21-40, prev.

-Though its relationship to survival is not quantifiable in the way of the axe or spear, paleolithic and neolithic magic was not casual. The difficulty involved in its practice (and likely uneven success) speaks to its desperation, telling us it must have been about the most important aspects of the ‘lithic experience—fertility or death or hunger. The drawings on the cave walls were likely not mere illustrations. But the difference from the “normal,” or “effective” concern about these things is that magic arises from the impulse to exhibit intentionality in the absence of a “real” object. It is in this sense literally meta-or-allo- physical.

-Magic fixates on bringing into presence of some thing—through conjuring—or some knowledge/information—through divination, or it is interested in preventing the presence of something, warding off evil, escaping death/mortality. In this, I am not excluding the sort of illusion that we think of as magic today—sleight of hand, etc—because in fact this still carries some of the sense of what comes to mind when we are thinking about architecture— (and it is interesting to note the relative status of architecture today as similarly reduced).

-Magic makes the drawings on the cave wall not mere illustrations. It makes them present, as exhibited intentionality, in a way that their existence as marks of ocher or charcoal could not. Even when hidden deep away in caves, even when made solely for the use of the shaman, magic is presentational in the sense that it must be witnessed and acknowledged to be effective. But that intention is uniquely intransitive; it is neither towards an object or another person; it is neither about effect nor communication. It results in a specialness, a special thing, that is not a tool because, as magical, it does not objectively do anything. Maybe someday we will come to call it art?

-Magic first situates twin issues that become key points in the accumulating idea of architecture, as distinct from building: PRESENCE AND INTENTIONALITY before, beyond, or apart from meaning and communication.

-Perhaps another way to put this that is more familiar, using more contemporary terminology, is to say that it was affective before it was effective, or architecture happens before affect is deployed in service of or despite effects, like communication. And it was via magic that affect appeared, to contrast with effect or function. Affect of course is the experience of non-functional or performative effects without communication, or as Kipnis describes it “disciplinary tricks absent signification.”

-The affective dimensions of remarkable presence and intentionality—or specialness, are for architecture manifest in two ways that move it away from magic towards a relationship to what we will come to know as building, distinct from other possibilities of manifestation like what we will come to know as sculpture, and away from mute affect towards overt expression: Delimitation of (habitable) space->(building) or expression of idea?-> (special/magic)

-Just as we ask which is prior, between specialness and building in the formula architecture = special building, so we might suspect by now that these two associations, space and ideas, are intertwined in the same chicken or egg way:

-IS the expression simply “the delimitation of space,” or conversely, is expression itself an idea that is evident THROUGH the delimitation of space? If the former—the remarkable expression of space, delimited—then we are back to the possibility of there being some prior sense of the architecture that leads to this delimitation; if the latter, then what IS that idea?

-So, this is a threshold to the possibility of an idea of architecture (that we might recognize). This is the edge of history, before language enters the picture and the conversation begins, before specialness or affect gives way to expression and begs the question of what is expressed, what is the idea, allowing the question about which is prior, delimitation or expression, to be asked. By this point, the question makes sense, though; Presence, Intention, space and expression are “in the house:” the remarkable presence of a relation to space and the potential for architecture as an idea.

-The next ingredient is the house itself, I suppose: the glue that binds all these and retrospectively prompts questions of priority—the fact of ORDER -“ORDER”

-For humans, order evolves naturally beyond the mere delimitation of space (natural selection, not magically) as a general expectation and condition. It evolves into the world, alongside and in service of civilization’s organizational arrangements and requirements.

-In considering order beyond spatial definition, and its obvious relation to the idea of architecture, we are again led into a chicken or egg discussion—did an idea of architecture foster the emergence of order, or was order something that made architecture conceivable? Does architecture express the fact of order in the mode of spatial definition, or does the visible order in certain spatial compositions suggest architecture? Certainly, today the two terms are almost synonymous when applied to issues of making stuff, whether buildings, computers or fashion.

-So, at this point in my version of the story I skip forward to the Greeks, where, according to Heidegger, everything (related to our architectural traditions or discipline) begins, and I accept as axiomatic the view that this order is most importantly and obviously manifest in buildings, as the most resource intensive, physically imposing, technically advanced product of emergent civilization.

-Despite the obvious evidence of order in prior Egyptian monuments, its ambition is alien, unhuman., selfishly oriented to service of the pharaoh in his/her afterlife… It recalls the torchlit magic of Lascaux in its desperate thanatological fantasy.

-For architecture, it was a dead end (pun intended).

-On the other hand, the sense of order in Greek works has emerged from the cave, deploying the magic of reason, called philosophy, in the service of life. Specifically, it connects the specialness, the magic, to the individual viewer, metaphorically “projecting” the living, thinking individual’s identity, relation to society and the cosmos into the form and composition of the building, starting with the well-documented similes relating the orders to the body itself, but including as well the way that body is free, out under the sun.

-Our western intellectual tradition begins here, and so with it our western idea of architecture. Architecture is us, writ large. Trachtenberg: “The Greeks, perhaps more than any other culture, lived at the razor’s edge of the historical process. …The Greeks were the last of the megalithic architects… Suddenly, in Greece, between the eighth and sixth centuries…appeared… a radical new sense of the nature of man and his place in the scheme of things: that man should strive to create his own destiny, to exercise his intellect and his will—even against the gods. Man became the measure of all things, including the divine.” -Scully: The Greek temples “stand, like the Greek culture which imagined them, at a central point in human history: at the moment in time when the deepest past, with all its instinctive intuitions, fears, joys, and reverences, was brought for a while into harmony with the hard challenges of a new and liberated thought—at the moment, that is, when the self and objects outside the self were alike identified as objective realities.

-So fast forward to the Greeks, past the obvious advances in construction, organization, and even representation that the Egyptians achieved, because the Greeks put the thinking human at the center. In contrast to the Egyptians, and to the later Romans, both of whom used architecture to assert the authority and control of the state, Greeks make discreet objects, dynamically balanced in space, inviting a dialog between the moving subject and the obliquely viewed building, between the building and the surrounding landscape.