Browse Exhibits (1 total)
Revived Ruins, Ideological Affiliations, and Overlapping Culture: Postcards Commemorating Ancient Greek Architecture and the American Adoption of the Same
Travelers love ruins. Ruins, though broken, weathered, and worn by time, are symbols of cultural power that commemorate the past that has become a pivotal part of our modern cultural foundation.
The West is a cultural bricolage of ancient conventions, an assemblage of the reformed habits, beliefs, and features of societies and civilizations that once existed. In the United States, for instance, we have assimilated features of Ancient Greek philosophy and political thought into our political and cultural environment (namely their innovation of democracy), we appreciate Ancient Rome for its staggering example of effective empire-building strategy, and in our modern cultural and artistic tastes we can easily spot traces and holdovers from the ecclesial art of the middle ages.
Americans have adopted many Greek architectural features specifically into buildings with important intellectual, cultural, and governmental affiliations. Is this an associative trend which speaks volumes about American appreciation and respect for these bygone periods? What kind of philosophical and epistemolgical associations with these cultures is American architecture trying to assert?
The following postcards: (1.) commemorate a significant location, (2.) help the card-consumer(s) create travel memories, and (3.) help the card-receivers imagine the travel experiences their contact(s) have had. The location, rendered and recorded visually on the card, marries itself to the travel experience of the card-buyer upon its purchase, and even more so should the buyer choose to use the card and add their own text, their own invention, to the extant knowledge material of the card. And the recipient uses the information s/he finds on the card to construct a moment in their minds, the moment that the card-sender experienced.
We may not initially notice classical or neo-classical architecture when we visit these significant places (and document our travels to these places, via postcard), but as westerners, and especially as Americans, we can't help but understand, at least unconsciously, the symbolic significance of the classical and neo-classical styles.