Desolate Testaments




Luis Arjona


Fictitious Space

STUDIO

Keith Mitnick

ADVISOR

When looking into ritual, the word sublime is a factor in the experience. Through fear and admiration, the senses are overwhelmed. Stated by Anthony Ashley-Cooper and John Dennis, the evolution of sublime started as the expression of appreciation maintained by fear of irregular forms and external forces/nature. This then transitions to Immanuel Kant’s observation of the sublime. He holds three positions: the noble, the splendid, and the terrifying.

Focusing on the splendid, the narrative follows and depicts the lives of two individuals. Thomas and Delphine. Thomas is the grandfather of Delphine living in Cold War-era East Berlin. The Berlin Wall has not fallen, and the government has a stronghold on East German action, ideology, and being. Thomas and Delphine are in charge of cleaning and prepping the space for daily services. Throughout the narrative, we get tidbits of the space through their points of view. Thomas is the architect, but the space manifested with the help of his wife and Delphine’s parents when the state ordered him to develop this new edifice. Thomas sees the space as the memory of his family before death, freedom, and unfortunate circumstances separated them. Caring for the church allows him to interact with the aura of each of his loved ones. Delphine is then interacting with her parents and grandmother throughout the narrative and their inputs in the design through Thomas’ work. The space is then more than a space of ritual conversion to neutrality and meaninglessness but is the embodiment of their family.

The goal is to create spaces that pair with the narrative to create an aura that identifies past built structures. Referencing Immanuel Kant’s notion of the sublime, the sublime is formless and the representation of the concept is boundless. The spaces may be beautiful which can be viewed as a result of beauty, but the intrinsic value of aura is supplemented through tending to the church from a physical structure to the essence of the family.