HOMAGE TO LEONARD COHEN
Last year an important "voice" in today's culture died. We placed the word "voice" in between quotation marks because even if Leonard Cohen was a musician and a singer, he was much more than a "voice." In other words, his beautiful "voice" spoke and sang even for the deaf.
He was a poet, at heart, and not only because he wrote poetry, per se. Any great creator, in ANY field (perhaps even in science) is, at bottom, a poet. As probably God was too. That is, creation itself is POETRY. Sometimes cruel, sometimes lovely, but POETRY. And so is life itself.
We invite you now, as it is our habit, to pay homage to this important "voice" in our culture, through architecture, that is, through A HOUSE FOR LEONARD COHEN.
This is how we want to pay homage to him and this will be our tribute to him. But this is also one way through which we want to perpetuate his legacy, that is, to externalize, as much as possible, that "Leonard Cohen" within ourselves.
We ask you nothing less, and nothing more than this, to do.
Please read below five invitational texts towards the very same challenge:
A HOUSE FOR LEONARD COHEN.
A HOUSE FOR A SLAVE
What is a slave…?
The Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran said that in the remote past people were the slaves of the gods, but they were highly creative, while today we are free, but sterile…
Perhaps he was referring to that umbilical chord that initially united art and worship.
But what about love…?
To love and to worship is not incongruent.
Dostoevsky said that when we love we see the loved one as God intended her / him.
Indeed… God is present… and many believe in the equation:
God = Love
Love = God.
But where does the enslavement show up…? If love is blind, then perhaps the chains of love are those chains of the blindness of love.
But this “blindness” is beautiful… what would life be without…?
Plato felt there are four types of madness: to be a prophet, to be a poet, to be in love and to be “mad” clinically… How related they are, indeed…
But wouldn’t we envy those afflicted by at least the first three types of madness…?
Leonard Cohen sang beautifully about the chains of love and the “place” where one meets the object of desire, the enslaver.
Enslaved and enslaver dance together a beautiful and painful dance, together.
We all know this dance, which at times could be deadly.
But again, what would life be without it…?
We invite you to explore the theme of love, enslavement, suffering, through architecture, just as Leonard Cohen did it through poetry and music.
Is it possible…?
We feel it is.
Enough energy is spent for an architecture that doesn’t tell any story, and even more on an architecture that does not sing, that is, an architecture whose author is not Eupalinos.
Design a house that sings, just as Leonard Cohen sang.
Move us, dear architect, through your passion and your tears.
And show, once again, that music and architecture belong together, as many thinkers felt and thought.
Please send us your work by March 1st.
A HOUSE FOR LEONARD COHEN - 2
That is, for a musician / artist who wrote Flowers for Hitler, which was described as “The first of Cohen's self-consciously "anti-art" gestures: an attempt, in his own words, to move "from the world of the golden-boy poet into the dung pile of the front-line writer." Haunted by the image of the Nazi concentration camps, the book is deliberately ugly, tasteless, and confrontational, setting out to destroy the image of Cohen as a sweet romantic poet.”
We read these words, on YouTube:
“An era has ended with Cohen's passing. I think we're in for a dark time.”
It is really up to us.
What if we imagine we are in 2068…?
Yes, let’s imagine we are again where we were in 1968.
When there was an explosion of energies, wanting CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE, when war was protested, when complacency was protested, when the bourgeois was questioned, when the streets of Paris and New York were filled with DESIRE, when a new consciousness was in the making.
Let’s do it again, instead of choosing Casino Moguls as our leaders.
Yes, let’s tear down casinos and let’s bring their moguls to the square, to receive our questions.
Let’s bring back all the Native American Indians from their getting drunk, of despair, in their destitute casinos, to question… to question THE BUILDER OF CASINOS.
And let’s bring back the SINGER, to protest the Builder of Casinos and what he stands for.
No, it cannot be an accident that almost at the same time The Builder of Casinos was elected “by the people” to be the future "King," the Poet of Words and Sound died.
It cannot be just an “accident.”
Even in death, the poet protested.
He chose to die, in order to protest.
Imagine A HOUSE FOR LEONARD COHEN.
A HOUSE FOR “THE OTHER” WHO SANG ABOUT JOAN OF ARC, THAT VERY JOAN OF ARC WE SHOULD ALL REMEMBER (By the way, did you see the movie “Joan of Arc” by Carl Dreyer…? No Hollywood movie ever was, or will be, as good. EVER!)
Paraphrasing the poet and the singer, we could say:
DEATH IS COMING TO AMERICA.
Let’s fight it.
Just as the poet and the singer fought.
Let’s offer poisonous flowers to Hitler and the Casinos Builders alike.
Let’s confront them.
Let’s follow the Poet and the Singer.
And let’s imagine A HOUSE FOR HIM.
Now that he died, perhaps in order to protest…
A HOUSE FOR “JIKAN”
What is “success…?!”
Is it what the “media” is trumpeting…?!
Judging from the decisions Leonard Cohen took later in his life, no.
In his early sixties Cohen “gave up the world” in order to enter into a Zen monastery for six long years. Or were they short…?
In a series of interviews we find a man at peace with himself and the world, gaining access to the world, by “renouncing” it.
A man in search of himself, in search of AWARENESS.
Maybe this is “success” in life… becoming aware.
Aware of what?... you might ask. Certainly not that what counts in life is money, properties, “portfolios “ of real estate possessions, the plethora of shallow attractions trumpeted by a Capitalism unable and unwilling to understand that the true value of life resides somewhere else.
It seems the true value of life resides, as all the wisdoms of the world perfectly know, in understanding the oneness of life, the unity of us all, a unity that does not erase our specificities, but enhances them by the very act of bridging with the others. Not an easy task, but wholly worth it.
The singer Leonard Cohen became the Zen monk Jikan, which means, in translation, “silence.”
He chose this change for six long years.
Because he wanted to question himself, with courage.
A courage we all should have!
A House for Jikan, his Dharma name, would certainly be a small, modest house. It would not be the flashy house of “the American dream,” and it would not encourage flamboyant aspirations.
It would certainly not be the deceiving “Wonderlands” of this world, which criminally would push their enslaved “owners” unto suicide. In other words, it would not be the rich house of “kings” of Pop and Rock who died similarly, in a pool of their own vomit, in their own bathrooms… as similarly did the “queen of silver screen sensuality.”
The wisdom of Zen would preclude such despair, carried on the wings of the much trumpeted affluence, that very affluence that is equally trumpeted by a fake “guru” like Deepak Chopra, who, in the name of "spirituality," even wrote a book called Creating Affluence.
Asked about how he would imagine a satisfying life for himself, after 60, Leonard Cohen avoided even his own realm of activities, what inappropriately it is called “the music industry” (since music, if it is true to itself, is NOT an "industry"), and envisioned being, for example, a "simple" librarian… very nice indeed, for a change. Because, again, he didn’t envision a deceiving and ultimately criminal “Wonderland,” the kind that killed a naïve and blind Michael Jackson, for example.
It would be, instead, the house of someone who understood what truly matters in life.
Design THE HOUSE OF SILENCE.
A HOUSE FOR "JIKAN."
Please send us your work (ANY work, ANY size, ANY format) by March 1st, 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please register before the deadline to receive a registration number with which to anonymously identify your work. We will publish all the works received and we will also organize an exhibition.
THE HOUSE OF LOVE AND DEMOCRACY
Maybe Love IS Democracy…
One thing is for sure: Leonard Cohen was interested in both.
Love was, and is, CENTRAL.
But so is, was, democracy.
This nostalgic musician and poet, poet and musician, hid beneath his melancholy, a social reformer, as it should be!
And thus, as it should be, "L’effet c’est moi" became "L’effet c’est nous."
His decision was taken early: to leave the comfortable plateau of the golden boy of “romantic music and poetry” and to descend into the "dunk pile of the front-line writer."
We should follow him. But we should follow him in both directions: towards the existential angst provoked by love (and death) and towards the social angst provoked by social injustices and inequalities.
Yes, let’s try to follow him on both paths.
His certainly was THE HOUSE OF LOVE, with all the myriad of complex feelings and actions that love puts into motion, eternally.
But his was also THE HOUSE OF DEMOCRACY. There is a video with him, elegantly dressed (yet cheap, as he himself would say), on a bench with a homeless poet, it seemed.
King and Pauper… the King read the poetry of the Pauper.
The King was the Pauper and the Pauper was the King. Their roles reversed and this was Leonard Cohen’s wisdom.
At slightly over 60, this very accomplished musician and poet who could have lived in the richest of mansions, chose to live for six years in a Zen monastery, where tasks like cleaning the toilets were to be observed, if we can say so.
Indeed, how would it be to “observe” not only “national holidays”, religious holidays, and so on, but also the sacred task of cleaning a toilet that was not private?... Yes, FINDING GOD IN CLEANING A PUBLIC TOILET.
The most supreme wisdom, perhaps.
So let’s ALL clean a public toilet IN THE NAME OF LOVE AND IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY.
LOVE = DEMOCRACY.
DEMOCRACY = LOVE.
LOVE is the democracy of two human beings in love with each other.
DEMOCRACY is the love of all, towards each other.
Imagine, dear architect, THE HOUSE OF LOVE AND DEMOCRACY.
A HOUSE FOR LEONARD COHEN.
A HOUSE FOR YOU.
A HOUSE FOR ME.
A HOUSE FOR YOU.
A HOUSE FOR ME.
A HOUSE FOR US.
A HOUSE FOR “THE PLACE”
"Show me the place..." - sings, in a beautiful song, Leonard Cohen… "show me the place…"
What "place?" - you would ask…
That place where the opposites meet and where love happens.
That place where suffering, and joy, meet.
That place where Sisyphus’ stone longs towards.
That place where Eros and Thanatos are one.
That place where poets are born into and die into.
That place where between me and you there is nothing, no distance at all, except eternity, which is the shortest distance, in time.
That place where life becomes meaningful, tragic and immensely joyous at the same time.
That place where a second is eternal and eternity, a second.
That place where a square millimeter is thousands and thousands of square miles, and where between here and there, now and then, there is no frontier.
That place without barriers, where we melt into each other, joyously.
That place where fear dissolves in thin air, as if never existed.
That place where between man and woman there is no war, but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.
Yet, that very same place where the opposite might also be true, since suffering IS.
"Il n’y a pas d’amour heureux," we are told.
It seems so very true, so very often.
Yet, from both sides of the mountain, a man and a woman are rolling their stones upwards, towards the top.
They both have difficulties, great difficulties. They both can’t push “that thing,” the stone.
There are always TWO Sisyphus.
Both push their respective stones.
Design, dear architect, A HOUSE FOR TWO SISYPHUS.
For two stone pushers.
For two sufferers.
For you and me.
For me and you.
And for the stone.
All moving, pushing, arduously, towards the same place.
Show me the place…
Show me the HOUSE.
Show me THE HOUSE OF “THE PLACE.”