A Parōidia: The Hours of the Belly of a Drawing, Speculative Reflections on the Collapse of the Projected Image
Materials: Paper, Raffia, Wood, String, Vaseline, Oil, Ink, Jar, Pin, Metal Wire, Plastic Pipette, Dripping Tube, Metal Sculpting Tool.
Dimensions (in inches): 30 (width) x 30 (length) x 40 (height)
Technique: Drawing Construction
“The dissected corpse could be perceived not as the lifeless copy of a man, but as an archive of hidden treasures [...] the most terrible and meticulous of autopsies were carried out by Christ the implacable anatomist, piece by piece, organ by organ, segment by segment over all the inanimate corpse to discover the degeneration, delineate completely the moral geography, trace the perfect map of sin, and throw harsh light on the pathology of human error.”
The belly, as opposed to the ‘noble’ parts of the body consisting of the head and the chest, has been disregarded in manifold ways as the locus of gula or gluttony − sinful excess in bodily desires. Also described as a “theater of metamorphoses”, the belly, hosting the odorous digestive intestines has been mostly comprehended as the house for earthly demonic putrefaction and ultimate decay. The belly has been thus linked with the material and the physical whereas the ‘noble’ head and ‘heroic’ chest have been related to the immaterial realm of ideas, memory, imagination and emotions. We witness this dichotomous condition in Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect (1987), whereby disegno and architectural drawing appears to be comprehended as highly intellectual, ideal and divine constructs, while the involuntary encounter of the male architect with his own valetudinary belly transforms into an overlooked dark omen for the inevitable earthly temporality.
In the wake of abundantly rising critiques pro and contra the prophecies of the technologically determined ‘final demise’ of the projected image, I believe, a speculative reflection on the end(s) or rather the collapse(s) of the projected drawing is especially poignant; in particular by re-situating the infamously ominous ‘belly’ within architectural drawing and out.
In the structure of a parōidia of the The Belly of An Architect − with no intention of a comic effect − this drawing experiment, stages an ‘aged’, ‘morbose’ drawing, a fragment of an Ottoman miniature - a form of drawing, the so-called ‘end’ of which is rather controversial. The work unfolds, hour by hour, variegated non-revealing attempts of projective dissection in search of the malady of this aged drawing: To do so, the experiment critically engages with the poetic projective mechanisms that could be traced within John Hejduk’s The Collapse of Time, and plays with the collapses and variegated alignments of the cone of vision and the picture plane. The act of dissection embodies rather a ‘sinful geography’ and ‘a pathology of human error’ instead of the re-confirmation of the ideal body of the projected drawing.
Rather than consulting cubism and neoplasticism, the projective trajectories of this experiment cross the paths of anamorphosis. Anamorphosis, constantly reminding of “the condition of the world disappearing from view”, transforms into a memento mori of the projectedness of a drawing. As “the most absurd side of perspective”, it unfolds the ambiguity of the ‘I’(s) as an incarnation of the poetic subject(s) within the dismembered, dissolving textual borders of the anamorphic landscape of uncertainty. This parōidia does not eventually confirm the dissection of a dead corpse, and reminds us gently of what Robin Evans discussed as “dead geometry” − an “inoculation against uncertainty.”
* This project is a part of my on-going PhD thesis at Istanbul Technical University (advisor Prof. Dr. Ayşe Şentürer).
** I would like to thank Ayşe Şentürer, Aslıhan Şenel, Erdem Ceylan and İpek Avanoğlu for their valuable comments; and Begüm Eser, Nizam Onur Sönmez for their technical support.
Piero Camporesi, The Anatomy of the Senses: Natural Symbols in Medieval and Early Modern Italy, trans. by Allan Cameron (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994), p.105&117.
Giovanni Imperiale as quoted by Camporesi. Camporesi, P., The Anatomy of the Senses, translated by Cameron, A., Polity Press, Cambridge, 1994, p.73. (Imperiale, G., Le notti beriche (Venice: P. Baglioni, 1663) p.62)
for example see Mario Carpo, The Second Digital Turn, (Cambridge (Mass.): The MIT Press, 2017).
Giorgio Agamben, Profanations, trans. Jeff Fort (New York: Zone Books, 2007) p.40.
Rosalind E. Krauss, “Eva Hesse: Contingent” in Bachelors, (Cambridge (Mass.), London: The MIT Press, 1999).
Jurgis Baltrušaitis, Anamorphic Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 1977), p.1.
Robin Evans, The Projective Cast Architecture and Its Three Geometries (Cambridge (Mass.): The MIT Press, 1995), p.xxvii.