From the Editors Desk- Not all Is Vanity

Not all IS Vanity


            The fact that we meet only every quarterly, dear reader, obliges me to choose my words very carefully, to avoid attacking issues that will solve themselves in time, to refrain from  hurting or underestimating others, and particularly to resist worshiping trends that ultimately fade. You have probably noticed that time nowadays passes twice as fast as it used to, possibly due in part to our preference for shutting our eyes every time corruption raises its ugly head in the hope that it will pass quickly. A dubious contract may lead to increased earnings, or, as in the case of a feisty prime minister, bring peace to a troubled region. However, in the eternal competition amongst the computer companies for ever greater speed and miniaturization, we are the ultimate losers: the more computerized plans we generate, the less successful are the buildings we produce.


            Until a few days ago, I planned to tell you about the mutilated campaign for the Chair of the  Architects Union. But the eternal god somehow took care of things and saved me from a guilty conscience, and you from some grubby details that would speed up the passage of time even more. All for the best, I assume, as I now have space to draw your attention to the role architecture should play in establishing a degree of stability in our increasingly ephemeral lives.


            Dont worry, I have no intention of tiring you with Kants claim that time exists only in our minds. I am aiming at how temporality has become a central issue in the work of leading architects, who recruit all the gimmicks in the world to draw attention to their 'Avant-gardism', utterly abandoning the fundamental purposes of their buildings. They seek instant solutions, much like the junk food that goes down easily yet exits in pain, or the fortunes we invest today in computers, knowing they will be worthless tomorrow.


            It is reasonable to assume that this Ecclesiastic reality has penetrated the subconscious of our editorial, or else how can I explain that four articles in this issue deal with the subject of how contemporary architecture fails to equip us mortals with something to hold on to. I doubt you remember the times when decorators (those responsible for installing drapes) strived to look like architects. But dont worry, you now have the opportunity to watch leading architects strive to become decorators. Using temporary stage settings, these gods of the profession pretend to replace the gods of eternity. Rooted only in a few proportions and sacred numbers, they who dwelt for centuries in pyramids and cathedrals now stand gaping in awe as the 'Junk Piles' accumulate upon the earths surface.


            On this computerized note, I would like to thank you for your stable attitude towards the eternal pages we produce with great effort. Your dedication warms our hearts again and again with every issue. Thank your intelligence (with no sarcasm) for helping me prevent the 'People of the Book' from becoming the 'People of Empty Words'.


PS. Write sometimes, especially if you have some constructive criticism.


DR. Ami Ran.

חזרה לגליון 56    back to issue 56