sources+bibliography

Many of the primary sources for this seminar/studio are in the public domain and are available on-line. Check the list. This is a list of links, lists, sources, and guides to further study of the uncanny in the landscape. For an older but more detailed list of general sources related to boundary language in general, see the main site's list of sources.

primary readings

These are highly recommended for anyone in the studio or seminar as good background scholarship on the subject of the uncanny and related topics.

Robert Harbison, Eccentric Spaces (Cambridge: MIT, 2000). This collection of witty essays shows how the concept of place is, already, an architecture worth studying. 'Eccentric' here means 'interesting' and 'worth our time', but the common rule of marginality/liminality prevails. Harbison was the first to draw the attention of the general public to the now infamous book, The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, the 16c. romance by Francesco Colonna, also credited with being the first comic book, although its subject is more tragic than comic.

Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny (Cambridge: MIT, 1992). Vidler's classic study of the uncanny links it with modernism, avoiding the issue of the historical uncanny and the uncanny's role in setting up (and collapsing) the classic dichotomies that supported Enlightenment thought: inside/outside, subject/object, etc. Nonetheless, the study is a tour-de-force with good introductions to the uncanny in such prominent post-Modern architectural figures as Eisenman and Koolhaas.

Mladen Dolar, A Voice and Nothing More (Cambridge: MIT, 2006). This sly work brings together more uncanny themes than you can shake a pointed stick at (before you pound it into the vampire's chest). The voice lies both inside and outside language, providing us with a permanently unsettling alient element to undermine our notions of at-home humanity.

so, you wanna be a scholar?

Here are some (usually out-of-print) classics that are good for spicing up conversations at critiques, writing intriguing program briefs, and in general knowing about in order to hold your own at the average graduate seminar or post-graduate coctail party.

Richard Broxton Onians, The Origins of European Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1951). Onians (oh-NYE-ans) can't be beat for putting us back, etymologically, into the minds of ancient Greeks and others, whose concepts of being, time, space, and the body were quite something else. What did Homer think about love? Depends on where he thought it 'happened'.

Slavoj Zizek, The Parallax View (Cambridge: MIT, 2006). This is a summation of much of Zizek's previous work on culture, perception, psychoanalysis, popular culture (esp. film) and politics, slow-cooked in a Lacanian broth of the Other, the object-cause of desire, the subject, and master signifiers galore. Takes a while to get up with the lingo, so try a few smaller texts before tackling this one.

Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry, An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (Cambridge,MA: MIT Press, 1997). A digestible review of the role of anamorphosis in thought, literature, art, and sexual fantasy (I'm adding this to get you to check it out). ANYTHING BY THIS AUTHOR IS ENTERTAINING, EDUCATIONAL, AND RELEVANT TO OUR PROJECTS.

Fritz Saxl, Ernst Panofsky, Raymond Klibansky, Saturn and Melancholy (New York: Basic Books, 1964). This secret treasure is a trove of lore about not just the classic 'humors' of ancient thought (air, earth, fire, water and their correlates) but is a symphony of German scholarship, smuggled out of Hamburg just as the Nazis were about to seize the Warburg Library. Ernst Gombrich took over the collection and nearly squashed the work of these Warburg stars, giving Frances Yates, who had never heard of it before, the job of writing a book on artificial memory, a job belonging properly to Fritz Saxl, whose untimely death intervened.

Norman O. Brown, Hermes the Thief, the Evolution of a Myth (Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Press, 1990). I could easily and safely bet $1,000,000 you won't read this. But, your loss. It's a fascinating essay on how the ancient mind used metaphor to connect both traditions and real ideas, and how, if you're limiting your classical pantheon to one god, Hermes is the one to have.

Donald Phillip Verene, Vico's Science of Imagination (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981). This will whet your appetite for the real thing, Giambattisa Vico's mysterious masterpiece, The New Science (1744). Bet you won't read that one, either.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, "The Primacy of Perception and Its Philosophical Consequences," trans. James M. Edie, in The Primacy of Perception (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University, 1964). The best advice is to head into Merleau-Ponty's main work, The Phenomenology of Perception, but in case this is not going to happen, this shorter essay will give you a flavor of how phenomenology continually plays materiality off against idealism and abstraction.

© 2012, Donald Kunze, all rights reserved