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Photos:
Roving Rube

August 21, 2003

Fountain, reflecting pool, Seagram Building

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For this "oasis" shot, the Rube set his camera down on the wide border of one of the twin pools (in context) in the plaza. The black shadow in the back is the Seagram Building.

The Rube is really tempted to say that the shade of the water in 2-jpg was intentionally matched to the distinctive yellow-brown tint of the building's windows. That is what the Seagram Building does to you.

Here the absoluteness of the object is total. The maximum of formal structurality is matched by the maximum absence of images. The language of absence is projected on an ulterior "void" that mirrors the first void and causes it to resonate: the small plaza paved in travertine that separates the skyscraper from Park Avenue contains two symmetrical fountains. This is no place for contemplation: Mies said that the two basins should be filled right up to their brims to prevent the public from sitting on their edges ...Two voids answering each other and speaking the language of the nil, of the silence which -- by a paradox worthy of Kafka -- assaults the noise of the metropolis. (Manfredo Tafuri and Francesco Dal Co, quoted in New York 1960)

Something to ponder, eh?





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