Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our walk and the phenolic chain

An early Sunday morning, Whit and I were minding our own business in the garden, when by chance a twig was snapped underfoot. We weren't sure this was what Wittgenstein meant when he said, What's ragged should be left ragged, but by the same token, we felt it wasn't our choice. Nature was taking a hand, and we were part of it. Yet this rupture of the phenolic chain is, ideally, allowed to take place on its own, as Mr Noguchi proposed in his lighting. He knew, those tiresome hexagons on the blackboard in Chemistry class, depicting polyphenols in their ornery, immature state, would eventually polymerise, becoming svelte, opening their weave.

Yet where is this refuge for development's salubrious suspension to unfurl from coarser form? You may very well think of it as a school, if your sentiments run in that direction; we couldn't possibly comment. But we can say, beyond peradventure, that it is the well-made bottle of well-grown wine. The 750ml academy, so oft-reviled for its remove from reality as to mark it, also, as a sanctuary from Philistines, asserts its prerogative of lending time for raggedness to achieve some tier of coherency. We call these inmates, tannins, but we know very well what they are. They are harbingers of fruit, to gain suppleness in time.

An affectation of rapport with wine is one of the sadder traits of the acquisitive culture. It's a commonplace in that dull land, to hear the demand for the biggest red ya got. Who would be a bottle for that consciousness; it has no proportion, no complexity, no elegance, no structure, no shelf life. These virtues are natural traits, only their betrayal is unnatural.

Architecture immortalises and glorifies something. Hence there can be no architecture where there is nothing to glorify.

Ludwig Wittgenstein
1889 - 1951
Culture and Value
Diaries, 1914 - 1951
Peter Winch, translator
University of Chicago Press, 1980©


  1. well said, you sir are a connoisseur, and yes, that is a nice one.

  2. An understudy, ma'am. Still, I publish your advert shamelessly, not failing to note the exquisite particularity in the last word. :)