Luke Niebler

Rain Reification.

Luke Niebler

Q: Emily, how do I keep the rain from coming into my front porch?

Yours,

Drippy McGee

 

A: You seem to have a frightfully bourgeois understanding of architecture. You have constructed your “front porch” as a part of your living space, thus dividing it from both Habermas’ civilized “public sphere” as well as the savage unconscious of the natural world. It is a refuge from natural phenomena, and as such you do not want rain to come onto it. You seek to humanize/technologize the space you “own” in order to transcend beyond the limitations you face as an animal at the mercy of catastrophe. Even this liminal space must be meticulously controlled by human desire, much like the gardens at Versailles; you seek to attain divinity by colonizing nature.

 

At the root of our human need to create spaces that are free from nature is our fear of death itself. Rain represents the inexorable cycle of birth and death; it calls to mind the natural world that will continue after you have been buried in the Earth. You have warped the traditional association of rain with fertility into a continual reminder to decay and degradation. It is the cancerous mortality that lies latent in your vigorous body. Thus, any attempts to fend of the rain—and death—will be futile and fruitless.

 

I advise that you build a house without walls, so that you are continually reminded that you are a part of nature and will some day die. Perhaps you can base its floor plan on Peter Olshavsky’s House for the Dance of Death, which plans a living space explicitly embracing death.