We can look at certain myths that are crucial for the development of our cultural sphere, the Latin West (Occident after antiquity); and link them with conceptions of space.
- Concentrate on a process of increased abstraction, from the epoch of the Gothic Cathedral onwards. Abstraction is a twofold process, leading to spaces of different kinds. Abstraction defined by David Summers: abstraction does not only mean drawing away from something, but also drawing upon a surface, following the conception of an idea, “the mind’s active grasp of form.” That is: abstraction is not only condensation, drawing away from something that already exists, but is also forward-focused activity that considers the construction of something new.
- By considering the elements of Christian heritage as cultural memory. Defined by Aleida Assmann: “Cultural memory is a form of collective memory, in the sense that it is shared by a number of people and that it conveys to these people a collective, that is, cultural, identity.” “Cultural memory is a kind of institution. It is exteriorized, objectified, and stored away in symbolic forms that, unlike the sounds of words or the sight of gestures, are stable and situation-transcendent: They may be transferred from one situation to another and transmitted from one generation to another.”
- Myths are constitutive for a cultural memory; first & foremost, for a Latin West:
— the myth of paradise, which evolved into the longing for utopia;
— the myth of liberation from material and social constraints;
— the myth of an end of history or more generally, of a directed history from a paradisiacal beginning (first, Garden of Eden, then noble wilds, back to nature, ecological stabilization, etc.) to a paradisiacal end (Christian: Judgement Day, secularized: utopia); — the myth of progress, resting in such a directed history, from its utopian to banalized techno-variants.
- Since every myth = every “holy” (sacrosanct) and therefore “true” tale tends to generate the realities suited to it, myths lead to specific spatial outcomes, in visible as well as invisible terms. Visible: common architectural space as built physical space; invisible: the space of organization, even if the latter is not directly expressed in a physically built space.
Our research concentrates on this relationship: which myths, decisive for generating the respective spatial realities, led to which kinds of spaces, in architectural as well as organizational terms ?
This research relates to “Mindsets as world-generative force”