Saturday, October 23, 2010

my thoughts exactly

"now i want to say a few words about escalators and elevators: given their very real pleasures in Portman, particularly these last, which the artist has termed 'gigantic kinetic sculptures' and which certainly account for much of the spectacle and the excitment of the hotel interior, particularly in the Hyatts, where like great Japanese lanterns or gondolas they ceaselessly rise and fall - given such a deliberate making and foregrounding in their own right, I believe one has to see such 'people moves' [Portman's own term, adapted from Disney] as something more than mere function and engineering components. We know in any case that recent architectural theory has begun to borrow from narrative analysis in other fields, and to attempt to see our physical trajectories through such buildings as virtual narratives or stories, as dynamic paths and narrative paradigms which we as visitors are asked to fulfill and to complete with our own bodies and movements. In the Bonaventure, however, we find a dialectical heightening of this process: it seems to me that the escalator and elevators here henceforth replace movement but also above all designate themselves as new reflexive signs and emblems of movement proper.... Here the narrative stroll has been underscored, symbolized, refined and replaced by transportation machines which becomes the allegorical signifier of that older promenade we are no longer allowed to conduct on our own: and this is a dialectical intensification of the autoreferentiality of all modern culture, which tends to turn upon itself and designate its own cultural production as its content. - Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism & Consumer Society {pg. 201} in Film Theory: Concepts in media and cultural studies, vol. 4

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