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Towards a (non-)theory of the architectural palimpsests [ITU J Faculty Arch]
ITU J Faculty Arch. 2018; 15(2): 5-18 | DOI: 10.5505/itujfa.2018.69077  

Towards a (non-)theory of the architectural palimpsests

Levent Şentürk
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Eskişehir, Turkey

Palimpsest is extensively explored metaphorically but not eroded much theoretically. Gérard Genette, in his outstanding Palimpsests (1982) has unintentionally broadened the architectural vocab. What kind of a diagram could be drawn if the revolutionary communications technologies would be expressed vertically? I tried to work out another playful scheme of history as a stratified model, beginning from Non-Interactive Hierarchical Layering Model to Non-Layering/Hypertrophic Now. Huyssen’s Present Pasts examines palimpsestousness; in Pseudo-Science of Layers I followed that path in a ludic way. Coming back to Genette, hypertext implies the original text. However, each hypogram is in fact a hypergraph, a re-write. In architecture, then, every “real name” is nothing but a pseudonym. (Mimotect instead of Architect.) The word pastiche finds a position with respect to its parallels with modernity. Then follows a palimpsestous literary project; the Lost in Translation experiment: A story is put in a perpetual translation process; all steps become more and more apocryphal. What is lost in translation is found in the parody. Then I foresaw the collapse of my Pseudo-Theory of Palimpsests in various steps, beginning from Techno-palimpsests to Anti-palimpsests. Calvino’s If on A Winter Night a Traveler is a palimpsestous hypertext, a novel that includes only beginnings. I just mentioned some characters like the Native American, The type called Irnerio and finally the most provoking Ermes Manara. I did not refer to concrete examples of Istanbul (or Berlin or another metropolis), I wanted to expand textual tracks, thus indicating other creative channels in architecture.

Keywords: Gérard genette, Architectural palimpsest, Palimpsestous, Pastiche, Oulipo.


Levent Şentürk. Towards a (non-)theory of the architectural palimpsests. ITU J Faculty Arch. 2018; 15(2): 5-18

Corresponding Author: Levent Şentürk, Türkiye


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