Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Jason M.O'Shaughnessy
Andrew Carnegie PhD Symposium (with Beatriz Colomina SoA Princeton University)
Irredento Landscapes: Hejduk and Beckett's Purgatoria
Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
Peer Reviewed Abstract
Optional Fields
Architecture at its best has always been a practice of dissatisfaction with the way things are. Architecture has always made blueprints for something else. Hejduk’s refusal to settle (to posit a position, to colonise a place, to arrive at an answer, to quiet our nerves) is perhaps a plea for more time to practice. K. Michael Hays, 1996. The vision of resistance associated with what ‘more time’ has to offer, suggests that there is another time out there, perhaps some later form being shadow-like, or an after-life of the work itself. But the phrase also hints at anxieties associated with the problematic of production in a condition of ‘lateness’ – as it nears an end, of what comes after, of being delayed, and perhaps of unyielding to the idea of moving through time. This paper aims to explicate this time-field, articulating how certain works become constituted, particularly those produced late and in the last period of life. In doing so, it considers an inter-textual field of elements of two ‘late-masters’ of the twentieth century, John Hejduk and Samuel Beckett, and suggests that we might need to begin again (or after) in order to open-up the prospect of something other than progressive time – perhaps its ‘double’ – in their works. It argues that late works have particular attributes in their construction that are in many ways analogous to last words, those utterances that are simultaneously the culmination of a life and are somehow intended to reconcile it, but with the prospect of ‘carrying on’ and illuminating other future lives. In doing so, it considers these works within a theorisation of ‘late style’ as formulated by Theodor Adorno, Edward Said, and others, and – in turn – within a wider cultural history of purgatorial suspension.
Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh