The emplotment of the Phylogenetic and Ontogenetic chronicle- a 'rough draft for a very complex subject!'




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I have described, in my Duncanlogies (1, 2 & 3 ) the Architectures of the temporal horizons of 'Somatic Time', a term taken from Paul Ricoeur. I have further described in "Empire of the Forest", the Architectural Embodiment of 'anti-time' or Infinity. Beyond that I have described the nature of the "Time of Inception" in my essay "Raft of Fire, Mountain of Water". This essay discusses the Architectural embodiment of the times, or histories of the Ontogenetic emergence of the human individual, and the Phylogenetic emergence of the human species. I call this 'vertical time' for fairly obvious reasons that are as metaphorical as they are analogical.


The "Camera Lucida" of the 'Walking Order' can be inscribed so as to embody a being - not through replicating their bodily appearance, as in a statue or a painting, but by inscribing the Chamber with their ideas and other attributes seen within the scope of the Historic Time of the Succession of Generations. This enables the occupants of the Ark to bring what intellectual forbears they choose along with them on their voyage across whatever floods and storms the future may hold. But they themselves, also voyage in this Ark. Which is to say that they, themselves, have landed on Ararat, and blasted out its cavernous interior, releasing the "that which was there", by conjoining it with "that which came from afar". The Republic of the Valley, the crucible of the Natural Community, (the decision to proceed taken by the Building and Grounds Committee) is formed By the act of Genesis. This is where the lively occupants of the "present time" are "this very day".


The Martell Hall is the place where the sense of this "being here" is most "present". This is because it is the place where all of the separate strands of the emplotment of the temporal narratives, of Eternity, or Anti- Time, Lived, or Somatic, Time, and the varieties of Historic Time intersect and interweave within a single chamber. This is the chamber,. for the Present Time, that is the equivalent to the Occluded Temple that embodied the Renaissance space of the Mythic Time of Antiquity. However our version of this "place" is not a space displaced into Mythic Time which, by a process of reverse aggression, is able to dematerialise the spaces of Natural Time. Rice Campus needs no courtly aristocracy or priestly class to enact the ballets of the Golden Age, nor does it have to deal with an "excluded" social mass of disorganised, superstitous urban peasants suffering under a mediaeval political economy. It was the unbearable tensions created by this schism that led to the great European disasters, the social collapses accompanying the violent ends of the Bourbon, Hapsburg, and Romanoff "Antiquities". It is apt that they were denoted "Ancien Regimes", for even if their 'regimen' was scientific and rational, which it generally was, their 'style' was 'Antique'.

My "chamber of temporalities" is not sealed off from a surrounding mass of more disorderly, over-modest habitations. It is open, and entirely porous to the other rooms and routes of the building, and of the campus, none of which aspire to the condition of "picturesque squalor" that is the appropriate embedment for the glittering temples of the Golden Bomb. The squalor of the "urban peasantry" and their ramshackle habitations is the civic tinder that the Occluded Temple needs, as in Nero's holocausting of Rome, combust the furious imagination in its urge to imagine the city purified and pristine upon its Arcadian hills.

Yet it this very open-ness to the mundane generality of the properly ordinary and everyday life of the Campus that entails that one must enhance, in some way, both the definition and the iconological intensity of the focal "room" to a higher pitch. It is necessary, for our time, to transcend the limits of natural space without denying that this is still "real" space. My proposition is that this can not be done by merely distorting space, itself, in the manner of Frank Gehry. I find his emblem, here, of a giant fish, most apposite. However hard the fish struggles, and leaps, the boundaries of its netted prison etch into its living force all the more clearly and painfully. Space can not be transcended by its geometrical manipulation. That only defines it all the more clearly. Nothing can be transcended by being merely "worked upon". To transcend is to transpose. Space can only be lost, and refound as beyond Space, when placed in Time.

Yet Time has no spatial dimension. The future only exists when it presents itself, and the past is lost except that it remain, in some way, present. Time can only become space when we are present in it. It is the space, or more properly the place, that we occupy, as present in time, which makes space both existent and yet transcendent of its immediate, physical constituents, its "hyle". Thus the function of my "main chamber" is to merely present to us, as objectified narratives, the various threads of temporality interlaced into as dense and tight and yet a porous a garment as only a weave can achieve.

It is we, in our own being, that weave the space of being out of the warp and weft of time. A culture that struggles, as ours does at present, with a mere "hyletics of spatiality" is like a fish in a net, deprived of the breath of time, and dying for want of the life that flows through its "dunamis".

The threads of the garment are of infinite length, or as long as they can be woven before being cut by some agency that does not wish to extend them, through some either deliberate or accidental act. In Rice the garment virtually ceases, for reasons we will not, here, elaborate, at the edges of its Campus. But no city is irredeemable. Time can be embodied in many ways. Even car parks can breathe Eternity.

My room, although related to the Golden Bomb of the Renaissance, is its topological inverse. Theirs was sealed from its surroundings. Mine is open. Theirs destroys its mundane setting. The "bomb" was defused by the Neo-Classical City of the Enlightenment. The "dangerous" Monuments, filled with the strange rites of "Antiquity", were isolated. They were detached from the urban body and placed in the centre of plazas, surrounded by a cordon sanitaire of urban void. Camillo Sitte described this and regretted it, without seemingly understanding the underlying political project of the Humanist Monument. My Architecture, having undersood the reasons for the Project of Antiquity, reconstitutes the locus of institutional power and authority as the centering "agora" of the open, porous, Valley of the Natural Community: the Republic of the Valley. Ours is a golden market place, a temple that is not on an acropolis, but is centred inside the body of its building and its campus and its city. It is woven into, and with, the "hyle" of the life and being of the present inhabitants.

The porosity of my version of the "Occluded Temple" is the guarantee of its political authority. By being open and centred, and not closed and displaced, as were the ruined, barred, temples of Claude's Campagna, our Temple achieves a "demoplastic" authenticity. It is also this "unboundedness" which guarantees its extra-spatiality. It is a golden machine that focusses and defines, revealing, in its concentration the narratives of the social dynamic which have come together the better to re-radiate again. The Modern Occluded Temple is a heart that beats, back and forth, along the arteries of the Architectural narratives it focusses and climaxes.

The columns in Duncan Hall stand plastically distinct in a basilican frame around Martell Hall. By allowing them to be dressed in the same way as all the other columns in the building, one allows them to perform their Architectural duty by the rules of plasticity alone. To an Architect, accustomed to a medium that is incapable of more effort than the mere displacement of space by matter, and vice versa, an innocent enough game, after all, the further decoration of the Basilican Frame would be superfluous , if not compositionally detrimental. However, to our project, which has a role for our Medium that all Architects would find normal, if we were alive at any time prior to this Century, but that few alive today could credit, the distinction, by iconographic inscription, of the columnar Frame to the Chamber of Being, is necessary.

This is because its very difference would mark out the Chamber as that place where the narratives of Temporality reached a pitch that fused Time and Space into the unitary embodiment that is Being. This is to feel Time, in the way that one feels one's body, as "real". The key to this mechanism is the column, for that element is the most direct analogue to our own upright, spinal, seeing, conceiving, being. The figuration that we designed for the columns derive therefore from the narrative emplotments of the Phylogenetic and Ontogenetic Histories of the "bodies" in which we have our Being.


Two last things should be said before describing the inscriptions. the first is that these were designed back in 1993. To do them today, five years on, would be to improve them. But it would represent a considerable labour. Such huge efforts, for reasons of time and money, can not succeed, in our case, unless they form part of a real project. The second thing is that we find that only Institutions with an uncommon sense of their own destiny and confidence in their future go even as far as Rice has gone. But then without such confidence Instutions tend, anyway, to decay and die. So audacity and confidence, a certain daring, are the evidence of what is, in most cases, a self-fulfilling prophecy of the successful outcome of their "project".













The columns around the Basilican Hall of the Judge, had eight registers, each of which was equivalent to the height of a single floor. However on one side of the space these read as double volumes, due to the height of the Victorian Hospital Wards which were preserved, and re-used, as the Library etc.,

The five basic divisions were that of

Ocean, Earth, Atmosphere, Solarity, and Kosmos,or

Womb, Body, Breath, Sight and Thought, or

Genesis, Birth, Speech, Vision and Idea, or

Water, Earth, Air, Fire and Aether.

Each of the four 'lower' registers was divided into two, making eight in all, topped by the fifth, which was represented by the Column-Capital, and so was singular. The total was therefore a nine-stage 'narrative'.




The lowest of the lowest two registers, that of the Ground Floor,could be Indra's cosmogenetic Spear of Energy as a shower of photons 'hitting' the blue-green spherical unities of the liquid, primordial 'soup', state into two, with a "chromosome" band in each semi-circular half. Or it could be spermatozoa invading bifurcating cells or it could be Apollo's hundred fiery arrows cutting-up the Python, so unleashing History by releasing the Kosmos from the grip of Infinity. The number is the same as the decastylar square that is Sebastiano Serlio's hypostylar generatrix of Architecture.The arrows can also be Indra's 'bolt of light' sundering the serpent Vrta and beginning the rise of creation, out of the submarine, subterranean 'dark sun', through its successive, unfolding, stages.


The uppermost of the lowest register shows the two "serpents" (signifying 'infinity') copulating in the "Nun", the all pervasive primordial fluid that filled all space prior to the Egyptian cosmogenesis brought by the entwining linear processes. The formal congruence with the spiralling bands of chromosomes in DNA is striking.

It can also be read as the submarine mountain, of the Vedic cosmogony, emerging, in the form of a 'volcano' made of fire and ashes after it was 'energised' by Indra, from the "khumba", the bowl which both is, and contains, the Ocean.

This is a figure which can be seen embodied in the column forms of the extremely traditional cultures of Central Asia. the Architecture of Uzbekistan, for example, preserved, until its invasion by Russia 100 years ago, a cultural continuity, unbroken for 5,000 years, to the reed-cathedrals of Mesopotamia. Here the "oceanic" khumba-bowl is often carved in wood and rests upon the pyramid, which is "submerged" below it. Above it one finds Lotus leaves, the columnar main shaft of the "Stambha", which is sometimes latticed with a diagonal "latticing", and the whirling, colourful, capital of the "wheel of fire", the chakra.




The next register, above that of Ocean is that of Earth, or solidity. This, also, is divided into two.

The lower describes the solid emerging from the fluid, the hard out of the soft, the soil from the swamp.

The upper describes the reverse. This is the solid being watered by the fluid. It is the hard being softened, the dry desert blooming.

The lower register takes the idea of the lotus floating on the water, but uses a leaf figure from the as yet undeciphered script of Mohenjo Daro. This the leaf of the Pipul Tree. In contemporary Hindu iconography this leaf form represents the Earth. It also represents Woman. This is the moist, soft, Oceanic Mother from which the spine-formed, air breathing amphibians emerged from the sea, as does the child from the womb. The human child emerges at this stage, onto "dry land", achieving a distinct, isolated, solidity, free of the Oceanic support. The spinal strip of the "pipul"-form contains a traffic of black spots that swells into and between the ample feminine curves of the "leaves". The interior of these gives a view into a rose-like efflorescence that is ordered and focussed compared to the still-blooming and surging moistness from which the forms emerge and in which they are supported.


The upper register of this second "Earth" section is that of red disc, of the sun, and the blue disk of a lake, signifying the hydraulic cycle of evaporation and precipitation. The wavy lines between them are the rivers that flow out from each central disc towards the sea, irrigating the sandy desert through which they pass. The overall pattern is that of the Hypostyle. Each disc recapitulates the superimposition of the two genetic poles, the red of "that which came from afar" and the blue of "that which was in place". Each column of the hypostyle is buried within the blue well, sunk into the oceanic depths, yet extending potentially upwards to the red disc of the "sun". From each of these vertical axes there flows the "four rivers". This geometry is also that of the cubic envelope of six axes that the infant comes to know as germane to the human posture: firstly upright, with a gravity-governed "above and below", secondly with a spinally formed, optically determined "in front and behind" and, thirdly, with a haptically structured left and right hand.


This "quartering", or with the vertical dimension, "cubing" of space, is the phenomenological foundation of orthogonality in the humanisation of the lifespace. When we make Architecture we are re-arranging the world to suit our own constitution. Filled with remorse, fear and and horror at both our "weakness" and our hubris, we must then project our knowledge of its natural reality back upon our cubic "home". In fact, as we have seen, the technique of the "designed interior" has enabled cultures to "See Nature as she really is, rather than as it merely appears". We do this so that while we live in it as "homo cubicus" we act (as we do, in the 20C, with increasing power and effect) in the light of our knowledge of Natural reality. For a thinking, cultured, being, which is our fate, this is the fundamental tool of a "green" civilisation. It is to share a view of our Natural Circumstances, and act within the Macrocosm that this Architecturally-mediated Microcosm embodies.


The Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for a settlement was a disc crossed by two lines, or a pair of lines, like two streets, or canals. In the figure that we drew, in 1995, for Rice University, to order and communicate this columnar iconography, we updated it into the head of a "Phillips cross-head" nail, or screw. This received the impact of the force that drove it into the submarine mountain. The cross is also the view which an archer sees of the arrow as it flies away from him. The"golden nail" is the Arrow of Time struck into the mountain to break the endless, undulating, circling of the serpent of Infinity.


At the same time we drew a variant. Here a sphere, containing the item we denote as the "iris", and containing the arrow of fire, is the agent that sunders the mountain. The "arrow of time" is released in the form of a river, here embodied as a serpent that flows away. We discovered, in 1998, that a founding ritual for a Hindu temple is the hammering of a stake into the ground. The hammer is a coconut. The stake is supposed to impact the serpent Vrta, below the ground.


A coconut is like a hairy skull. Especially in that it contains an eye-like depression. The name of the depression, "medulla", in the back of our own head, is the name given to the hole in the centre of the stone ring, the -----, at the top of the sikhara-mountain of the Hindu temple into which is placed the final finial, the Amalaka. This is a jar, or vase, that contains the "liquid light", a celestial drink. It parallels the intoxicating honey-mead, called "ichor", which of the Ancient Greeks described as the Nectar of the Gods. This convoluted inconology equates "spirit" in more ways than one, with the agency of both the desire, impulse, energy and act of decisive force needed to both unlock the flow of time and secure the stability of the New Foundation. The active agent is the head, containing both mind, eye and the "arrow of vision". This "vision", which is the equivalent of the desire to penetrate obscurity, powers the decisive act that begins the "motion" of History, and the outpouring outflowing of Time. It is the creation of the beginning, and, by the same token of the End. Life in the flow of time entails its ending, or Death. This ritual of Foundation seeks to both, animate and yet pin-down the great hidden, cthonic, serpentine beast of the "Event of Time". It is aimed to ensure that what is built now, within the newly generated "envelope" of Historicity, will flow and have life, yet be secure.


This "orthogonality" in the human lifespace was once replete and fleshed with both form and meaning. The Cardo and Decumanus of a Roman Town "cubed" the horizon to suit the phylogeny of a standing seeing, spinal being which recognised the solar traverse as significant. The "surveyor's grid" along which much of Enlightenment North America is aligned, has no such overt meanings, yet originated in them. America is traced-out with the disembodied ghost-writing of Architectural lifespace-techniques whose forms she kept, but whose meanings she had lost. Now, having rediscovered the meanings, the forms become more malleable. A grasp of the deeper structures of a medium allows one more freedom to adapt its superficials. Only the ignorant either never change anything or, conversely, change everything.




The first act of the infant, after achieving a distinct solidity and feeling the true weight of gravity for the first time, is to suck in air and utter its first "word", a loud cry. This entry into society and proclamation of both total need and powerlessness floats out upon the medium that both turns the little body pink and brings society towards its primal discourse: Air. Air and the register below it: Earth, are the two media of normal human habitation. The Ocean is where we came from and the region of Light is what we, peculiarly of all creatures, aspire to.


The icon that we have created for the lower register is the most complex of all of those incribed upon the column. That above it is the most simple, and, it must be said, the one that seems to beguile the most people. Neither of these idons have been incorporated into the columnar narrative which we found corresponds so closely with the forms of Central Asiatic Architecture. Yet this icon was stimulated by an idea from the Vedic territory of India. It is that of the "subtle body". This is a notion which appears to mediate between two categories that, in Western thought, exclude each other: the world of things and that of ideas. The subtle body is clearly both thing, in that it has a body, and an idea, in that it has no materiality. An idea in the western mind, is like the image in a mirror. It is complete to the eye, but barren to all other senses. The subtle body, on the other hand, because it has three-dimensionality, and can occupy natural space, can possess acoustic, or olfactory dimensions. It can also, obviously be "felt" empathetically, in the way that a thing, or a person's, presence can be felt without actually touching them.


We would probably denote such a notion as conducive to superstition, and leading to the belief in embodied presences, animated agencies, and the usual vast and useless populations conjured-up by the human imagination. Are they any the less vast, or the less "useless" than the culture heroes and stars one may see in vast numbers on the western news-stand. These "media"-personalities sell uncountable tons of coloured images and revelatory text. They are our "Modern" equivalent to the myriads of personified agencies that populate the lifespace of supposedly more "primitive" peoples. Was not the "death of the Princess" a phenomenon of absolutely "superstitous" dimensions? Is this cult of footballers and clothes horses the more or less final state of the Western art form of the anthropomorphic presence?


The need for the existence of the "subtle body", the presence that mediates between thing and idea, or Earth and Fire, is mediated, in our culture by the word. Words do not occupy natural space, nor can they be seen by the eye, but they can bring both of the palpable and the visible into our presence. We can feel our skin respond and we can see in our imagination. The subtle body is the "word made flesh". What this means is that the "subtle body", when it comes into existence as a form of "epiphany" is never a merely percieved, or in some way "innocent" or "natural" phenomenon. All "subtle bodies", just like all fanzine images, have been processed through the human mind and its verbal medium of "bridging thought" before being "edited, printed and displayed".


The icon that embodies these ideas is that of an open, five-fingered, hand, which is the infants tool for apprehending things. Inside this, resting in its palm, is an open eye, which becomes the organ through which will enter the images that will constitute his, or her, imagination. Between them both, enclosing the eye and situated in the hand is an open mouth. The organ of speech and breathing issues the words that integrate the mere "given-ness" of the thing and the image. The word is the central medium of mediation. The decline of its status, in our contemporary culture, is an index of its fragmentation, of the fact that the "middle" of our culture has gone out of focus.


The register above that of the "Subtle Body" is inscribed with what has virtually become the trademark of our Architecture", white spirals, disposed in a random, non-repeating pattern, on a blue ground. Clearly these resemble clouds, or waves, and we use them to signify the aerial and aquatic medium on which the rafters of the Entablature were borne before they found the Ararat of the building. Further than this narrative of foundation, with its plot of erasure and refiguration involving the Ark, we can also say that the spiral is like a snake that wants to catch its tail in its mouth, but can not. It struggles onwards, never able to complete the circle. The spiral is the sign of infinity broken open by the arrow of time which now leads it onwards. Yet it seems reluctant. For it circles around upon itself as if to find security in repetition and tradition.


The spiral is Humanty after Eden, suspended between the desire for completion, which is to return to stasis and Infinity, yet always circling onwards either towards some excess of centrality or excess of dispersion. The spiral is a figure which is always unstable yet endlessly self-balancing. It is also exclusive. Our spiral pattern deliberately never repeats itself. It does not build into larger wholes. It is a primordial form that needs to be re-woven after being spun into something "larger". These are the wriggling threads of a "pure" self-absorbed, temporality before they have been woven into the various kinds of Time that constitute History..




This region re-appears upon the columnar figure that we drew for Rice. It is a wheel that has a spiralling quality, and that pours "sparks" outwards in all directions. This is the "cakra". The Central Asian column embodies it as a symmetrical floriation like a kaleidoscope or a bursting firework. Its "capital" is always coloured, dematerialising its substance and approaching the quality of pure "light".


The organ of the eye comes into play later than that of voice, or smell or touch, even, of hearing. The eye is superfluous to the infant's needs. An infants face grimaces like an old person's. Yet none of the grimaces are grotesque. They are the rehearsal of the standard repertoire of facial figures. The infant learns to put meanings to them only when they become associated with certain responses from its mother. The eye now comes into play. Only adults know how to pull truly grotesque and ugly faces because they, alone, know the repertoires of orthodoxy.


In the adult the eye is always the quick, superficial organ, that misleads the mind to grasp easy, overformalised figures and ideas. One must always be prepared to frustrate the shallow eye in order to allow the deeper, slower, gestations of which the imagination is capable. Camillo Sitte is good at describing the quality of a city that frustrates any attempt to grasp it too quickly. Unfortunately he was unable to explain what it was that his imagination apprehended. Or, to put it another way, he explained his apprehension, but not the 15C design strategy that originally shaped and powered it.


The lower register of this is inscribed with the intersection of three jagged paths, like lighting strikes. They are both black and yellow, like day and night. They recall the three-forked thunderbolts of certain deities from the Hellenic, Buddhist and Hindu Pantheons. The "paths" form triangular and hexagonal entities whose interiors are filled with undulating bands of red and yellow; fire and light. This is the region from which fell the photon showers that divided the primordial unities. It is a figure of raw, consuming, combustion and transformative energy: violent, energetic, aggressive and powerful.


Above it we find a more ordered figure. This descends from the Egyptian hieroglyph for the day. The sun is indicated rising from the sea, being at its zenith and sinking back into the West. This is contained within a single somewhat over-simplified, figure. Then, the sun is "at night". It is trapped, inside the black triangle of the "mountain", as it is viewed upwards through the coffer. It is as if it returned, each day, into the primordial darkness from which the Act of Foundation liberated it. A dark spot lies at the centre of the mid-day sun. This helps it to "glow" graphically. It is small mirror of the the darkness from which it came and to which it, and we, will ultimately return.


The region of Fire, being also the region of the medium: images, in which we, here, inscribe the "ideas" of it, renders it peculiary problematic. Light is notoriously difficult to paint, and few are the painters who have proved capable of painting the orb of the sun itself. It is always easier to embody an idea that is in home in one medium by translating it into another. In our own work, for example, nothing inventive would have been possible if we had not, for the past 25 years, constantly rotated our ideas between building, writing, drawing and then building again, ad infinitum. To embody an idea that is naturally visual in an iconic medium will always border on the Kitsch and tend to inhibit and stultify thought.


Thus the register of Fire is the one, of the four, which we feel needs most renovation from the state we had to leave it in 1993.




In conclusion, however, we suggest that the capital to the column should be read along with this fourth register as being both adjoint to it and, being the head of the column, and congruent with "mind", more like it than any of the other three. We have tended, with few exceptions, to make our capitals a glossy black, or rather an anthracite lead colour that shines softly with its clear lacquer finish. The smoothly concave suface, like the curve of deep space, could not be more different to the fruitful effusion of the Central Asian Capital, broadcasting its bounty. Our Capital is sunk into deep opacity. It is lightless, apart from some reflections of natural illumination from its gloomy surface.

We have it in mind, when it is appropriate, to design a coloured and patterned capital. But, until the present time, the general ethos in the West is relentlessly consumed by the early 20C view of reality as being absolutely subjective. It is incapable of formulating any view of the Object except as a mirror image of the Subject deprived of an objective ground. The Subject is consumed in an endless reflection of an Alterity that is either an equally "ungrounded", or "objectively void" Other Subject, or the void that is the objective projection of a Subject without Object. An Architectural Capital that is a lustrous sheet of leaden concrete, whose concave face dimly flickers with a bloom of unfocussed mirror images and slight milky drifts, seems fit to embody this "negative ontology".


At this point, in the Judge Project, we received considerable crticism that the bands of pattern on the high columns were too different from each other. Nothing is more different than blue from red and green from yellow. But, being all "plain colours" and of a low legibility, the iconically unread viewer felt less threatened than by the patterns. Nevertheless it was a not unreasoning criticism.

Our response was to "overprint" pairs and groups of columns with the same pattern from top to bottom. These overprints would not be literal oversprays, as one does with stencils, but "cookie-cut" in the computer. They were designed to reveal as much as they obscured. They did the opposite of the Hellenic formalisation, which was to increase the iconic power of a formal order at the price of losing the legibility of the natural forms, horns, seeds, fruits, etc, out of which their ornaments were originally assembled. Our strategy reduces both iconic clarity as well as natural "veracity". But it increases what we like today, which is is the aleatory multiplication of diversity via accidental combinations. In the case of the Judge it would have produced 1300 A3-size abstract compositions, on curved plaster panels around the columns, each one of which would be different. This could be seen as vast overproduction of Art. But then that is what the machine, plus abstraction always promised, and, with a pusllanimity that is much to be regretted, has never delivered. The idea that Art should retain the "aura", whose loss was mourned by Walter Benjamin is as aesthetically ridiculous as it is ethically grotesque. Such a magnificent effusion of "Art" might put "Museums" at a disadvantage, slowing the speed at which they, and Vegas-Land are both approaching each other and threatening to constitute a "model" reality.


The groups of columns were selected so that they defined areas and events, namely:


1. the entrance.

2. the 'room' of four columns around the main social stair.

3. the whole rectangular room of the Gallery defined by the vaulted ceiling.

4. the south pole, literally the southernmost column isolated in the centre of the angled south side.

5. the north pole, literally the northernmost column isolated in the centre of the angled north side.


The remainder of the columns, which occur in relatively short sequences, are not overprinted. They serve as a reminder of the basic figures underlying the more camouflaged figures that have been 'printed' ,or inscribed, twice.


The figure for the entrances is developed from the history of the "apotropaic" or guardian column. One of the most original, in the sense of oldest, of these are the stubby, cubical, masonry columns, mounted with bulls horns, that guarded a sanctuary in Catal Huyuk, 9,000 years ago. I rotated four horns into a figure with four vectors to signify the cubic geometry of their supporting columns and coloured them red to signify alarm and sacrifice. However these proved, graphically, to be too violent. Then I overprinted the horn with the figure of scales or feathers, depending on which way up this is. This made the horns into wings as if they were four-winged guardians. The horned guardian and the winged guardian are both common figures in the history of apotropaic figures. This softened the figure and made it aesthetically acceptable. Now the central cubic mass of black was too solid and violent, overpowering the figures it overprinted. The solution here was to take the iconography of the cube and develop it into a dialogue between the cube and circle: the Classical figures for the bounded and solid Earth and the unlimited Universe. This degree of 'perforation' again allowed the under-figures to read through and be followed by the eye.


The figures overprinted on the four Robot-columns that marked-out the space up which wound the social stair were developed from the figure of the column in Egyptian hieroglyphics. I know of at least four logographs for column in this language, so central to the history of Western Architecture. They are firstly: the forked stick that supports an horizontal pole, and also the sky!; secondly what Gardiner calls the "the linen basket" (or mummy case, like the diagonally over-bound 'Columna Stolata' of Francesco de Giorgio). Thirdly there is the "tenoned shaft" whose cubical peg appears in the 'V' cut into the head of the column and fourthly there is the figure of the upright "sceptre".


I have used the logograph for Heliopolis, which I found on a mummy case one afternoon in the British Museum. It combines the "sceptre", or mace, with the "tenoned shaft" by inserting the one inside the other like the backbone inside the rib-cage. I have also made the body of the "tenoned shaft" into a "cow-skin" to signify that the sky was supported by such columns in Egyptian cosmology. The sky, usually figured by the Goddess Nut, was also figured as a cow whose twinkling teats were the stars. Was this the origin of the naming of the "Milky Way"?


The figure for the four columns that support the corners of the vaulted ceiling was also developed from Gardiner's curious idea of a column as a linen-basket. The blue, five petalled, flowers of flax are overprinted onto the tenoned head of a columnar shaft. The column is tied with a ribbon, or sash, as are the battlemented towers that guard the passages through the underworld which the boat of the sun must pass when it travels under the ground each night. This recalls the history of the "light in the rock", or the "sun at night", figured in the topmost of the under-figures.


The overprint figure for the singular column denoting the 'south pole' - The Southern ventilation mast - of the Gallery, was developed from the story of a sundial made by the 17C savant Athanasius Kircher. Kircher was interested in many things, but his chief interest, for an architect, lies in the drawings that he made. He indicates that, for instance, that the Ark that carried mankind to a new beginning (a reiteration of creation) was not a boat, but a raft. This is supported by an older, Vedic, creation mythology that describes a floating vehicle as a "nest of reeds" that came to rest upon a submarine mountain described in the Vedic texts. From this we can explain the habit of the Ancient Greeks to paint the ends of their 'rafters' blue and to carve drops (of water) below them.


Kircher, in one of his more 'scientific' experiments planted a sunflower in a boat and placed it into a bowl of water. He found that the flower rotated the boat so that it faced ito the sun. We have abstracted this and developed it as the overprint for the South Pole. The black centre of the flower recalls the black spot that remains in the eye after it has been looking into the sun, or any bright light source. It has been displaced from the central point of its rays and exhibits a circular void through which the under-figure is visible.


The overprint figure for the North Pole was in development when this aspect of the Judge Project, after twelve months of work, was finally cancelled.

JOA have never put in so much effort on a similar project of 'iconic engineering'. But the work, as so often happens, enables us to work this subject more efficiently. The Shaper Ceiling at Rice, for example, was commissioned, designed, manufactured and erected in ten months.




End of "Vertical Time",

Return to The Talking Order"




* JOA can be reached by E-Mail at anthony@johnoutram.com , by telephone on +44 (0)207 262 4862 or by fax on +44 (0)207 706 3804. We also have an ISDN number : +44 (0)207 262 6294.






5-stage Vedic Cosmogony