Friday, April 29, 2011


"Nineteenth-century domestic interior. The space disguises itself- puts on, like an alluring creature, the costumes of moods. The self-satisfied burgher should know something of the feeling that the next room might have witnessed the coronation of Charlemagne as well as the assassination of Henri IV, the signing of the Treaty of Verdun as well as the wedding of Otto and Theophano. In the end, things are merely mannequins, and even the great moments of world history are only costumes beneath which they exchange glances of complicity with nothingness, with the petty and the banal. Such nihilism is the innermost core of bourgeois coziness- a mood that in hashish intoxication concentrates to satanic contentment, satanic knowing, satanic calm, indicating precisely to what extent the nineteenth-century interior is itself a stimulus to intoxication and dream. This mood involves, furthermore, an aversion to the open air, the (so to speak) Uranian atmosphere, which throws a new light on the extravagant interior design of the period. To live in these interiors was to have woven a dense fabric about oneself, to have secluded oneself within a spider's web, in whose toils world events hang loosely suspended like so many insect bodies sucked dry. From this cavern, one does not like to stir."


"The Louis Philippe style: "The belly overspreads everything, even the timepieces."


"Apropos of a medieval armoire, this interesting remark from Behne: "Movables quite clearly developed out of immovables ." The armoire is compared to a "medieval fortress. Just as, in the latter, a tiny dwelling space is surrounded in ever-widening rings by walls, ramparts, and moats, forming a gigantic outwork, so the contents of the drawers and shelves in the armoire are overwhelmed by a might outwork." Adolf Behne, Neues Wohnen- Neues Bauen (Leipzig, 1927), pp. 59, 61-62

From Convolute I [The Interior, The Trace]

We were supposed to attack part of the extraordinarily long convolute on Baudelaire (whose wonderful visage introduces this post) but we ran out of time, as we ever do. So we spent a delectable hour enveloped in the solipsism, the comfortable clutter, the ineffable traces of objects lifted from plush trays, the fingertips of our minds running along gilt mantelpieces checking for dust and the eyes of our minds gazing around the small, spacious apartments that were worlds within worlds, an escape from the shock of the modern. Neurasthenia. 


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