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–– knights

of the

rueful

countenance ––

– VERTIGO –

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“The limit is the line and frontier that allows mutual access between those ‘two worlds’; and therefore sanctions its irremediable distance. Emotion registers such duality and such junction in different ways. The most genuine of them all is vertigo. Vertigo has the prerogative of emotionally ‘contemplating’ that double direction and their mutual dialectic and liminal overlapping in the infinite. Vertigo is spontaneously produced once the line, which is the limit of the world, in inhabited. It is the ‘natural response’ to the position the subject acquires once the limit is inhabited. He contemplates at the same time what it seems to be parting from – home – and that what he is attracted to – the abyss –. He wants, at the same time, to keep the foot inside the world and put a foot in the ‘non-world’ (access to the other world). Wants, at the same time, persevere into the being (in the world) and spread or disperse into the space-light which surrounds him like an inaccessible transcendence.”

––– THE LIMITS OF THE WORLD, EUGENIO TRIAS

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– INTERMISSION – [KNIGHT speaks]

Now you can watch them, risking all In frail timbers on treacherous seas, By routes never charted, and only Emboldened by opposing winds; Having explored so much of the earth From the equator to the midnight sun, They recharge their purpose and are drawn To touch the very portals of the dawn.

They were promised by eternal Fate Whose high laws cannot be broken, They should long hold sway in the seas Where the sun makes his purple entrance. ––– OS LVISIADAS , LVIZ VAZ DE CAMÕES

After all previously entered and seen, which took the almighty forms presented to me by the Amazonas and its feverish dreamer, now I proceed, like the voyager, poet and man Luiz Vaz de Camões, to recharge my purpose and be drawn to touch the very portals of the dawn. Before I am given the pleasure to take you, reader, further into the vision pursued by my Knight, a link or shared intelligence shall be overlooked in order to understand the presence of that impossible construct, what I may call an architecture subjected to life. A presence that silently rests on those portals of the dawn, above the limit, caressing the frontier…horizon. The surgical dissection of the recurrent ideas that have been sprouting over the past two years or so, will be presented, of course unanimated, or frozen, so their, often, ungraspable viscous character can be articulated without being concerned of their escapist dizzying tribulations.

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Now I ask: {if questions are the very piety of thinking, this may mean that the pilgrimage is overlooked by the architecture named by man: God – and I come down and wonder: [KNIGHT speaks]

Dear mother: You fill the land with your beauty. You reach to the end of the world. ––– How shall I seek you? Show me your face. You, the great river that never runs dry.}

––– Where am I riding towards? ––– Isn’t it something that stretches the mortality of my shell beyond its limits…an awakening perhaps, or a vision scented by the fullness of the journey, a vision of madness: his life, our life? Is this life we inhabit truly a dream? What kind of space, or even better architecture is the vision of the Knight allowing me to describe and search? How could we imagine the intense magnetic expression that is displayed by this line the horizon appears to be, dragging the searcher into the feverish dream and embroiling him at last into vertiginous sensations similar to the ones that destroyed good willed Blaise Pascal: [KNIGHT speaks]

Man’s disproportion – {This is where our innate knowledge leads us. If it be not true, there is no truth in man; and if it be true, he finds therein great cause for humiliation, being compelled to abase himself in one way or another. And since he cannot exist without this knowledge, I wish that, before entering on deeper researches into nature, he would consider her both seriously and at leisure, that he would reflect upon himself also, and knowing what proportion there is…} Let man then contemplate the whole of nature in her full and grand majesty, and

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turn his vision from the low objects which surround him. Let him gaze on that brilliant light, set like an eternal lamp to illuminate the universe; let the earth appear to him a point in comparison with the vast circle described by the sun; and let him wonder at the fact that this vast circle is itself but a very fine point in comparison with that described by the stars in their revolution round the firmament. But if our view be arrested there, let our imagination pass beyond; it will sooner exhaust the power of conception than nature that of supplying material for conception. The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample bosom of nature. No idea approaches it. We may enlarge our conceptions beyond all imaginable space we only produce atoms in comparison with the reality of things. It is an infinite sphere, the centre of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere. In short it is the greatest sensible mark of the almighty power of God, that imagination loses itself in that thought. ––– BLAISE PASCAL

My imagination also looses itself in that thought. Yet, this whole work may only be about that thought. This last and first ‘thought’ {considered by a Saint that I will later meet while on the search, as an intellectual vision}, is seen as the key to unlock the series of images that flood the Knights mind while galloping towards the impossible. Images that all together could make the silent construct visible through flashes of revealing light.

I continue this INTERMISSION by introducing some of the figures encountered by the searcher, wanderer: the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, in honour to the voyager of voyagers, Don Quixote. In him there is a drive we all share, a dream we all live through and a tragic feel that is suffered once we’ve pondered through depths where impossible questions echo without pauses. What is this pilgrim going towards once fever drove him into the journey? Fever, as a physiological reaction of the body and at the same time, if understood through spatial terms, the gate that signals the entrance into the crystal dream; a maddening torrent of sensations, maybe of tragic consequences, yet forever projecting itself. The multiple scenes

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described by the previous section, FEVER, aim to find routes for grasping the transition between two completely differing spaces, which being but the same are perceived as two different worlds. One constructed a priori, the other slumbered by an innocent, yet intensely liberating gaze. The Knight turns errant once this fever drives him off the yoke that burdens his vital eagerness onto solid arid grounds (repressive and castrating terrain where nothing grows but thistles). ––– Why did Homer send Ulysses away? Was Ulysses Homer’s fever? Didn’t a modern Ulysses yearn to a platonic lover, which could easily be Homer himself, vertiginous words belonging to an eternal vision of impossible character? What was seen once he turned his gaze back? : [KNIGHT speaks]

When I return, it will be with another mans’ clothes, another mans’ name. My coming will be unexpected. If you look at me unbelievably and say, You are not here. I will show you signs and you will believe me. I will tell you about the lemon tree in your garden. The corner window that lights in the moonlight. And then signs of the body. Signs of love. And as we climb trembling to our old room, between one embrace and the next, between lovers’ calls, I will tell you about the journey, all night long. And then all the nights to come. Between one embrace and the next. Between lovers’ calls. The whole human adventure. The story that never ends. ––– ULYSSES GAZE, THEO ANGELOPOULOS

So, the suffered fever signals the entrance into the space delimited by the pilgrimage. What the previous section was concerned by is the way all those feverish sensations express themselves in articulate acts that beckon the

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passage into that wander. I was looking at all those affairs from an outside point of view, now in this upcoming section, VERTIGO, I will continue from the inside, as inhabitant of the vision, seeing what the eyes of the Knight see and feeling what his heart feels. His sensations and gestures will be designed in order to make them accessible and not just rueful rushes of madness. Try to find formal parallels, similar passions and drives, architectures that allow me to visualize the entirety of a space, seen from within, that has been constructed by a life stretching towards the perfect celestial sphere, searching for the limits of our world… aren’t we those limits?

The Counter-Reform, particularly the Council of Trent and the, even seen as terrible, immoral intelligence that derived from them, will be one of the historical realities I will take on, always moving in Z axis tracking shots, avoid indulging with their distant character, highlighting textures, scents and above all the visceral beauty of their gestures. However, do not think of this as a deviation from the pursue of the voyager, the imagination of that impossible pilgrimage, which takes an infinite character in the form of the horizon line, is what drives forward the dream. A dream deeply rooted in the fundaments of living in our world, as the human condition of being, of wanting to rise and see… I am looking at the forms that primordial liberating desire takes. A desire of conquest, of touching what is dreamt through ones eyes; what is the architecture of that dream!? Is it something stretching the life spans of our memory? What do we see once looked beyond… we used to see God, which is nothing but the architecture of our immortality. The Baroque era, specifically just after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), is passed through in order to look at a formal intelligence that was always aiming to reach what lies above and beyond. Images served to God. Spaces scaled for God. Visions of God.

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God = the limiting construct

Above all of the constructions that were realized during that time, I am beholding one. The jewel of the Counter-Reform to many. To others an organ of political and religious repression and a fortress of faith inhabited by a tormented king. San Lorenzo of the Escorial, a monastery palace built during the dawn of the XVI century, silently resting on the foot of Mt. Abantos at the Sierra de Guadarrama. There, all that was born during the series of meetings first called by pope Paul III and closely overlooked by the crown of Spain, take the form of a building complex, where the moral ambitions of a king are given a specific expression. A building scaled for the heavens, always looking up, brightness emerging from the dark. Rooms in the form of dim corridors that run forever. A basilica, whose pillars rise up not unlike the Kapok trees of the Amazonian jungle do over the forests’ canopy, stands above all else, overlooking the distant Madrid. An errant spaceship wandering across the dream, dreamt by a king madly impassioned about this liminal horizon? Is the architecture of the Escorial, the stoic palace, a pilgrim in itself? The legacy of someone that was eager to travel forever? Phillip II, the pietistic king, to some accounts some kind of haunted hermit, whose search for God derived into him being the architect of this scheme. The architect of his journey towards his God. I do not wish to enter into those eventful thoughts yet. It is too soon. However, in order to show the reader signs of the vision, one must be able to pass through what is already at hand. Maybe all these moments lost in time, yet rendered in stone or paper, are figures that share the same vital drives I feel and chase; those of my Knight, uneasy about the space he lives in, and obsessed with what he sees far beyond reach. Once again, what I am aiming to ‘design’ or tell, is the architecture the searcher inhabits while on this aimless pilgrimage. The Baroque, which formal intelligence emerged

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while the solidity of the institution, by then guarded by Paul III, collapsed, is something of extreme importance here, due to the visual language it developed. Over-expressive, burdened by the impossibility of reaching beyond; its space, liberated from any moral dogmas (and here I am very conscious of the ironical paradox), and after all Anti-ethical… There is nothing grounding it to earth but the weight of gravity. Baroque sprouted after an intense fever, and as proof, just look and notice the expressions on the faces of all that is depicted, and you will see. The Escorial will fade into another construct that only exists on paper and words. Both of them I see, parallel to each other. Devised under the patronage of Phillip II, an architect and scholar, follower of St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the order of the Jesuits), ex-pupil of Juan de Herrera, late architect of the Escorial, comes out after many years of development and study with a book he named: Ezechielem Explanationes (1604). Here, Jerónimo del Prado and Juan Bautista Villalpando, trace the vision of prophet Ezekiel in the Temple of Solomon. The revelation is not to be introduced yet, but just quickly mention the creation of an architecture speaking the language of the celestial horizons, a work that struggles with notions that belong to spheres in conflict with one another. Like the Escorial, the building also culminates with a lifting space, whose height is directly linked (according to a geometrical calculus derived from the religious readings of the time) to the diameter of the spherical Universe and more precisely of the heavenly mansion of God. It goes by the name of Sancta Sanctorum and reaches up to 64.776 m, 120 (sacred) cubits. Once again an obsesive desire to reach beyond is encountered, an act of devotion to the creatures of the outer sphere, of the space where our gaze and imagination get lost. This construct could be understood as a stationary mediator between the two limiting spaces our human character inhabits.

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This craving to expand the frontiers of the dream can be found at many stages of our history. If I were allowed I would reach as far as today, and the errant-knight of our era, which is now drifting across interstellar space, sending signals to a computer every 16h or so. Sharing the mediatory ambitions of the Temple of Solomon, Voyager 1 and 2, are twin spaceships that relentlessly travel towards unknown lands only intuited by science and its astronomical calculations. As I see it, both Voyager and the Escorial (and the Temple of Solomon) are both part of the same desire to reach beyond and see where the imagination of our thoughts get lost and diluted into some kind of vital loneliness; and that may be the capital sin, the original guilt… that is why the Knight, liberated from its burdens through fever, madly, yet passion-hearted, dreams towards it, and builds, through the eventful voyage, a life destined towards eternal projection, the immortal desire to live.

This is a book that if pictured actively would take the forms of a fishing ship advancing through a wavering ocean in contempt, showing no mercy, violently harming the hull, who is determined to keep on floating no matter what. The coxswain drives forward, while the crew, helpless, trust the steadiness of their ship, slowly advancing into the stormy waves, whose foamy crests are being swayed away by speeding winds. What I am aiming to capture with this last image is the way, you reader, takes part in the journey of the Knight. Trust my Knight like those Atlantic fisherman trusted their ship. The wavering ocean obscures the linearity of the voyage by hiding the horizon. Distracting the Knight from the vision that made him leave and go beyond, search for the frontiers of space. However, the determination of the dream shines through all obstacles encountered along the way. All I am trying to do, with my many ventures across time, through lyrical fictions and rushed images of nature and men, is to search and define a

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space the notion of life as the ceaseless struggle between the futility of being and the presence of impossible character that drives the feverish dream forward, creates in the life lived by the searcher, the dream-infected Knight, the trustful sailor… the individual that feels questions, which now seem dumb and unscientific laughable blasphemy. Questions presented by life and its journey, its dreamy voyage, the human adventure. A way of reasoning that disposes itself from set finalities, or exact results leading towards safe monotony. As an architect I use architecture as the spatial structure where I can construct ideas bounded to pure abstraction. Architecture is the voyage that the knight inhabits, and also the impossible, yet radiant resonant wall the horizon symbolizes. I am fully conscious that a torrential rain of words falls down due to my dizziness. Because the images, at this preliminary moment in the text, are not clear depictions, just intuited thoughts or learned/borrowed instruments from friendly voices. For this, I apologize in advance. Nonetheless, my passionate Knights of rueful character will ride on, with or without approval, unstopped, and in him I find truth in what my architecture is aiming to portrait and construct. In his dream, entered through fever and confronted through vertigo, I see my own dream reflected on his armour; therefore I am inside, looking through the eyes of my creature, being bathed into that purple sunset beautifully described by Camões, holding sway in the seas of the pilgrimage, but always gazing forward, and withholding that promise by eternal Fate.

Now, let this INTERMISSION end. Has been far too long and, honestly, I am craving for action, for the eventful histories to light up the fast paced galloping wanderer, casting a shadow that stretches over all those pasts. But remember, like for the good Hollywoodian cowboy, the purple sun, source of all light, is in front of ones vision, blinding and blurring the obvious,

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enhancing the dream-like quality of the voyage. Consequently, if this logic is followed, the shadow is always behind, dragging feelings of sceptic doubt and disbelief. Let trumpets play! We, now, march: [KNIGHT speaks]

Good Night, Good Night. Parting is such sweet sorrow. That I shall say good night ’ til it be tomorrow. –––ROMEO & JULIET, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

               

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–– GESTURE –– Salvum fac populum tuum, / Oh Lord, save thy people: Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. / And bless thine heritage. –– TE DEUM / THEE, OH LORD, WE PRAISE

It was a Sunday 13th of December 1545. Europe: convoluted by religious uprisings, raged by wars and rivalries, and corrupted from within its foundations. It is no surprise Niccolò Machiavelli published his The Prince during this time under the consent of the Medici Pope Clement VII. After a fairly unknown Augustinian monk posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg cathedral, highlighting that faith was justified by faith alone, the political and spiritual reactions of the world would put in danger an institution that had monopolized belief in Europe for the past one thousand years. An institution that created images of heaven on earth. A language deriving from the celestial above, constellations of saints manifesting themselves through monastic orders carrying their names. Relics containing traces of divinities were being sold all over the Christian world. And on that 31st of October 1517, for some reason, these theses sparked the reaction against a faith hitherto taken for granted by most. Now, this movement is known to us as the Reformation. Reacting against works of faith, opulent religious imagery, lustful lavishness, and above all the figure of the Pope. It carved a permanent ethical niche in Europe. Nevertheless, let put our selves into action. This (hi)story will be told from within the events that passionately reacted against heretic reformers. An ‘illegitimate’ criticism towards the Holy Catholic Church was substituted by

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a legitimate one that was set to take place in Trent under the fearful supervision of several popes, being its creator Pope Paul III. Sunday, 13th of December 1545, the cathedral of Trent is celebrating the opening of, what is to be known as the Tridentine Council. The nave and transepts of the cathedral are occupied by forty-two theologians, several diplomats accredited to the council, and a number of local notables, including women. On the chancel, apart from Bishops and powerful figures of the Holy See, three Benedictine abbots are present while mass is about to be imparted on the altar. Emerging as the head of the three cardinal-legates of the council, a 58 year old Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, future Pope Julius III, clothed under a traditional ceremonial vesture comprised by a cassock or soutane, dragging in length down to his feet, around his waist, a fringed sash worn, the fascia; then softly resting on his shoulders, the iconic cappa magna, possibly made out of ermine, however this last one, beautifully soft as it is, might have been left behind, maybe in the ambulatory. Del Monte gazes over the altar, before gasping the words of Psalm 63:2

O God, you are my God Whom I seek; for You my flesh pines and my soul thirsts.

Words that will spark the creation of multiple mandatum set to unleash spatial notions scented by mad passions whose gravitational force pushes upwards, tearing the heart of the tragic figures forming and delimiting those celestial rooms, scaled for an ideal architecture, a construct that belongs to the liminal lands signalled by the horizon far beyond reach. Cardinal del Monte, now wearing over his previous outfit the liturgical vestment pluviale (in English Cope), embroidered in gold or any other precious material and depicting biblical scenes, possibly, the figure of the fish or the Eucharistic communion; commences celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit. This particular Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for

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all those who yearn for justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all once faced to incontestable truth. If reflected upon the primary purpose of the Council, this opening Mass already sets an attitude for all that will come after. As if there is a bitter fraternal feeling searching to peach the reformer heretics to a shared father, overlooking from his heavens. It is a dogmatic council echoing the above. The opening ceremony progresses. For about one hour and a half, cardinal del Monte sheds light on the issues there to be discussed under the disguise of biblical rhetoric intoned through prophetic voices. After communion and the transubstantiation of the wine and the bread into the blood and body of Christ, he proceeds to close the Sunday with a Te Deum. This prayer found in the Breviary and in thanksgiving to God for a special blessing such as the election of a pope, the consecration of a bishop, the canonization of a saint, or the publication of a treaty of peace is sung signalling the closing of the beginning. The Council of Trent officially ignites, and the following words, last intonations of the final prayer, will linger all the way through:

In te, Domine, speravi: / O Lord, in thee have I trusted: non confundar in aeternum. / let me never be confounded. –– TE DEUM / THEE, OH LORD, WE PRAISE

This first Session would be followed by 24 more during the next eighteen years of the Council. In between each Session, General Congregations were set in order to discuss what was going to be voted. Hundreds of heated discussions took part. The political interests of many nations were put at stake. As tantalizing as this may sound, I do not wish to get into the complex melee taking place while the Roman Catholic Church was at the verge of breaking apart into many irreconcilable spiritual trends. All those power

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struggles will be fed, in one way or the other, into images my writing will try to portrait. Scenes, like the one above, searching to be witnessed live by the one that reads through them. The entirety of what was put into paper by the Council, now seen as immobile historical data, I wish to set fire to. The formal result of the Counter-Reform as an idea hoovers well above all mundaneness. Do not forget that a mind blurred by the purple sun, hanging low in the heavens, is the one that journeys across the words, gestures and ideas of all those cardinals, bishops, kings and the three Popes, Paul III, Julius III and Pius IV. Remember, that all the Knight strives for are visual and tactile fields, and I, the one that gallops with him, am the provider of such forms. This Council I see as terribly important here, because it formed that coarse pearl: Baroque, whose conceptual seed was conceived in Trent. Nevertheless, I do not feel the necessity of explaining why, or how. I rather live through it. As I have done while passing by the solemn opening ceremony, the justification of how the necessity for Baroque expression is progressively formed during theological and dogmatic meetings, takes the appearance of a set of eyes that witness the present of what is now past. And in those eyes the witnessed world expresses itself through delicate gestures, scents, and touches, all of them intensified by the look, framing it. Essentially, my description of the meetings at Council of Trent are a legitimate pretence to tell and broadcast the formal language of gestures they sparked by using their historical reality as a canvas where the brush of my Knight paints them alive. Like the bloodless heart that is made throb once again by injecting a kind of plasma into it, I dramatize their now long gone present with a visual and aesthetic precision worthy of its expressive legacy. Yet, I pause and let me get back in.

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During this First period of the Council (1545-1547) a specific set of doctrines are first taken: The Holy Scripture, Original Sin, Justification, Sacraments, Baptism and Confirmation. The canons and decrees resulting the discussions and voting have to be previously approved by the Pope, in this case Paul III. All those primary doctrines are stating the differences between what the Reform had set thirty years ago and what was discussed during the multiple General Congregations. Just to clarify, the atmosphere is electric at moments, yet tediously relentless. Agreement in all those fundamental canons is constantly jeopardized by either French prelates, closely attached to the interest of their king, Francis II, or by any other external issue, including Papal paranoia. Nonetheless, years pass by. Prelates come and go, and agreement is not always found. Kingdoms become inpatient. The reformers gain terrain in Northern Europe to such an extent that Emperor Charles is forced to wage war against many of them. Europe shakes while in the hall of Giroldo Palace, where the plenary sessions of the Council are held, voices from the high authorities of the Church of Christ echo without any concern of time. In 1549 Pope Paul III gives way to Julius III, former cardinal del Monte, with him the Second period of the Council (1551-52) goes by. First of May 1551, Trent prepares to reopen. The necessity and hope for conversation is truncated by the sudden victory of Maurice, Elector of Saxony over the army of Emperor Charles V. The threat of a Protestant army invading the city of Trent is seen as a major worry due to the proximity of Maurice’s troops, who marched victorious into the state of Tirol, one year later, the 28th of April 1552. The Council is frozen, and the hope for its reconvention seems like a distant mirage. After the death of Julius III, anti-Protestant pope Paul IV is elected, negating any need for the re-thinking of the fundamental structures of the Catholic Faith. Meanwhile tensions grow within the Church and the

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primordial image of the enterprise is waning over ill-blooded reactions lacking of vision, including Paul IV’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Pauline Index). During this ten-year (1552 – 1562) period, the papacy plunges into the abyss of a self-inflicted insanity and doom. I now forward this (hi)story to January 18th 1562. One day earlier Catalina of Medici consecrates the freedom of conscience and cult for the French Protestants, the Huguenots. There is a light of hope pinning through the cloudy period of phobia. This brightness is put down forty-three days later after more than eighty Huguenots are massacred by Francis, Duke of Guise. Those European events will again taint the opening and course of the Tridentine Council, creating a series of instabilities and rushed decisions. It is again a Sunday. Seventeen years have passed by without clarity or future. What has been happening gives way to a climate of extreme anxiety, fear, intolerance and insecurity. If I were to be a fearful cynic, I would rest my search upon the political direction that has dissected human emotion since ever. My madness is my faith, as a consequence, my position with this council strives to comprehend the passions and fine broken gazes that the Baroque will later display and shine out. A Baroque not bounded to opulence or formal voluptuousness, but to a deep intellectual desire to make peace or war with a condition all human beings suffer. Inhabit the liminal ‘mansion’ of our life. Split in two, questioning appearances and looking upwards and beyond in order to find meaning and somehow, an omnipresent love that guides our hearts. [KNIGHT speaks]

The baroque style always arises at the time of decay of a great art, when the demands of art in classical expression have become too great. It is a natural phenomenon which will be observed with melancholy—for it is a forerunner of the night—but at the same time with admiration for its peculiar compensatory arts of expression and narration. To this style belongs already a choice of material and subjects of the highest dramatic tension, at which the heart trembles

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even when there is no art, because heaven and hell are all too near the emotions: then, the oratory of strong passion and gestures, of ugly sublimity, of great masses, in fact of absolute quantity per se (as is shown in Michael Angelo, the father or grandfather of the Italian baroque stylists): the lights of dusk, illumination and conflagration playing upon those strongly molded forms: ever-new ventures in means and aims, strongly underscored by artists for artists, while the layman must fancy he sees an unconscious overflowing of all the horns of plenty of an original nature-art: all these characteristics that constitute the greatness of that style are neither possible nor permitted in the earlier ante-classical and classical periods of a branch of art. Such luxuries hang long on the tree like forbidden fruit. –– HUMAN ALL TOO HUMAN, FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Thus I have embarked through time, under the shadow of my Knight, to revisit an idea that is as much heart as it is mind. That forbidden fruit being hit by Caecias, the north-eastern wind. It might all be a form of expression that sways, balancing from side to side. Baroque for me means she who sways. A state of spirit in constant swaying. Striving to caress what rests on its right and left.

[KNIGHT speaks]

When I was a child, and wondered about the name of a flower, I’d be told, ‘rose’ or ‘daisy’. I always questioned the answers I was given, I was after more details. Why a rose? Aunt Augusta used to get upset as though I had asked her to justify God’s existence to herself. You are stupid. ‘That is the way it is, and that’s that,’ she’d reply. To her, God was implicit in everything, and she’d avoid that sort of dialog. I later learned that in the Brahman language, rose means swaying, or she who sways. Nice image for a flower, high above on her stem, caressed by a tender gust of wind, and ready to soon allow for her petals to fall.

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Why rose? If upon the first gentle breeze she is no longer a rose. In the sway, she is a flower… and at once, she is flower no more. –– VAL ABRAO, MANOEL DE OLIVEIRA

Now, please, go and tell me if the gestures of Bernini’s’ Santa Teresa of Jesus in her ecstasy don’t evoke it all. Her lips, eyes, vest and hands. The dim light bathing her, the arrow about to pierce through her heart and the rays of celestial light falling from above. It is more than simple articulated nonsense in the shape of sculptural excellence. In her own words, that ecstasy is seen as an intellectual vision. A Spiritual Betrothal that gives way to the Spiritual Marriage her broken rueful heart dreamt in forms of ingénue beauty.

[KNIGHT speaks]

We might say that union is as if the end of two wax candles were joined so that the light they give is one: the wicks and the wax and the light are all one; yet afterwards the one candle can be perfectly well separated from the other and the candles become two again, or the wick may be withdrawn from the wax. But here (Spiritual Marriage) it is like rain falling from the heavens into a river or a spring; there is nothing but water there and it is impossible to divide or separate the waters belonging to the river from that which it will find no way of separating itself, or as if in a room there were two large windows through which the light streamed in: it enters in different places but it all becomes one. ––INTERIOR CASTLE, SANTA TERESA DE JESUS

That Sunday, Santa Teresa, a Spanish nun belonging to the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Carmelites was wide-awake. She was 46 and undertaking a reform within her own Order. Miles away at Trent, the Council finally opens with a solemn ceremony in the cathedral of Saint Vigilius, which constitutes the first Session of this

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period (session 17). Present are four of the legates, the duke of Mantua, one hundred archbishops and bishops, five abbots, four superiors general of mendicant orders, and over fifty theologians. Now cardinal Angelo Massarelli takes over the role firstly occupied by the later Julius III. He presides an opening ceremony that runs smoothly. The Council grew in size, as a consequence congregations move away from the Palazzo Giroldo, main building for the discussion previous to the Sessions. Santa Maria Maggiore, built between 1520-1524 is chosen for the General Congregations to take place. Inside the nave of this basilica, built thanks to the will of prince-bishop Bernardo Clesio, a fundamental contributor for the early organization of the Council in the city of Trent, an amphitheatre made out of oak has to be erected in order to host the large amount of prelates arriving from all the corners of Europe. This stage witnesses some of the most vicious arguments between not only individual prelates, but the interests of crowns and visions of the manifestations of a faith being pushed in from the frontiers up north. This last period of Trent is dominated by an urge of resolution, but also a desire of shaping a new visual strategy that could speak to the skies, and transcend the shadow of man, solidly casted by Luther and his 95 theses thirty years ago. Trent was bursting at the seams, with lodging ever less available and ever more expensive. May 18th French prelates arrive after the inevitable war with the Huguenots. By June 6, the number of bishops has grown to almost 150, the theologians to about 70. It is at this point when the plenary meetings of the council move to the amphitheatre of Santa Maria Maggiore. Debate over the five articles on the cup begins as usual with the Theologians’ Congregations, which consumes the rest of June. As the days move on, with the same arguments repeat again and again, sometimes at great length, the number of bishops in the council hall thin considerably.

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Housing becomes so expensive that makes impossible for prelates coming from distant dioceses stay and take part on the questions being addressed. All the remaining canons and decrees set in 1545 are examined, studied and in some ways performed by the members of the council. In that performance, which test the formal results of such precepts and how to didactically visualize their outcome in space, is fecundated what later will see the light as Baroque. This manner of expressing visions of ethereal character is born out of necessity and fear, an agonising fragility that is now being suffered by a taciturn church. The Holy See, forever grounded onto the tactility of forms that take on a human character so viscerally vivid that their gestures project upwards. All those facial expressions later to be depicted on sculpted façades, frescos and oil paintings I see as results of the spirit of Trent. A spirit not easy to describe through a rational or pragmatic methodology due to its character, rooted in a passion transcending moral dogmas. Its dominating concern travels far beyond the mortality of man, it reaches outwards, gazes at what is envisioned in a ecstatic dream, a horizon upholding some kind of pastoral landscape stretching beyond all imagination, and displaying a vital intensity that could have never been achieved if chained to equations whose results always equal finite numbers. Those canonical thoughts are undoubtedly inspired by the artistic visions that set the foundations for what is now implemented as protocols to display and broadcast this faith. Those depictions, which are now, in Trent, used as if reality they were, will later develop into atmospherically voluptuous reenactments filling the spaces set to echo preachings devised by the council. May be this lifting echo the real achievement of such a relentless canonical zigzag?

The last and final session of the Council was now approaching. Meanwhile a deputation of bishops goes to work and on August 6 presents to the council

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a draft document of 4 chapters and 12 canons, in which Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is represented, its memory recalled, and “its saving power applied to the forgiveness of sins that we daily commit”. The document then asserts that at the last supper, Jesus offered his body and blood to the Father under the forms of bread and wine, which identifies the meal as a sacrifice directly related to the sacrifice of the cross. This, hanging there by its own means nothing but some kind of theological technicality. I rather look beyond. What does this mean to what preceds the council? How does this seemingly redundant technocratic document, speculative, yet highly imaginative, help propel the conceptions of form givers in the years to come? Let us imagine this proposition as an image of artistic vision. I travel 38 years forward in time. 1601, year the Jesuit Matteo Ricci becomes the first European to enter the Forbidden City during the Ming Dynasty in Beijin and the year a 30 year old, carrying a first name that resonates the highest ceilings of the mansions of artistic delicacy finished a painting, now known as Supper at Emmaus. Michelangelo Merisi o Amerighi da Caravaggio, or simply Caravaggio is the author of this 141cm x 196.2cm oil on canvas depicting the a biblical passage found in the Gospel of Luke 24:30-31: When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

It can be seen how a resurrected and radiant Christ in incognito reveals himself to two of his disciples, Luke, wearing torn, unwashed, robes and Cleopas, clothed under the scallop shell pilgrims display on their way to Santiago of Compostela, in the town of Emmaus. The way the action is imagined resembles the canonical attitudes set by the discussions at the council. The expression of the hand gestures, which had been developing for more than a century (since 1420 more precisely), take a new emotional

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dimension. During Mannerism there is a sense of serenity, not close to the Greek mien, but a stance where the fibers of the body are still holding each other. Of course there was the same suffering and burdening guilt, however the bodies were stoically contradicting what the faces were starting to depict. This can be clearly perceived in Michelangelo and his sinuous, asymmetrical at

times,

meandering

silhouette,

curvilinear,

biomorphic

figures,

voluptuously displaying some sort of vital athletic oblivion. Now, back at Emmaus, my eyes are fixated on the countenance of this central figure that is meant to be Christ – eyes looking down in a reflective form, right hand index finger pointing towards the distance of what is being preached –all lit up by a light source coming from the left. His pale skin blushes under the strong contrasting red tunic, matching the ruddiness of his lips. Left hand about to pose itself over the bread. This latter is overshadowed by a right hand softly caressing this intellectual vision that rests on the table, which fullness is worthy of Dionysius himself, in order to enlighten the way of those two pilgrims, Luke and Cleopas. And yet, those men, astonished and hypnotized by the image of the son of God, can not see nor touch what lays in front of them, what the stranger has created so they can voyage beyond and touch an external substance that rests within. Such a sad scene, and if Christ then vanished was as a consequence of the disappointment of preaching blind Tobitesque characters. Shall I not be distracted from this draft presented by the bishops, after all the Council yearns for visual fleshy tactility, highlight or backlight the notion of the transubstantiation, strongly rejected by Martin Luther. The blind belief on the materialistic impact Jesus has, might be one influential formal resolution born from the Concilium Tridentinum and then explored in its depth by the elaborate painting that has been inhabited while the figure of my Knight still casts itself over the amphitheatre of Santa Maria Maggiore and the nervous crowd of counter-reformers awaiting its closure.

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We are men, not angles. ––GIOVANNI MORONE,

1563

With all this in mind, Session 25 will be now entered, and discussed not unlike the Supper at Emmaus was passed through. December 3rd, 1563 Santa Maria Maggiore houses a large amount of prelates coming over from nations such as the Papal States, Crown of Spain, France, Portugal, the Italian kingdoms and northern kingdoms such as Bavaria. The closing awaits after well over a decade tainted by une guerre á outrance. An impression of dissatisfaction can be perceived behind the seemingly jubilant faces of hundreds of men of God, dressed for the ceremony and ready to intone the final prayer with enthusiasm. Has the Catholic Church found a way forward, a path enlightened by a revitalized faith sculpted in the form of human gestures transcending their physicality? Couldn’t Santa Maria Maggiore be the first product of the thought of Baroque? Its space impregnated by the human passions that today, Wednesday, are being conducted by Angelo Massarelli, later to be bishop of Bologna. Those dreams, heavily soaked in political ambitions, are the first real traces of an expression that will materialize itself from now onwards. If I were to cast all I have seen through my eyes while being escorted by the dreamer of dreamers in stone and light, it would resemble a tumorous pearl whose coarse surface has being formed after its carrier protected itself against a threatening irritant that could injure the inner viscosity of the mantle tissue. That is the product of the Council of Trent {Baroque / pérola barroca = coarse pearl} after eighteen years of sessions acting as an irritating defence mechanism against the exterior Protestant threat. Session 25, the day finishes and there is no conclusion yet. Exhaustion haunts all, the martyrdom of consensus fall upon all present. Thursday

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opens smoothly; the morning light gives way to the cold twilight of December, thuribles filled with burning incense try to cover up the smell of aging sweat which emanate out of the pores of exquisitely dressed Cardinals de Guise and Madruzzo, bishops, archbishops, legates, patriarchs, abbots and superior generals of religious orders. Once the last decree is approved, Giovanni Morone, the legate presiding, rises to his feet and declares the council concluded under the words: To go forth in peace. ––GIOVANNI MORONE,

1563

The French prelate and cardinal Charles de Guise steps forward to lead the assembly in a litany of acclamations celebrating all those associated with the council since its beginning. The litany pays tribute to the three popes closely followed by Emperor Charles V, and finally other rulers, the legates, and so forth. All these people had made possible the resolution of the Council, either through political action or warfare. De Guise concludes the litany and sits down so the eager crowd occupying the entire amphitheater can intone the closing prayer, which is identical to the opening one in 1545. Now, Thursday evening 4th of December 1563, the hundreds present rise preparing for this closing prayer, once more the celebratory Te Deum. After the silence prior to intonation, a mass of unisonous voices sings the same first Latin verses their predecessors sung eighteen years ago. Te Deum laudamus : / We praise thee, O God: Te Dominum confitemur. / we acknowledge thee to be the Lord

Santa Maria Maggiore resonates with the more than two hundred voices singing a prayer that clearly reflects on their duty towards faith but also asking the favours of God.

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Meanwhile this phantasmagorical storm of grave pitched voices recite the 41 (31 + 11 Psalm) verses comprising Te Deum, a thought sparks in me allowing the door of a vision of space to appear on the mirroring surface of my Knights cornea. And while opening it I rapidly see myself galloping against a toasted light that bathes the landscapes forming the vision. Vast landscapes where the seeds planted at Trent have now grown and are swaying under gusts of a wind pushing them and me forward. The thought has pondered into the spatial essence of the forms devised under the manners, pace, textures, scents, looks, gestures and existential attitudes that the participants of the Council left behind while exercising them with their own bodies, who inhabitant the ideas formulated by their actions. And against all interpretations of the Catholic faith, I now see a tremendous immoral tendency the spaces, rooms and forms, all children of Trent, gloriously display. Why immoral if all the Council is for the reinforcement of Catholic ethical dogmas? But is it? What the thought allows to see is a vital expression that disposes itself of any ethical questions because all it strives for is to caress, not unlike the Jesus already transformed into Christ does at the Supper at Emmaus, the architecture of our immortality, the inhabitant of the celestial sphere, of the horizon. Unlike in previous periods, particularly the Romanesque, Baroque is not diagrammatic, nor didactic. Baroque is this high desire, that through the exhausting of art aims to reach a father contested by her newly born brother, the Protestant. Hence, morality is given up in favour of ascension. As a consequence of this thought I plan to mimic this drive and be conducted by he who is my Knight of the Rueful Countenance into the journey whose form was first envisioned and inhabited in these last closing canticles, echoing the whole nave of Santa Maria Maggiore: [KNIGHT intones joining the rest of voices]

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In te, Domine, speravi: / O Lord, in thee have I trusted: non confundar in aeternum. / let me never be confounded. –– TE DEUM / THEE, OH LORD, WE PRAISE

Blind Hope. Then, they parted and their shadow followed; meanwhile I close my eyes into their darkness.

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2.

–– CROSSING –– THE DIE HAS BEEN CAST

–– ‘ ãlea iacta est ’ ––

Steps of a wandering pilgrim are these, the verses my sweet muse dictated to me: in perplexing solitude some lost, yet others enlivened and inspired. –––THE SOLITUDES, LUIS DE GONGORA

– foreword I –

{The following wishes to be read as fragmented, non-cohesive ravings sprouting out of a tongue eroded by a life of fever-dreaming towards the conquering of an impossible vision. Such melancholic vision remains locked far beyond reach, guarded by a bottomless mirror-gate that once gazed at, it finally returns back the gaze, causing a self-questioning force to paralyse a body of, until now, unshakeable faith. Vertigo ! A sort of bucolic sleep awaits.}

Lead me from darkness to light. Shall I look out? Look out and see. But my pupils pine. Yet my hands feel the warmth of the glass. Open the curtains covering the window. Source of all light. A river flowing…

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A figure in a bed waiting for extreme unction {Pax huic dómui}… Am I awake? Now. Serenaded by horns.

a) –RESPICE POST TE! HOMINEM TE ESSE MEMENTO –

The blinding abyss of time softly fades into green pastures sprinkled by the morning dew, the early riser; saliva of mute stars. I recall its smell, freshening the first rays of morning sun finding their way into every of the tiny water drops dressing all life; all that stretches once brightness caresses its shrunken cellular body. I can now feel the tips of my fingers. I let my palm hoover over the grass which soaks in the thick woollen socks protecting the nakedness of my tired feet from the worn leather of my caligae. Voices start building their way up towards me, yet they are suddenly muted by the fecund caudal of a crystalline river. All stops, the grass stays still, unmoved, frozen under the incessant flow of water making its way down to the Atlantic Ocean, end of the world. If you only knew how many lands have been crossed, how many seas have been sailed, how many loves left behind. Mile after mile, mountain after mountain, desert after desert. And now a river whose flow is muting it all, even the necessity to pursue the voyage embarked while still a young man is silenced. The river runs oblivious of memories, refusing to revere in front of men willing to touch the same cyclical eternity those waters were cursed into by Nature on the day of its birth. The riverbank is a fortress protecting me and the fearful voices from the passing

waters.

Relentlessly

eroding

away

the

solidity

of

shores,

transforming the hardest rock into the finest of sands, destined for a dispersive Oceanic errantry. All that was one becomes powder, the unity of time clouds up into the skies; therefore the futile corpse of these

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mesmerized men will be gone without memorial and only embraced by gusts of wind and the fall of autumn leaves. Such a brooding display of natural delicacy sparks in me a fear of mythological dimensions. Where has this primordial vital desire to rise up, look out through my eyes and reach beyond lead me? What price shall I pay for such an honest human sin? Is the pilgrimage, the self imposed exodus, the awakening from the dream, some kind of doomed search into the purest, dangerously fertile, depths of life? The poison of romance: Put this in any liquid thing you will And drink it off; and, if you had the strength Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight. –––ROMEO & JULIET, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

This is river Lethe, innocently flowing by the green pastures of Gallaecia. One of the five rivers born in the underworld, dominion of old Hades. The river of unmindfulness, of oblivion, of forgetfulness. I can now look back at my eyes and recognize my features. A dark haired figure guarded by a tanned leather coat and tightly holding onto the handgrip of his Gladius Hispaniensis. Gaze fixated into the waters of the river, hypnotized by fear. Behind his back a legion of confused soldiers awaits for an order that seems now obliterated by the magnetism these untouched waters exercise over the consciousness of all these men. It is 135 before the birth of Christ, Year of the Consulship of Flaccus and Piso. The dark haired figure, which I departed from, goes by the name of Decimus Junius Brutus, Roman General of this legion of soldiers. Their destination appears to be Finis Terrae, the end of the world, last frontier, final earthly horizon. However, all determination has been put at stake by a

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fear, a superstition that outlives a Roman Empire now under the tight hand of Emperor Antoninus Pius. River Lethe, anyone that bathes into its waters will have his life reset and memory erased. This river of forgetfulness confronts these pilgrims as if a monster displaying all kinds of overpowering violence it was. What would be the voyager without the port he departed from? Without the scents of his fields, the morning kisses of his love, the sounds of his herds during the night… All these memories, diamond bullets, transform into emotions that fuel super human passions allowing the flickering flame of discovery to keep on guiding the footsteps of the pilgrim. Tears unnoticed under rain. Without the image of home there is no destination. Without loss there is no movement forward, there is no sense of direction or ambition. Hence, river Lethe is a threat of colossal dimensions for all these homesick men. Its water carries the sedative poison that would, once again, put to sleep these sleepwalkers yearning for the eye-opening mana of awakening. Such a mana lies ahead, dreaming on top of the line the horizon appears to be.

A rushed flash of brightness and I can look out through my eyes again. Feel the body I fleeted from and looked from the outside. Feet tipping over the edge of the riverbank. The silence is now broken.

Retire now to your tents and to your dreams Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth I want to be ready –––CELEBRATION OF THE LIZARD, JIM MORRISON (THE DOORS)

The monstrous myth is now being battled. My body precipitates into the rushing waters. I shall look back fearing this is the last time I will see it all. My home, my past. Why did I leave? Was it so I could chase where the sun

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dips after a long day arching over the heavens? I had to wake up from it all, the dream of monotony, of time and banality… of mortality. I came searching for the crystalline purity promised by a unidirectional emotion that thirsts, piercing like an arrow through all logic. How ironic if all the journey has ever been is a dry thirst, since now, once my lips kiss the water, I will have plenty to drink. My nakedness is being clothed over by this cold fluid, and my eyes, wide open, struggle to define the obstacles sunk at the bottom of the river. Once I ascend to gasp, time is restored and all previously felt rushes in confirming my victory over Lethe and his threat of oblivion. One look up, I see known faces; one look in, I keep on traveling having the obstacle of doubt weakened my blind faith. And while rejoicing into victory, a shy voice walking below my waist cynically expires the unforgiving words that will follow me until the final awakening into darkness is reached: Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento

/

Look behind

you! Remember you are man.

And I can tell you The names of the Kingdom I can tell you The things that you know Listening for a fistful of silence Climbing valleys into the shade. –––CELEBRATION OF THE LIZARD, JIM MORRISON (THE DOORS)

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*

– foreword II –

{The former image of River Lethe illustrates the encounter with the mirror-gate for the first time. Self-doubt and scepticism put at stake the projective shine of the vision. Here the emotion of inhabiting the limit formalizes itself as an impenetrable river so crystalline that mirrors the ones that look into its waters. The Roman General, which is to be understood as a re-incarnation of the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, dives into it, as if the liquidity of faith and solidity of reason enter into direct confrontation. The clash between them two does not terminate or kill with a definite blow, tragedy delays itself in the form of a viral disease, as a consequence, the journey ends through progressive amnesia. The river planted a seed into the body of the Knight and it will grow inside until it paralyses his faith and galloping madness. Is he awake? Now. Darkness}

*

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b) – NON SVFFICIT ORBIS / THE DEATH BED –

The true life is on high beyond the earthly lie. Until this life does die its full savour is not night. Death from me do not fly! I live meanwhile and sigh dying because I do not die. –––SANTA TERESA DE JESUS

Exhausted, moribund Knight, now only reduced to a fading essence, has listened for a fistful of silence and climbed valleys into a shade casted by the moonlight of early autumn, shining in through the eight openings of a dome topping at 92 metres over Mount Abantos. Looks up into a mass of granite miraculously resting over his head. White light on grey stone, may the heavens be monochrome? Such heart-sinking greyness is suddenly broken by a golden glow emitted by four figures dressed in golden garments. All seem to be grieving over the undressed starving body which appears crucified onto a mahogany cross, labelled under Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeaorum. Darkness is subdued by the lustre radiating from the body on the cross and all resting below his impaled feet. The tragic portrayal of living a life pulling itself towards the abyss of decay, this altar is nothing but the depiction of the so-called mirror-gate locking away eternity from the one that yearns for it in the form of prayer or action. These figures whose faces clearly show an irreconcilable discomfort with the finite space they inhabit, broadcast an emotion shared by he who looks up and wonders while succumbing to the lamenting urge of lying down and taking a rest from it all.

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What it used to be a thick fog blurring any definite solidity and propelling the linearity of the journey forward is now a mirror where the Knight can clearly perceive himself as an aging body soon to be deceased and forgotten. My dear friend, no eternal fame will be begotten, no love conquered, no goal achieved… only the journey is to be rejoiced, a dream of madness diverting from the apathy of a sterile life where days passed by, weightless and poisoned by the passive aggressions of social order. Where has this diversion led the pure-hearted Knight? It has led the voyager into him returning back to the bosom of nature where he was once engendered. Exactly like the ways this overwhelming red and gold altar narrates, through oil paintings framed by sculptural forms, the story of the crucified body’s life: from a loving infant to a pilgrim propelled by an incandescent love and finally the brutality of his death. All scenes governed by a child-like purity that reduces any bitter complexity to the mandate: You shall love. The nausea of pondering into the depths of life is redeemed through the artistic impulse of loving. This altar, which is nothing but the final mirror, expects the Knight to gaze into his own gaze and as a result return to his fetal state, to the maternal matrix. Climb up twelve marble steps and look to the right. A room, a bed. At the end of the room there is a window facing out into the sky. The night is soon to give way to the sun of the morning and with him the sounds of Nature’s awakening. Dozens of candles illuminate the corridor into this bedroom, directly linked to the previously described altar. Tenebrous tunnel, where at the end of it a luscious bed covered by gold and red velvet sheets, appears backlighted by the blue light preceding the sunrise. Tired, the Knight lies on the four-poster bed. To his left the golden glow of the altar breaks through the corridor and to his right the first signs of the sunrise show themselves accompanied by shy chirpings. Broken in two he looks up into the wavering sea of loomed red and gold threads comprising the tester, which sags low

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supported by the four wooden posts at the sides of the small bed. The part of the tester facing to the bed is a tapestry depicting a grotesque of Daphne turned into a tree, inside a ferronnerie (artists’ forge); on each side of this there is a depiction of the god Hermes holding snakes in his hands. The decoration is rounded off with isolated vases of flowers and fruits dispersed around the background. In the central part there is a large vase of flowers, beneath a canopy; in its three corners a naked man and woman, sitting on banners, hold ropes from which birds hang. In the lower part, two centaurs are depicted, symbolizing carnal desire. Opposite this, he sees a vase of flowers in the center with a naked child perched on top and in the lower corners, a young man and old man, highlighting the ages of life the bedridden Knight has journeyed through. May this be the prelude to the bucolic dream the Knight will soon fall into? An opulent floral dance where the shipwrecked pilgrim suddenly opened his eyes into: On the inconstant seacoast –a rough-hewn frame to so large a mirror– dawn discovered our pilgrim

–––THE SOLITUDES, LUIS DE GONGORA

Through each blink the Knight ages, weakening his body and feeding on himself. A cadaverous figure suffering the incessant deforming attacks of death reaches up and lays with his bony hand onto mine, hitherto thought as inexistent. I, his sidekick, squire, the storyteller of his undying fame stretching across time and space, splashing through centuries, landscapes, personages, moments, gestures, looks and emotions; am the witness of his last conscious wish, a tale.

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A story of sorrowful confessions at a place named Gethsemane, which is a rocky garden at the top of Mount Olives in Jerusalem. A troubled soul grieved by an overwhelming sense of guilt is determined to battle and overcome temptation. This temptation is nothing but to calm his thirst with a cup of water, however the premonition of a back-stabbing death haunting this gracefully wrecked figure is trying to create in him an auto-destructive desire negating all future and subduing all signs of hope and ultimately, love. The calming of the thirst would numb the excruciating pain of the envisioned betrayal. And yet, he does want to feel such inhuman pain deep down in the depths of his heart, soon to sink and paralyse. He, accompanied by whom he calls Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, kneels down on a rock and looks up into the cloudless sky. The look stoically confronts his fate, which is a violent death facilitated by a friend. Hours pass and once battled his scepticism towards an unalterable destiny he comes down. After such terrible angst, calm, acceptance and readiness transform into a clear beam of light that perforates his body, dispossessing all in him of any dark shades. And to the three men that accompanied him, now sleeping, he awoke by announcing his descend: Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!

–––MATTHEW 26:36-46

… and he left his cave, glowing and strong as a morning sun that comes out of dark mountains.

–––FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA

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Indeed the morning sun is now shyly shining over the red brick floor of the waiting room next to the bedroom. Death approaches the bedridden Knight as fast and unforgiving as the sunrise gives way to the awakening of all forms of life, pulling off the blanket of their sleep. However, there is still time for a last battle to be fought, a last look to be taken into the journey overshadowing the Knight’s shattered spirit, violently struggling inside a body that can no longer provide shelter. And after the last of sleeps he would wake up from, with a burning fit, he rises his head from the sweat soaked pillow propelled by a cry searching to transgress into the ‘unknown’ he feels his self drifting into: Blessed be Almighty God who has done such great good for me! His mercies have no limit, and the sins of men do not curtail or hinder them. –––MIGUEL DE CERVANTES, DON QUIJOTE

While such words are making their way out of the dance of his tongue, the clock points 5 a.m and the preludial Aurora opens up for the morning Sun, steadily rising over Sierra de Guadarrama. The first rays of light now stretch to touch his pale face and eyes, completely unaware of such a tremendous brightness, revealing the total hollowness of his stare. What is he looking at and where is he looking from? He is now balancing between the world from where he was and the tempting abyss promising cosmic dispersion he seems to be going towards. What a vertiginous cry! A cry of passage. This last scene is being perceived by I, his confessor, as a painful ascension where its illuminating beauty is beheld within the tortuous appearance of the Knight. His passing body is the live witness of the liminal horizon he has so eagerly sought for while still able to ride on. The pilgrim has become in itself the destination, the last celestial room his fight against the impossible kept locked far away from his incessant conquering attacks. Such a tragedy,

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but a beautiful tragedy, where the dreamt awakening has gained a life of its own and turned into decaying flesh, brittle bone and steaming pus; the invisible presence, immovable destination, has now haunted the ecstatic body and mind of the pilgrim. He is possessed by vertigo, which is nothing but the emotion of transgression, in this case, between living and leaving. He is becoming the thing in itself. The city of gold, the continent, the hidden route to the Indies, the unknown planet, Dulcinea del Toboso… he is now becoming the architecture of such vision.

You are becoming. What is it you think you are becoming? The answer is in the way you use the mirrors. What are the mirrors making you dream of becoming? –––MANHUNTER, MICHAEL MANN

And I am standing by the side of this wicked witness of his own dreamcreature, observing it all and unable to enter into it. However, as some say, the eyes are the mirror of the soul, inside all interiority is reflected and it is there where I can appreciate the horrific splendour of this architecture. At last, and with a grace worth of a large ship slowly precipitating into the depths of the darkest of oceans, he lets go and sinks – it is 18th of September 1598 – bells will toll for three days.

All fades into a bright darkness, a day is born while a pilgrim shipwrecks into a garden-room inhabited by eight praying angels, a vessel and palm trees, ceiling topping at 120 cubits (64.776 m).

In my mourning I build this garden-room where he will now dream into. All fiction for the sake of grieving hope. A sepulchre, a bridge.

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A hand rising into a skylight.

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c) – THE GARDEN OF TWENTY-FOUR CAMELLIAS–

From the position I stand now, there is nothing I can proof or measure, which relates back to where the Knight has shipwrecked. Henceforth this is all unreal, however it is relentlessly playing out inside of me every time his spirit of mad conquest and wander awakens and waters my eyes. Such a garden-room, pastoral, bucolic eternity, is presented to me, the chronicler, in the upsetting form of a thick fog trapping all solidity into a white blanket that spreads from the oceans and rivers to the forests and the mountains. Fog, I use it as the image of the formless and mysterious ever-expanding substance that comes and goes transforming the scenery to the will of its expansion.

This is the way the Sepulchre of the Knight of the Rueful

Countenance exists. Touching all, yet impossible to grasp or mix into the realm of physicality where man exercises his power. The Knight is finally transformed into what he lived to be, an idea that balances between feeling and action. A vertiginous sensation that injects itself into the will of the one that dreams for his awakening, an element of faith whose thirst transcends the possible and breaks into the superhuman, or the mad. The feat! Where reality is overcome for the sake of image. The Knight’s legacy is the will to exercise the true metaphysical activity of man, which is the pursue of life’s art = the voyage.

Let’s put back the spotlight of this last act on the shipwrecked new-born. While walking through the bridge his own crossing figure embodies, an indescribable set of movements erupt. Out of the simplicity of the most docile garden where he, the crossing wanderer, looks, walks, climbs, lies, sleeps, dreams… steaming geysers break out of the humid moss revealing impossible figures accompanied by the most terribly joyous of symphonies. All are triggered once he becomes, once he exists within the odd bucolic

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lands of his crossing. Rather than describing, let’s look at his actions and the vital memories they elicit:

1While

he looks back, doors open and all left behind is muted under

harmonies emanating out of eight resonating horns.

2While

he walks on, wheat farmers burn their fields plagued by millions of

cecidomyiidae.

3While

he climbs up, salix babylonica stop their weep and start their

deciduous autumn dance.

4While

he reclines down, ants carry their deceased comrades into a

holocaustic pile of corpses.

5While

he lies in, grains of white sand get stuck into his populous hair.

6While

he listens from, grandmother cries in her sleep over her deceased

three year-old son, Albert.

7While

he picks up, tailless lizards crawl under the bust of Apollo.

8While

he swims to, the waveless sea turns into a salt plateau whose smell is

unbearable.

9While

Â

he sleeps back, acid gnaw and leeches suck at the tuna fish.

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10While

he dreams on, God softly walks over the fields with Maria.

11While

he wonders into, all eight Angels tune into Miles Davis’ Prayer (Oh

Doctor Jesus) while his two-bedroom flat leaks gas.

12While

13While

he feels at, leucocytes march down intoning thunderous songs.

he hits in, smoke machine smell and green lasers criss-cross his

love-struck face under the loud techno-pop of Kate Ryan’s Generation Desenchatee.

14While

he hurts back, the Devil crawls into his stomach and the night

becomes a tunnel.

15While

he cries from, vomits and all city lights drag along in slow motion.

16While

he laughs on, thinks all will be lost tomorrow and writes a poem

with blue marker on the wall.

17While

he dances up, the moon calls and the stars haul.

18While

he kills in, the dormouse bleeds out after lapidation.

19While

he picks down, carnival disguises palm trees as pineapples.

20While

he stops from, the car spins four times under an icy road on the way

to the birthday.

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21While

he sees above, mockery hails in the shape of Staedtler Mars plastic

eraser chubs.

22While

he chants to, seagulls hoover over cornfields in search of their

stolen eggs.

23While

he prays in, the choirgirl’s blue eyes stare at him while he is serving

the wine.

24While

he looks forward, twenty-four camellias pave the way into the towers

that today are hidden by the trees, but yesterday the stars, nocturnal lights, shone in their battlements, when one you see here in wool wore speckles metal. They have fallen now, and their naked stones are dressed in merciful ivy: for ruins and devastation time knows how to flatter and grace with green.

*

Â

95 Â


d) – A BRIDGE IN BLOOM–

I conclude with twenty-five images per second. A five minute film that aims to be taken as a concluding voice. I have searched without pause the singularities of a particular space. Such a space is to be understood as the architecture our life inhabits. A life of wander, questioning, emotion, failure, faith and action. Striving to wake up from a life veiled by the viscosity of pessimism, which leads to auto-destructive actions with the after-taste of tormenting guilt.

This work questions the most fundamental and primordial notion of space, which is the vital space. The idea of space and architecture arise together out of the necessity of God, hence of transcendence and burring the dead. Finally, the truth one seeks so his thirst may be calmed, finds itself resting above the limits of the world. That is why Homer made Ulysses leave to then return and embrace Telemachus, Cervantes casted madness onto Don Quixote and then clear-mindness on his deathbed and Goethe woke Faust up to Ariel’s redeeming forgiveness. All fought the same crusade, longed the same truths and ended up the same way; dark eyes of a child, such is the depthless abyss all resolves into.

The following film is my temporary

resolution. The fever of the Amazon and the striving forms of the Baroque evolved into a search for an expression I condense within this five minute conclusion.

96


FILM

[ I ] – Crossing; I return to the port I departed from. I am awake. This may be but a wish, a hope, a vision confessed during a sleepless night. A calm last breathe. I

fought

from

my

awakening

from

the

dream

of

life,

which

mirroring

walls

viciously negated me of any throbbing sensation. Numbing all incandescent eternities. Heavy, sluggish. I wanted to see, dear friend I

wanted

to

let

my

hand

slide

down

the

delimiting the longed horizon. There, the final room I was promised the day I dreamt it wideawake. And now, while tightly holding your hand, I fervently let my sunken eyes look beyond the swaying fields, the depthless oceans and the barred windows. Look into my lost innocence,... my point of departure. The

first

time

I

gazed

out

through

the

dark

eyes

childhood; untouched by disappointment and disbelief... ... all true and real.

97

of

my


Here I was wide-awake. Here I find my horizon. At last... I am. Unburdened by the torments of time. Crystalline flow I, a bridge, in bloom. "Longing is the agony of the nearness of the distant." VERTIGO

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98 Â


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Knights of the Rueful Countenance - Vertigo  

Here, a creature is created so we look into a desire and struggle that make human beings what we are. Projecting our gaze beyond, then parti...