By Bart Verschaffel
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Extra resources for Architecture Is (as) a Gesture
It is almost impossible not to speak of statues in this way—even though to do so is to animate the inanimate. But such language is, as Aristotle shows, ﬁgural. Statues do not supplicate, they don’t do much of anything, and to say that they do is a sort of metaphor. Aristotle’s point, however, is that the metaphor works automatically, just as the verb “to become” appears in the phrase apsukhon dē empsukhon, “inanimate animate,” whether we want it there or not. ” They do so, moreover, in passages that concern the manifestation of the divine, the relation of life to death, and the operations of gravestones and statues.
And what of concepts, as in “the concept of the image”? This question is forensic. Just as “the representation of ‘what is seen’ ” is the criterion of the experience, so the experience should be the criterion of the concept (of a ﬁgural representation). It gains us nothing to say that the Greeks treated certain objects as ﬁgural representations, experienced those objects as ﬁgural representations, yet did not possess the concept of a ﬁgural representation, but only the concept of a sign. For in that case the concept of a ﬁgural representation would be, literally, useless; there would be no use, no behavior, to which possession or lack thereof might correspond.
The letterforms of the inscription do seem contemporary, stylistically, to the Anavysos kouros, and the block’s dimensions are appropriate to that statue’s size. To make matters worse, it is even possible that the base did not support a kouros at all. Absent the top step, we cannot be sure what stood on it. Although the combination of illicit and scientiﬁc excavation has left a confusing picture, a few points are reasonably secure. First, the relative isolation of these 25 wonders taken for signs 8 * Opposite left, kouros, probably from Phoinikia in Attica (the “Anavysos” kouros).
Architecture Is (as) a Gesture by Bart Verschaffel