A [GHOST] story

In “Ulysses’ Gaze” (“To Vlemma Tou Odyssea,” 1995), a Greek-American filmmaker, not named in the film, and only referred to as “A” in the script, is on a quest to find three lost reels of undeveloped film, the first ever produced in Greece, from around 1905. These films are in fact the first cinematographic record, the first “gaze” in the philosophical sense, into the soul of the region. As the title implies, the story will take the form of an odyssey that begins in Greece and continues through Albania (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, known to the Greeks as the Republic of Skopje), Bulgaria, Rumania, Serbia, and finally Bosnia.

« pueraria lobata
ordos, under construction »
this place is best shunned and left uninhabited

[“Landscape of Thorns”, concept by Michael Brill and drawing by Safdar Abidi, from Marking the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for 10,000 Years]

Triggered by the recent revelation that tests at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reveal that a seemingly innocuous white substance filling a glass bottle dug up in 2004 is actually “the oldest existing sample of bomb-grade plutonium from a nuclear reactor, with a half-life of 24,110 years,” Juliet Lapidos reviews the Department of Energy’s 1993 recommendations for the construction of a massive nuclear-waste disposal warning landscape. The trouble, of course, is that anything one does to communicate danger is likely to also communicate mystery and excitement to future treasure-hunters or archaeologists:

The report’s proposed solution is a layered message—one that conveys not only that the site is dangerous but that there’s a legitimate (nonsuperstitious) reason to think so. It should also emphasize that there’s no buried treasure, just toxic trash. Here’s how the authors phrase the essential talking points: “[T]his place is not a place of honor … no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.” Finally, the marker system should communicate that the danger—an emanation of energy—is unleashed only if you disturb the place physically, so it’s best left uninhabited.

As for the problem of actually getting these essentials across, the report proposes a system of redundancy—a fancy way of saying throw everything at the wall and hope that something sticks. Giant, jagged earthwork berms should surround the area. Dozens of granite message walls or kiosks, each 25 feet high, might present graphic images of human faces contorted with horror, terror, or pain (the inspiration here is Edvard Munch’s Scream) as well as text in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, Arabic, and Navajo explaining what’s buried. This variety of languages, as Charles Piller remarked in a 2006 Los Angeles Times story, turns the monoliths into quasi-Rosetta stones. Three rooms—one off-site but nearby, one centrally located, and one underground—would serve as information centers with more detailed explanations of nuclear waste and its hazards, maps showing the location of similar sites around the world, and star charts to help intruders calculate the year the site was sealed…

Proposals for the “earthworks” component demonstrate that the whole project of communicating with the future is really a creative assignment, more dependent on the imagination than on expertise… The report proposes a “Landscape of Thorns” with giant obelisklike stones sticking out of the earth at odd angles. “Menacing Earthworks” has lightning-shaped mounds radiating out of a square. In “Forbidding Blocks,” a Lego city gone terribly wrong, black, irregular stones “are set in a grid, defining a square, with 5-foot wide ’streets’ running both ways. You can even get ‘in’ it, but the streets lead nowhere, and they are too narrow to live in, farm in, or even meet in.

TRAIL for TransTEMPORAL Machine to exhaust the energies and engines of the war


Katabasis, or catabasis, (from Greek κατὰ, “down” βαίνω “go”) is a descent of some type. Katabasis may be a moving downhill, a sinking of winds, a military retreat, or a trip to the underworld. It may also mean a trip from the interior of a country down to the coast, and has related meanings in poetry, rhetoric, and modern psychology.

Anabasis (from Greek ana = “upward”, bainein = “go”) is an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country. Katabasis, by contrast, is a trip from the interior down to the coast. Two classic texts are titled with “anabasis”:

  • Anabasis (Xenophon), by the Greek writer Xenophon (431–355 BC), about the expedition of Cyrus the Younger, a Persian prince, against his brother, King Artaxerxes II
  • Anabasis Alexandri, by the Greek historian Arrian (86 – after 146 AD), about Alexander the Great (336–323 BC)


Elements of [MEMORY]

Peter Eisenman (on Berlin Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe)

A perceptual and conceptual divergance between the topography of the ground and the top plane of Stelae is thus created.  IT DENOTES A DIFFERENCE IN TIME.  The monument’s registration of this difference makes for a place of loss and contemplation, elements of memory.  In this momument there is no goal, no end, no working one’s way in or out.  The duration of an individual’s experience of it grants nofurther understanding, since understanding the holocaust is impossible.  The TIME of the monument, its duration from top surface to ground, is disjoined from the time of experience.  In this context, there is no nostalgia, no memory of the past, only the living memory of the individual experience.  





REZA NEGARESTANI (war as a machine):
……the model of War-as-a-machine increasingly distances itself from the Deleuze-Guattarian model according to which the collisions of warmachines produce war as a conclusion of (re)heated warmachines (a model according to which war can in some way thermodynamically grasped through the conflictual tactics of warmachines), In the model of War-as-a-machine-, undercurrents replace the predominant dynamic role of tactics in the Deleize-Guattarian model. Warmachines move forward on undercurrents and are customized according to them…….(war-as-a-machine vs dust to dust models)

Paul Virilio (landscape of events):
Tschumi……in MILITARY terms on eno longer talks about territory, about a political space that can be enclosed by walls, but about reaction time, which must be cybernated in order to cope with the ever-increasing acceleration of decisions. Here the concept of event takes on its mathematical dimension: an event is any on eof all possible occurances, one of which must happen under stated conditions……Hence as an architect, i have always felt that it is more exciting to design conditions for events that to be conditioning designs. But the architect’s means of establishing conditions are primarily spatial.
In Virilio’s global temopral space, landscapes become a random network o fpure trajectories whose occasional collisions suggest a possible topography, here is a peak, there an abyss. Each collision is an event relayed by media-political, social, technological…..

War as a Machine
How do I show the Historical Ghort of the Other Time
Historical Ghost is the Ghost of the War Machine (the Railway)?
How can the military powers of the nations on the path get involved in making the railway? can national budget (military budget) be used to construct the “installation” memorial? who paid for the Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe? Can this project suck up the fiscal budget of a nation for military expenses and spending? All US money has been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Had this not been the case would US invade Iran, Syria?

Can this project be (only) perceived and grasped from air (space)? Could it not have a human scale? how can i represent Différance in the project? Could it only be seen indirectly? Can it be only a cinematic experience? once you are in it you can only see the architecture through screens?
what effects the sequence of this path? intensity of the lives lost? bombing? migration patterns due to war? displaced populations?

what are the network (matrix) of events that triggered the war? how can this graph, matrix effect the linear path of the project?

“In conflict theory there are different modes of conflict. One mode of conflict theory is that of warfare and revolution. Warfare and revolutions take place phases due to the rocky “collations among a variety of social classes.” An example of warfare is that going on currently in Burma, where there is military versus population fighting for control over the country’s government. Another mode of conflict in conflict theory is that of strikes. Modern society has created a main social divider between workers and managers. When workers feel they have been treated unfairly, they go on strike to regain their right to power. Another mode of conflict in conflict theory is that of domination. Different social classes tend to form different ideologies based around promotion of their own class’ welfare. Different groups will struggle in conflict over what they think is right, what the norms are, and their ideologies. Higher classes have more abstract ideologies, while subordinated classes ideas reflect the want in their own lives. The ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas, where the ruling material force is the ruling intellectual force.”


“The attempt to make architecture speak through figurative means is hardly new. Architecture parlante, a term coined in the nineteenth century, has made a comeback both in popular architecture and in the work of avant-garde practitioners like Frank Gehry, whose large-scale icons sometimes recall the work of Claes Oldenburg. In Berlin, this genre makes its most significant appearance in Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, where certain spaces–the Garden of Exile, for example–were designed to prompt emotional or physical feelings of anxiety or discomfort in the viewer. Eisenman rejects the literal speech of architecture parlante, which leaves the viewer little freedom: From and referent coincide, and response rarely goes beyond the initial frisson. In memorializing events of this magnitude, it is not the immediate, visceral reaction but the critical reception, the work’s potential to generate independent thinking, that matters.
For Eisenman, the Shoah is not just a historical occurrence but also an epistemological shift: “After the Holocaust, one cannot use [architectural] language to articulate it,” he claims, in reference to Adorno’s famous statement that writing poetry after Auschwitz is “barbaric.” And yet Eisenman does build, and while the Mahnmal refuses to “represent” the Holocaust, it implies the possibility of a shared language–critical, to be sure, intransigent in its polemical stance, but capable of communication nevertheless. In defining the kind of language that is appropriate after the Holocaust. Eisenman was faced with Kafka’s painful dilemma, subsequently stressed by Hannah Arendt: the impossibility of not writing, the impossibility of writing in German, and the impossibility of writing differently. For Eisenman, not building was clearly not an option, nor was building according to conventional vocabularies of memorialization. It was also impossible to build entirely outside tradition, because any architecture presupposes some reference to socially sanctioned codes of use. Steering an even course between the symbolic and the abstract, Eisenman’s stelae evoke an archaic ur-language, found in ancient civilizations of both East and West, that conveys the idea of death while muting the expression of affect. By going back to timeless archetypes, he bypasses the slag heap of historicism and yokes the memorial to a heavy sense of time, far from the everyday and the customary. The endless grid calls up not only the scale and methodical nature of state-sponsored genocide but the immensity of the Dead. It does so, however, without falling prey to the transcendental consolations of the sublime that serve to empower the viewer at the expense of introspection. The project is resolutely opaque: Its strength lies precisely in the numbing silence of the rows of stelae, which do not arouse empathy but foreclose it. It is this insubmissive muteness that Jurgen Habermas described, in an article on the memorial published in Die Zeit, as “the unobtrusive pathos of the negative.” No words or inscriptions give voice to grief, which is left to the private realm of individual response.” Esther Da Costa Meyer

Steffen Bohm in “Movement of Theory and Practice” states , the world appears to be in a permanent state of undeclared (civil) war.
Walter Benjamin says, we live in a permanent state of emergency which is not the exception but the rule, as the only difference between the politics of peace and the conduct of war is the intensity of the means employed.
As Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri suggest, global securtiy forces are not strictly national armies anymore, which fight in a war that is declared against a sovereign state. Instead they are internal police forces that fight global terrorism in ever corner of “Empire”, which for Hardt and Negri is a theoretical concept that points to the global, boundryless regime that rules over the entire civilized world.
“Empire is the global state that has appropriated the means of war and developed it into the defining organizing principle for the social as such:
The state apparatus appropriates the war machine, subordinates it to its “political” aims, and gives it was as its direct object. And it is one and the same historical tendency that causes State to evolve from a triple point of view” going from figures of encastment to forms of appropriation proper, going from limited war to so called “total war” and transforming the relationship between aim and object. The factors that make State war total war are closely connected to capitalism: it has to do with the investment of constant capital in equipment, industry and the war economy and the investment of variable capital in the population in its physical and mental aspects (both as war maker and victim of war). Total war is not only war of annihilation but arises when annihilation takes as its “center” not only the enemy army, or the enemy state, but the entire population ans its economy. The fact that this double investment can be made only under prior conditions of limited war illustrates the irresistible character of the capitalist tendency to develop total war.”

The premise of the studio operates in a world with a political atmosphere
threatened by another world war, in a geopolitical context and boundary initiated and terminated by war.
How can architecture embody the history of an infrastructure while responding to its current state of geopolitical climate.
The boundaries of the site operate within borders of doomed and failed empires of the world spanning over a century.
How can architecture operate operate on a moving vector and speed and embody a history of chaos, conflict and memory and respond to the current state of politics.
The architecture will be inserts along this historical and political path and will contain pieces of the history and its relevant surrounding context.

War arises because of the changing relations of numerous variables–technological, psychic, social, and intellectual. There is no single cause of war. Peace is an equilibrium among many forces. Change in any particular force, trend, movement, or policy may at one time make for war, but under other conditions a similar change may make for peace. A state may at one time promote peace by armament, at another time by disarmament, at one time by insistence on its rights, at another time by a spirit conciliation. To estimate the probability of war at any time involves, therefore, an appraisal of the effect of current changes upon the complex of intergroup relationships throughout the world.
—- Wright, 1965: 1284







Anabasis (Ἀνάβασις – Greek for “going up”) is the most famous work of the Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon.[1] The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment and “one of the great adventures in human history,” as Will Durant expressed the common assessment.[2]

Xenophon accompanied the Ten Thousand, a large army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Though Cyrus’ mixed army fought to a tactical victory at Cunaxa in Babylon (401 BC), Cyrus himself was killed in the battle, rendering the actions of the Greeks irrelevant and the expedition a failure.

Stranded deep in enemy territory, the Spartan general Clearchus and the other Greek senior officers were subsequently killed or captured by treachery on the part of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Xenophon, one of three remaining leaders elected by the soldiers, played an instrumental role in encouraging the Greek army of 10,000 to march north across foodless deserts and snow-filled mountain passes towards the Black Sea and the comparative security of its Greek shoreline cities. Now abandoned in northern Mesopotamia, without supplies other than what they could obtain by force or diplomacy, the 10,000 had to fight their way northwards through Corduene and Armenia, making ad hoc decisions about their leadership, tactics, provender and destiny, while the King’s army and hostile natives constantly barred their way and attacked their flanks.

Ultimately this “marching republic” managed to reach the shores of the Black Sea at Trabzon (Trebizond), a destination they greeted with their famous cry of joyous exultation on the mountain of Madur in Surmene : “thálatta, thálatta“, “the sea, the sea!”[3] “The sea” meant that they were at last among Greek cities, but it was not the end of their journey, which included a period fighting for Seuthes II of Thrace, and ended with their recruitment into the army of the Spartan general Thibron. This is the story Xenophon relates in this book, in language of such directness and simplicity that it has served ever since as the student’s first text in Greek.

The Greek term anabasis referred to an expedition from a coastline into the interior of a country. The term katabasis referred to a trip from the interior to the coast. While the journey of Cyrus himself is indeed an anabasis from Ionia on the eastern coast of the Aegean Sea to the interior of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, most of Xenophon‘s narrative is taken up with the return march of Xenophon and the Ten Thousand from the interior of Babylon to the coast of the Black Sea. Socrates makes a cameo appearance when Xenophon asks whether he ought to accompany the expedition. The short episode demonstrates the reverence of Socrates for the Oracle of Delphi.

Xenophon’s account of the exploit resounded through Greece, where, two generations later, some surmise, it might have inspired Philip of Macedon to believe that a lean and disciplined Hellene army might be relied upon to defeat a Persian army many times its size.[4]

Besides military history, the Anabasis has found use as a tool for the teaching of classical philosophy; Socrates makes a brief appearance at the beginning (advising Xenophon not to go), and the principles of leadership and government exhibited by the army can be seen as exemplifying Socratic philosophy.

 Katabasis, or catabasis, (from Greek κατὰ, “down” βαίνω “go”) is a descent of some type. Katabasis may be a moving downhill, a sinking of winds, a military retreat, or a trip to the underworld. It may also mean a trip from the interior of a country down to the coast, and has related meanings in poetry, rhetoric, and modern psychology.

Atlas of Novel Tectonic, Reiser and Umemoto
Chronomorphology, Keller
New Scapes: Territories of Complexity, Gregory
Architecture and Psychoanalysis: Peter Eisenman and Jacques Lacan, Hendrix
Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation, Kaplan
Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea, Kurlansky
Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida and Deconstruction, McKenna
Architecture and Distjunction, Tschumi
Investigations of the Interstitial, Eisenman
Abstration and the Holocaust, Godfrey
CodeX, Eisenman
Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Calvino
Cinema 1, Deleuze
Cinema 2, Deleuze
Cyclonopedia, Negarestani
Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety on Modern Culture, Vidler
Histories of the Immediate Present: Inventing Architectural Modernism, Vidler
A Landscape of Events, Virilio
“Urban disorientation, the machines of war, and the acceleration of events in contemporary life are Virilio’s ongoing concerns. He explores them in events ranging from media coverage of the Gulf War to urban rioting and lawlessness. Some will see Virilio as a pessimist discouraged by “the acceleration of the reality of time,” while others will find his recording of “atypical events” to be clairvoyant”
Program and Si[GH]T[e]
[UN]inhabitable slashes, incisions, tears, lacerations, wounds, gashes and berms in the terrain and landscape at selected points running along the railway, in the form of installation, permanent and kinetic infrastructure.

Inglorious Basterds
Gallipoli (1981)
Schindler’s List
Guns of Navaronne
The Great Escape
Hurt Locker
Midnight Express
Saving Private Ryan
Citizen Kane
Touch of Evil


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