creates new resonances, it modulates its own resonance, it molds the object with care. Sculpture is a caress: the sculptors task is voluminous, voluptuous; a differential intensity and a continual transformation. Can we love without molding? Without possessing, shaping, controlling? And to all onlookers, reawakening the same power and violence, the monstrous darkness of pain, the night in which all are blind? But this “mercy” would then be precisely indifference, it would already mean: not to touch, not to change, not to feel… and thus not to love at all.

The Author

mostly noise and glare


  1. An architect is not an archaeologist, even if he put a context in evidence like said Louis Kahn (a building is a gift to the light and sometimes a gift to an hill to put it in evidence)

    Love in effervescence doesn’t construct only its own absence 🙂 You use the way and the feature of the negation. It is curious by the way of the idiomes you use on your blog.

  2. Right, I see how this could be confusing. 🙂

    What this amounts to is an effort to problematize ‘human’ love, and also to get us to think about how the way we put the voice to use is regimented in a very similar way to how we put space to use.

    I think what I was trying to saying was that the voice comes before space and time and is a necessary (but perhaps not sufficient) condition for their division and clarification.

    Architecture is archaeology if only in the sense that they are engaged in creating human habitations which have a social and historical context which must be “unearthed,” i.e., which we must transform to create the possibility of a new Earth.

    I do think architects (perhaps at they very best) are capable of a kind of temporal inversion — at least when they engage in breaking down our nostalgic ‘love’ for the forms and forces of the past, and through their creations allow ‘future’ forms to reveal themselves. It’s still a bricolage, still an intermingling of different kinds of forces using whatever is at hand to solve problems — novelty is usually an accident; generally the inter-fusion of available formed and unformed matter doesn’t lead to forces or machines capable of acting in totally new ways.

    A “gift to the hills”? Perhaps, but I think the underlying motivation is ultimately the production itself, this mysterious identity of the creator and the creation involved in the (even theoretical) grasping of unformed matters and applying novel productive diagrams to them.

    (Won’t artists typically rationalize their work as a gift to God and humanity, even and especially when the work is dehumanizing — or simply uninspired?)


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