2012-10-31

Demo-crazy

No doubt that the classical orders are derived from sacrificial rituals. This is clear in the case of the Caryatids or the Persians, but this genalogy can also be traced in the case of the most stylized orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthean (George Hersey, The Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture, 1988). As a form of manifestation of power, it is understandable that architecture appeals, in a more or less veiled way, to the "threat" of violence which sustains it (Walter Benjamin, Critique of Violence, 1921). This distance between the symbol and what it suggests can be directly related to the notion of hypocrisy that also characterizes power: to say something but to mean anything else; the architectural form respects the tradition, regardless of the content that adapt to the circumstances. Thus, democracies use styles inherited from the Classical Greece --the paradigm, even if mythicized, for this form of power--, while the real content, the real state tends increasingly to a dictatorship, de facto or de jure.

Image after James Stuart and Nicholas Revett's The Antiquities of Athens (1787) [pd] and others [ua-fu/fd].