On Space

Boredom, Architecture and Modernity

Category: Space

Infinite Space and Home: The Climb in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Felicia: Well, we did it.

Bernadette: It never ends, does it? All that space.

Mitzi: So, what now?

Felicia: I think I want to go home.

Mitzi: Me too.

Bernadette: Well then, let’s finish the shows and go home.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Polygram Filmed Entertainment. Directed by Stephan Elliott. 1994

The Climb




Newyorkitis: Sickness and the City


By Kate Womersley

In June of 1901, The Commoner, an American weekly journal, advertised a new medical treatise for the general reader:

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Although Newyorkitis has been largely forgotten today, it caused a stir on publication. “Rarely has a book fresh from the press attracted so much attention,” touted The New York Press. “[I]n all sections of the country has appeared column after column – and even whole pages – concerning Dr John H. Girdner’s Great Book,” The Commoner wrote later that year.

Promoting Newyorkitis outside of Manhattan strikes me as strange, given the audience for which Girdner’s book seems to be intended. This critique-cum-self-help guide hoped to save the “chronic New Yorker”, an individual who had lived in the metropolis for too long, and been both hardened and weakened by it. Peculiar to 38 square miles of island, a sickly tribe of Newyorkitics were thought at risk from physical, psychological and moral degeneration. The suffix –itis denotes an inflammation, as for appendicitis, but…

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Kierkegaard’s Shadowgraphs: Inside and Outside

You walk down the street, one house looks like each other, and only the experienced observer suspects that in that house, at midnight, everything looks quite different: an unhappy person wanders about, unable to rest; he climbs the stairs, his steps echo in the stillness of the night. We pass one another in the street, the one person looks like the other, and the other just like anyone else, and only the experienced observer suspects that, in that head, there lives a lodger who has nothing to do with the world, but lives out his lonely life confined to quiet domesticity. So the outer is the object of our observation, but not of our interest. Thus the fisherman sits and directs his attention unwaveringly on the float, yet the float does not interest him at all, only the movements down on the sea-bed. So the outer does indeed have significance for us, yet not as an expression of the inner but like a telegram telling of something hidden deep within.

Kierkegaard, Søren. ‘Shadowgraphs’ in Either/Or. London: Penguin, 2004/1843. 173

The Space of Proclus Lycaeus

Space is nothing other than the finest light.

Proclus, Elements of Physics. 142a. In Panofsky, Erwin. Perspective as Symbolic Form. Translated by Christopher Wood. New York: Zone Books, 1991.

Does Werner Herzog ever get bored?