Browse by keyword
THE RETURN OF THE GRIFFON – Graphic heuristic game based on Lewis Carroll’s model – Bogdan Bogdanović
(3rd Symposium on the Synthesis of Art: Trough graphics to SYNTHESIS, Cultural Centre, Vrnjačka Banja, 6 – 14 January, 1978).
The story of Bogdan Bogdanović begins with the question about the presentations of animals in modern architecture, about his imaginary beasts and it reveals a specific process of their genesis. His practice of drawing teratomorphic forms led him into the game which he calls inventive-heuristic game.
“I was looking for something, I guess, for the right questions, issues, because, as in any other game, the answers are often offered even before the issues are clearly set out.”
Searching for a preliminary internal framework of idea Bogdan Bogdanović perceives the invisible master “network”, which, he says, is comparable to some mysterious geographical map, that could accommodate his little monsters – a space that has meaning only for him and his beasts. Imaginary beasts can be experienced only when placed in certain discourses. For these creatures to have the meaning, “at least as artistic creations”, he believed that along their appearance their true personalities had to be explained. With this aim in mind he reaches out from the world of architecture and spatial arts and by using a transdisciplinary approach relaying on the writer Lewis Carroll and his work “Alice in Wonderland” and its sequel “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There”, because, as he said, in them he recognized the firm system, a kind of master fantastic geographic map of specific space, in which Carroll convincingly revives his animal apparitions.
“An entire world, our world, we could call it the world before Alice, all made of meanings reduced to mutually fortified positions, suddenly begins to reflect itself in that unusual space, as if it were displayed in a cabinet with mirrors, for example in the museum of wax figures. We could call this elusive and variable spatial structure a metaphorical box. Everything that enters this strange box, or is placed in it, is suddenly registered into far-reaching and rather variable metaphorical structures. A kind of nonsense story is established, of seemingly pointless comic, comprised of the sequence of procedures driven by strong but incomprehensible reasons.”
The process of the revival and creation of scenes and events, and the convincing characters of the Carroll’s animals derive from the word-game that indicates generation of images and thus fortify created situations.
“At the same time the strength of Carroll’s metalogic is similar to that mathematics which invisibly sustains the line of an elegant bridge or runs the heavenly bodies. Thus, it determines an space that, from moment to moment, changes its metric benchmarks: Alice, as we know, is sometimes large and sometimes very small, and everything around her is either huge and scary or tiny and insignificant. That environment constantly changes its coordinates, and all that happens in it, the form and the event, can be found on the either side of the mirror. When later in the story Alice passes through the mirror she exchanges positive coordinates with the negative ones, so that all flows even thoughts, mathematically speaking, should also change their “meaning”. But that’s not all. Just as we, with the help of anticipated unusual coordinate system, have succeed in distributing things in space and to some extent had them explained, “what is where and what happens where”, the totality of our perception of space and its coordinate system suddenly alternate.”
“Just because of the specificity of designation, which is beyond any possible environmental localization, the places where Alice meets her animals are more unusual and more archaic then the landscapes of children’s stories and fairytales, or any literary fiction. Sometimes it seems to me that this is the highest possible degree of picturesque symbolization of the space to which a modern human brain can reach at all.”
Alice’s decent into the underground, and later return into the real world, parallels the method that serves as an incentive that leads to new discoveries and knowledge regardless of the validity and veracity of its assumptions. Bogdan Bogdanović farther explains:
“We should spend a little more time talking about the essence of Carroll’s method, and explain what really happens in his metaphorical box. The simplest marks and signs from “this side”, complex notions, as well as the whole categories which had, before they were placed in the box, fixed habitual meaning, have in contact and collision revealed many unexpected meanings and a new superstructure of meaning which good connectivity we cannot deny, regardless of the fact that the “message” is outside the scope of rational explanation. The method itself is similar to those interesting but sometimes futile attempts to create practical inventive games to be applied and used when dealing with often trivial problems. Serious scientists often play similar games and fool around like the White Rabbit, the Crying Turtle or the Mad Hatter. I won’t speak about the actual results which could be obtained using this method. I am sure that the scientist have overtaken the heuristic method from Carroll, maybe not gaining much from it but also not doing any harm to Carroll. This is the way that easily permits transfer of terms and categories commonly restricted into a different class of symbols (temporary, handy, personal or group symbols) which then can be brought into new, until now, undreamed of mutual positions thus influencing each other and transforming themselves in the release.
The return to reality of both scientist and Alice is inevitable but the events from the “other side” of the mathematical sign are not easily forgotten. Upon her return Alice does not try to rationally explain her experience and brake the framework of events and things discovered on the “other side”, said Bogdanović. The module Bogdanović overtook from Carroll implies abrogation of classic rules and acceptance of contradictions the result of which are altered categories of time and space. He goes even further and tries to indicate first steps of rationalization by reducing sympathetic tension. Alice is excluded from the drawings and Bogdanović creates another layer of drawing – a space that no longer represents action field but an allegorical field.
“The landscapes were created, more under then above ground, with stone monsters and mysterious hills in the distance, or geometric landmarks on empty horizons. This htonic version of Alice’s landscape without Alice populated instead by motionless monsters, represented a necessary stage towards the really imagined architecture form.
Finally, in a third layer, which I have just indicated, the spatial allegory of the previous layer began to be quite easily converted into the architectural metaphor of a heraldic character, but also into the architectural details where the animal is not only inhabiting the shape but is symbolically supporting it from within.”
For Bogdanović this was the proof that modern man can have experiences that stem from their subjective troubled fabula and eventually reach the “cold-blooded” architectural details. Transitions from the first to the second series, and from the second to the third, gradually bring closer the architectural forms to the architectural algorithm. But, in the end, they carry the logic of their genesis, have their own diachrony, exciting life stories, and they are not arbitrary.
Architectural forms that carry the life and energy created through their development processes differ greatly from the visually similar ones – but rashly grafted forms. The spatial – territorial, urban, architectural framework is not just given, pasted, but it is generated in a certain way that defines it. The importance of heuristic and other similar principles for creativity is endless. As we can see, these principles do not have to be related to the reality, even more so, their final product will be more correct if we question the factors of this world.