Sunday, June 8, 2014
June 8, 2014
June 8, 2014
In the 1970s, I lived in the Fallingwater residence that was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The one thing that was impressive was that one could not avoid the great man’s personality while living there. It was a structure that was the property of nature, but only symbolically so. The thing with nature, and why I do not love the natural world, is that it always wins in the end, especially when the human element tries to control it. The only music that I find that fits the personality of the structure is music by Edmundo Rivero, whose tango ballads fits the temperament of the place. After awhile the beauty of the location and the building, itself got to me. It made me feel depressed and anxious at the same time. A bad cocktail for me.
Wright I imagine, thought he was contributing to nature, but wasn’t he trying to control or stamp his individuality over the environment? I can understand the urges of the Kaufman family in owning the property and having a structure over a waterfall, or to be honest, on top of the waterfall. Even that strikes me as offensive, to be on top of a magnificent imagery of wildness and power. The flow of water is so powerful, yet to have a structure over it, says one, that yes we have control over nature. On top of that, living here I not only have to be under the influence of Wright, but also the Kaufman family who has their own concerns regarding the room size of their three bedrooms as well as kitchen space. And what does one do with human waste that goes through this structure to somewhere else in the natural world.
The only book I brought with me on this stay was a copy of George Orwell’s “1984,” because I haven’t read it yet, and I feel that since I was going to be stuck in this part of the world and this specific structure, I needed a book that somewhat expresses the way the world was heading towards. As a writer I’m obsessed with how language is utilized in the mainstream media, and both the Orwell book and Marshall McLuhan’s “Understanding Media” expresses the anxiety of how language becomes a tool of sorts. As I sat on a chair designed by Wright, looking outside a window designed by Wright, I sometimes wonder if Wright himself didn’t design the landscape outside the window as well.
In the late 1990s I read about Christopher McCandless, and I was impressed that he sort of took nature as not as a partner, but that it was a world that could not be reproduced in a human sensibility. The fact that he went into the wilderness without a map, appears to me to be the only way to wander into another world. Compared to Wright’s attention and relationship to nature, I can clearly understand McCarndless’ desire to be part of, and eventually be blotted out by the natural world. Also the fact that he stripped all his belongs and even identity (took the name Alexander Supertramp), to be in a sense a forgotten man, but not even forgotten, a presence that wasn’t there. Or perhaps he wanted to be part of nature, similar to Wright, but refused to be equal to the magnificent yet horrifying world of nature.