Monday, October 12, 2009

Mrs D #2


Pick one aspect of your trip (or Parisian life) that can be related to our study of Modernism or to Mrs. Dalloway. It could be anything from a painting to a piece of architecture to the buses passing Regent’s Park or Volkspark Freidrichshain or Canal St Martin. Write a paragraph (5+ sentences) explaining how the object/experience is modernish and how it relates to our studies.


  1. The experience i would choose is the play we went to see the second night in London: End Game by Samuel Beckett. Although i did not really like this play, it was still really representative of modernism, as it was a bunch of ideas put together, as Mrs. Higgins said "this play is just so random". Indeed, it goes even further than just a stream of consciousness, its total abstractism, no acts, no change of scenery, not that much of a story or action, just a continuous plot. It is quite irrealistic in the sense that Hamm, the protagonist, and his servant (or friend?) Clov live in a practically empty house, we are not to sure where as it seems nothing is really around, and Hamm's parents reside in two separate trash cans in which they sleep most of the time. We feel like we entered their bizarre routine, one with which we arent able to comprehend. Random is the most appropriet word, contrasting with the plays of the past, following a strict plot line and numerous actions, here there was no true start and end, just unlinked thoughts.

  2. The Holocaust tower.

    Describing this place is like describing a feeling. A horrible mix of oppression, despair, powerlessness, impotence, hopelessness... But nothing can actually describe the feeling of absolute despondency generated by this room. Entering this piece of architecture is like walking into hell: a very dark room, with sharp angles, neither heated nor insulated, with a 24 meters high tower that makes the world unreachable. And a slit, an unattainable ray of light high above the ground that both makes you hope for a better future and feel even more imprisoned.
    It is the first time that a piece of architecture made me suffer, wonder and feel something. It is the first time I ever felt that close to the Jewish people who were restrained in concentration camps.
    I think this experience was modernist because a room, a simple assembling of walls managed to make me feel a reality that occurred years ago. The architects were able to traduce this sad reality through art and developing empathy into peoples minds.

  3. Something that I immediately noticed in Berlin was the architecture which I found surprisingly modern yet so ancient and heavy with history. Interestingly, it wasn't the Berlin Spree River Building which, to me, recalled modernism the most, but it was another lower, grey nearly paper-painted on the outside that mostly caught my attention. It wasn't so much the aspect of the building in itself, but the fact that a massive clock was nailed onto the facade of it, to be viewed by all passer-byes, be they on foot or by boat (the river runs right next tot it). It hit me I guess because of the repetitive mentioning of Big Ben in Mrs. Dalloway and the constant reference to the passing of time.. and the link was inevitably to be made..but I found it compelling and interesting to find the same focus on time-keeping in both cities. It made me think about the will of modernists to grab the instants and give as genuine a representation of them as possible, and even though it was such a minor detail, I remember noticing it every single time we stopped near by, and thinking "WHERE could Clarissa possibly have gotten her inspiration from by watching such a banal clock?!"