in order to deconstruct architecture we must deconstruct its structure. that is, we must subvert the ‘truths’ from which architecture derives its power. architecture objectifies power in a physical, concrete way. it provides the structure for extensions of power. architecture is the manifestation of power in the same way that laws are manifestations of power by politicians. there is no power inherent in a law, in a politician, in an architect, rather they are objectifications of the unseen powers. they are the power meters. and while no power is inherent in the meter, the meter can serve to increase the powers it objectifies by producing ‘truths’, by showing tides, by public polls, by showing the power in an attractive way so that we will desire to give more power. to consume and produce more power. architecture is not simply the claiming of space, but a mechanism through which more space can be claimed. it is the structuring of successive truths.
architecture is about ownership. it is an objectification which allows us to preserve and extend our image of self. it is a conduit of self, of extended ownership and therefore power. it claims a space, an area, a definition. it is the structure of our own ideals and the mechanism for the with which can further define, further claim autonomy and immortality. architecture is division. separation. of our self and surroundings. of life and death. lines drawn in the sand which we believe to be ultimate truths (because of the successive truths). simultaneous with division is always distribution. identified is what is and is not us. what we can an can not control. a thumb-sucking narcissistic self-consumption of our own images and objectifications. it is not death that kills, but the realization of death. and despite our futile attempts at immortal stones, we can not elude death as part of our definition because death is the definition. it is the perceived finitude which is the basis of separation. adam tasted the fruit of knowledge and perceived the limits of himself – death: death is conscious. with every attempt to overcome death we become more of death. this is the journey of life – from the lack of definition, pure action, function, to a self-consumptive death conscious. the conscious stems from death and produces death. it is not the grave, but the tombstone which is our death. to the degree which we attempt to separate our self from death, we assure it by living death. this is architecture, a separation, a finitude which we call our own. a creation with strings. a concrete body onto which we project our rotting soul.
the west wasn’t won, it was owned.
truth: all land is owned.
this is the first subversion i propose: to buy an acre or two of land somewhere in the united states and to then give it away – to no one. land without an owner. and i wouldn’t tell anyone where this land is located, only that it exists. there would be no borders (no definitions). to know that somewhere in the united states there are a couple of acres of non-owned land would change the entire idea of space. is it possible to revoke ownership? to claim that a piece of land is not owned by anyone? and that anything which is in that realm is therefore also not owned. to remove my name from the deed and simultaneously remove the very deed? a land without ownership would be a land of anarchy. a land without a god. would we be able to identify our self as separate from the space surrounding us? without claiming ownership? could we find our way out?
the legal proceedings would be intense and most likely, impossible. no one owns it (including the government) so no one could tax it. but more than that, our society is structured in such a way that we can not even conceptualize non-ownership, it is not an option. in the system of binaries, non-ownership must exist, but it exists under the condition that while i do not own it, someone else does. it is as hard to imagine non-ownership as it is to imagine space – the space beyond the atmosphere that is nothing. (that which carries no sound, that which has no air.) it is difficult to imagine nothing. (although it makes up the largest percentage of the world we live in). non-owned land – it would be ‘useless’ space – by our definition. people might like to call it everyone’s space – but that is only because they can not conceive of non-ownership, of negative ownership. while space owned by everyone might have the same effect as space owned by no one, it is in no way the same. to have space owned by no one is to subvert the idea that all space is owned. it subverts the ideas of ownership by providing a stable constant alternative – non-ownership. what would be built in a space devoid of ownership? why would anyone waste there time building anything there? if someone did build something there could you call it architecture?
how high does ownership go anyway? you have rights to the bottom couple hundred of feet of atmosphere, the earth’s surface, and, i assume, a pie shaped wedge of earth clear to the earths core. above that the government has rights through various agencies to fly planes and what not through your pie shaped wedge. somewhere up there though, there is still some unclaimed space. unless you imagine your ownership as that pie shaped wedge extending infinitely upwards and outwards, a dynamically changing claim since the earth spins and moves. you might have just owned a star for a millisecond. (what if it was moveable non-owned space, like a negative vehicle, a dynamic bubble of non-ownership, a void of ownership.) how can you tax land which no one owns. the entire united states territory was claimed and doled out for free (basically) because the idea of non-ownership does not, can not, interface with the structure of our philosophy, economy and government. the government claimed, ‘bought’ all the land and then doled it out to citizens. the native americans did not understand ownership, how someone could own land. (if anything, the land owns you. the sheep farmers shared grazing lands until it was ordered that it all be owned and fenced. why? so that it could be objectified and taxed. ownership is the basis of all power obtained through objectification.) the trick was not getting the native americans to sell manhattan for a string of beads – the trick was telling them they owned it in the first place. (objectifying the land into something which could be owned, and therefore, taken).