The Farmhouse In Schwartzwald
- on seduction and distraction
The Body and Space Morphologies Studios
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When seeing something, hearing something, or getting to neighbour something, meet someone or even just hear of something or someone – one immediately starts to place this (whatever it is) in relation to what one knows from before. Making up a picture of what it will/should/is desired to be, beyond what one can actually sense.
This first impression will then grow and become a more elaborate picture as time is spent and impressions are dealt with.
The picture grows, seemingly from two sides at the very same time - autonomously and restrained.
We can reproduce bits and pieces of this experience in different ways, either as a document for ourselves, or to convey the impression to someone else. We can write, draw, tell, act, show etc. - but there will always be something we will not be able to pass on.
Dreams and nightmares are a clear, yet somewhat troubling, example.
That horrific terror, or AMAZING(!) place one so vividly just was faced with can never be conveyed with the same impact as when one sees it for oneself.
I find this deeply fascinating to work with: having something (mood, feeling, scene, dream) that I know I am not able to communicate clearly to anyone else, but still working on things with that very feeling, or narrative in mind. Things still come about, and the more i make, the more i feel that the thought i first had in mind start to gravitate towards the things - and vice versa. At a certain point, (although never reaching a “pure“ translation) the things take on a life of their own. They no longer need the narrative, nor the spoken word. They seem perfectly able to exist on their own, in power of themselves, and most rewarding: they even have the ability to bring about new ideas and impulses.
Location: 47°58’41.0”N 8°08’39.9”E (47.978067,8.144428)
Date: Saturday 29.04.2017
I no longer think my fascination for the farmhouse has to do with how it (if it is a farmhouse) is built onto the ground. We saw many of these bodies as we drove through this part of Germany. Schwarzwald they call it – a mountainous part of Germany located in the southwest, with France neighbouring it to the west, and Switzerland to the south.
The farmhouse came along with the mountains of the region. They didn’t feel much like mountains, but more like hills, or waves.
We drove in and out of small villages, down long winding roads with beautiful views, and up through dark dense forests, with twisty roads meandering along the curvature of the hills they were carved into. All of this was much welcome change, after almost a week of rather flat travelling, and many hours spent on the autobahn. Driving a motorcycle on Autobahn is as boring as it is exhausting.
Would the impression of the farmhouse have the impact it had if placed elsewhere? Somewhere flat?
I don’t know, but I think not. I only saw these bodies here. Similarly placed.
It appeared almost as a roof, and only that. A tilted plane, folded in the middle, levitating above the grassy hills. The roof had rows of small holes in it, several rows, indicating that there could be several stories under the roof, or maybe one big space.
One immediately started to wonder what they were doing in there, how dark it must have been, how it was divided, where the cows dwelled, why they made it so big, how they made it so big, if one could come inside.
At the same time it was placed it such a way that it did not disturb the curvature of the landscape.
I don’t know what that is supposed to mean - it did not sit on top of the hill.
At the two ends of the building, the short sides, the roof was cut at an angle, outwards or inwards, I’m not sure.
It does however appear to be outwards in the way I remember it.
Like some semi-crooked guy wearing a worn out cap, not a straight brim cap, but a curved one - a dirty one.
Its dirty because the owner likes to bend the brim between his dirty hands every now and then before he puts it on.
Or a neurotic person, covering his side view by putting both his hands up to his chins, thumbs backward with bent fingers. Maybe to lessen the burden of impressions coming from the outside world - or maybe to hide from someone or something.
I don’t think the house had something to hide from the outside, nor do I think it had the capabilities of sensing the outside world in any way. The roof was probably just a cap, protecting whoever lived inside from rain and such when they decided to go out to the veranda.
This cap did nevertheless do something with how I perceived the entire house. It seemed crooked.
I would not by a used car from this farmhouse if it tried to sell me one.
I have come to think that maybe the impression of the farmhouse has less to do with the farmhouse itself than what I used to think.
It was another on of those times when one thinks: ahh, that reminds me of a *something*.
Or one even says it out loud, if there is someone else; “look!! That looks like a *something*”
And the other one can reply: “yeah, or maybe a *something*!”
One can see certain things, patterns, relations or compositions and immediately, without having to do any conscious
cognitive work recognise what It reminds us of.
Can this recognition be the reason for why one finds oneself seduced again and again by strange things?
That they often remind us of something we have seen, and know, something living?
It is tempting (if not reassuring) to think that being seduced by something living is more likely, and more reasonable than being seduced by something that does not live.
After all: if we did not, we would simply not continue to exist as a species.
I would nevertheless argue that my (and others) fascination for what I would like to call weird stuff could be a consequence of mammals functioning the way they do, a sort of bi-effect of our affectionate way of being.
A glitch causing us to, every now and then, fall in a sort of semi-love with things we have no rational reason to do so with.
A monkey baby will always prefer the soft cloth resembling a monkey mamma without a bottle of milk, instead of the metal monkey mamma dummy with a bottle of milk. It seeks affection and care, rather than covering its more basic needs.
Are we, in the same way as the monkey drawn to the cloth dummy, drawn to architecture expressing attributes resembling what we know from living things?
And if so: What are these attributes, and what is our threshold of recognition?
Pushing it to far has the opposite effect. Building a house resembling a duck leaves us with few other impressions than exactly that: seeing a house that looks like a duck.
We can easily sort these things, and I believe this sorting gives us the cognitive edge to hold off the seduction, or the fascination. We see the “duck”, and we know that this duck imitation contains a house, but we have no problem in perceiving the transparency this impersonation inherits.
I think it is in the recognition that we don’t recognise the interest can be allowed to unfold.