“Is this not torture? Setting the soul in marble and then mocking the living.”25
Objectification is our ability to place images of ourselves within reality, which are independent from ourselves.
Within the void, standing on the infinite beach staring out at the infinite sea, we see only our temporality, our inability to change, to make consequence, to conquer death. And it is by placing within this void images of ourselves that we attempt to assure our own existence.
But it is our ability to control reality, to design, which objectifies our existence, strips our humanity from within us and fills the void around us, drowning us within our own attempt to see ourselves. We no longer inhabit the void, but rather a void filled with objects of ourselves, of markers of existence, of tombstones, of churches and photographs. And as we fill this void, as we extract from ourselves our perceptions and our humanity, our life and our beliefs, the only implication can be that we have less within ourselves, that we become void within our objects, spaces between our images of ourselves.
Architecture which objectifies ourselves, which has embedded meaning and representation within itself becomes a physical manifestation of cultural language. It is within cultural language that sarcasm arises out of the paradox of the object as language distorted, out of used up symbols used again.26 This leads to further distortion of the distortion and sarcasm of the sarcasm. “Irony can no longer be simply the subjective irony of the philosopher. It can no longer be exercised as if from the outside of things. Instead, it is the objective irony which arises from things themselves – it is an irony which belongs to the system itself because the system is constantly functioning against itself.”27 It is with this irony that Graves builds, and U2 sells, and society no longer knows when it is being sarcastic.28
“Can the architect draw his motifs and messages from a contaminated culture without danger? Does our delight in the deadpan outrageousness of some of the more spontaneous manifestations of popular taste lead to much more than a trendy dead end? Will the act of appropriation, engaged in by selective and sophisticated sensibilities, create anything better than a marginal product? Is this incorporation a truly creative procedure or a patronizing, elitist act? Do we co-opt these popular objects and images, or are we co-opted by them? Finally, does the debasement of the borrowed idea or fabric taken from high art corrupt high art as well, as Eco suggests? Are we producing still another kind of art and reality – or simply speeding the degenerative process?”29
“Architecture always represents something other than itself from the moment that it becomes distinguished from mere building.”30 Frampton claims the failure to make the distinction between architecture (language) and building (object) is one of the primary problems with contemporary architecture, as is the acceptance of industrialized construction (a primary producer of objects without language). He further states that a problem with architecture is its autonomous practice.31 The view that architecture can not just be an industrially constructed building is the very reason that the autonomous practice has resulted. By allowing architecture to be a mere building, we are freed of semblance and meaning.32
“To give a text an author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing. Such a conception suits criticism very well, the latter then allotting itself the important task of discovering the author beneath the work: when the author has been found the text is ?explained? – victory to the critic. Hence there is no surprise in the fact that, historically, the reign of the author has also been that of the critic”33