In Search of an Invisible Building

The Cosmicomics bt Italo Calvino are a collection of beautiful stories flowing through the pages with a witty view on science fiction and jokingly deep philosophical insights. The stories flow, but one thing about them stuck with me, teasing my mind and imagination. Doubtlessly that would be the deliberate choice of the autor to give utterly unpronoucable names to all his characters. Qfwfq, Xlthlx, Vhd Vhd, G’d(w)n, Bb’b and Mr Hnw – just to “name” a few.

Writing is the graphic expression of a sound. And yet here is a graphic expression – but no sound imaginable to it. The names of the characters of the Cosmicomics are a homage to language for they are a celebration of writing, a pecularity of reading and an inablity of speaking. The only character with a pronouncable name is the one who cannot hear it and therefore his name, The Deaf One.

Written word is set in stone. It is valid and true, because it exists and it will remain there.

Each one of the characters of the Cosmicomics has a name and yet, is it a name if it cannot be called out loud? Is it a name if you cannot speak it at all? Each one has one such name, but many bodies and seemingly many lives. Trancending through time and space they are free to define themselves and be the same, but differently, in any age, any form and any place they might be at. If they would have a name such as mine or yours, they would be “stuck” to the definition that this name gives them – are you a female, male or none, where and when do you come from, which language do you speak- all data forever encoded into their being. And yet their freedom is not complete, for although unpronouncable, they do have a name – a name to  keep record of their adventures and to accompany them as they enrich their personalities and retain continuity in their experiences.

It makes me wonder – can architecture be like this? Can a building, in all its materiality, fullness and weight, glide through time and morph its body while keeping its name, keeping its meaning? Could that be an architecture empowered by the imagination of the digital and rooted in the material of the nature and matter?


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