mardi, novembre 03, 2009

New Suburbanism, HOMES and Heidegger

what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this what is this

I have spent the past few hours reading about New Urbanism and A Critique of New Urbanism and several other essays for G. Hermanuz's Housing Theories class here at CCNY. I have become a fan of the group, Homemakers Organization for a More Egalitarian Society (HOMES). New Urbanism is a big subject that I am not ready to write about yet so I am posting a review I wrote a few weeks ago.

30 Books in 30 Days Part 3: Building-Dwelling-Heidegger

Martin Heidegger's Bauen Wohnen Denken (1951) translated by Albert Hofstadter as "Building Dwelling Thinking", is included in Harper and Row's (1971) Poetry, Language, Thought and reprinted as a HarperCollins Perennial Classic in 2001. Poetry, Language, Thought is a collection of seven writings which may in one way or another relate to art, poetry, thought and language but are more so are reflections on what it means to be human. These seven writings, originally formed as lectures are: "The Thinker As Poet" (Ausder Erfahrung des Denkens, 1947); "The Origin of the Work of Art" (Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes, 1935); "What Are Poets For?" (Wozu Dichter?, 1926); "Building Dwelling Thinking" (Bauen Wohnen Denken, 1951); "The Thing" (Das Ding, 1950); "Language (Die Sprache, 1950); "...Poetically Man Dwells..." (...dichterisch wohnet der Mensch..., 1951). Heidegger uses vivid architypical examples, repetition of assertions and etymology to explain modern concepts of Truth, Work, Being, Thing, and Beauty.

At the outset of "Building Dwelling Thinking", Heidegger asks, "What is it to dwell?" Then follows this question with a series of statements:

1. We attain dwelling by building. 2. Some buildings are not dwellings 3. All buildings are in the domain of our dwelling. 4. inhabit does not equal dwell.

In the English translation, this premise is left somewhat ambiguous. Is dwelling a noun and a verb here? Is building both noun and verb? Hofstadtler's English translation of Bauen Wohnen Denken leaves in many of the German words: Bauen, buan, bauen, Nachbar, Nachgebur, Nachgebauer, buri, beuren, beuron, bhu, beo, bin, ich bin, du bist, Gewohnte; but leaves off the articles: die, das, der; thereby reducing the distinction between noun and verb. This confusion creates some humor and perhaps is a bit poetic. M. Heidegger gives examples for buildings that are not dwellings the truck driver on the highway, the mill worker in the mill, the engineer in the power station. This meditation on the words dwell, dwelling, build, building go on for quite some time and define and re-define our understanding of house, home and what it means to live. Heidegger asks, "Is a modern house necessarily a dwelling...even if people take shelter there?"

5. Buildings that are not dwellings serve man's dwelling--are determined by man's dwelling. (Therefor...) 6. Dwelling is the end that presides over all building. 7. Building and dwelling are separate activities. (But..) 8. To build IS to dwell.

Hiedegger asks, "Who tells us this?" and answers, "Language." (language dominates man?) Who gives us the standard? He takes us to the roots of Germanic language to the Old English, High German word Baun, which, contrary to what one might think, he says means not to move about, but to stay, to remain in place. This strikes me as funny. I can almost see Heidegger pacing around as he makes this speach. He paints a picture of dwelling that lifts human existance from the mundane to the ritual, mystical and spiritual realm. Simultaneously he give an image of building that makes one think more of Jewish communes than Nazi Architecture.

9. Bauen=building German 10. buan=to dwell, to remain, to stay in place (Old English, High German) 11. bauen=to dwell 12. Nachbar=neighbor (German) 13. neahgebur=near dweller (Old English) 14. Nachgebur 15. Nachgebauer 16. buri, buren, beuren, beuron=dwelling, abode, place of dwelling (an assertion) 17. Our old word baun means on one hand to build and on the other hand to dwell. 18. We think of dwelling as an activity 19. bauen, buan, bhu, beo=bin, ich bin, du bist=to be

Heidegger asks, "What does it mean to be?"

20. Bauen also means to cherish, to protect. 21. To be human means both to be mortal and to be on earth; to till the soil and to cultivate the vine. 22. There is a difference between ship and temple building and this other type of dwelling, caring and cultivating. 23. Caring and cultivating is not creating something new but maintaining.

Heidegger speaks of the four fold--earth, sky, mortals, and the divinities. He identifies humans as mortals and defines mortality as both being capable of death and dwelling on the earth. He asks then, "In what way does building belong to dwelling?" Heidegger then goes on to meditate and very eloquently, raise-up the words and ideas of Bridge and Location arriving at Raum, Rum the German for Space which he describes as a clearing or a leaving room for something. He speaks of going to the door of the lecture hall and already being there. His words evoke images that create a mental space in the mind. But he makes a point to talk about specific places and things as well as these architypical places and things. He gives us Tikto the Greek for production, to bring forth and tec and techne, to produce or to let appear. He brings up an image of a farm house in the Black Forest and a coffin called "tree of the dead".

Finally, we are returned to the original questions of what is meant to dwell and what has building to do with dwelling. Heidegger touches on the subjects of homelessness only to say that lack of houses is not the problem. The perpetual problem is learning to dwell.

2 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonyme a dit…

Hellο, I еnjoy rеadіng all
οf yоur аrticle. I wanted tо write a little сommеnt to suppoгt

Also visit my ѕіte: make money uploading videos