THE HOUSE OF SYPHILIS
It would be easy to dismiss this subject as having nothing to do with architecture.
Equally, learning with horror that the U.S. Government conducted “scientific” research in Guatemala, between 1946 – 1948 by intentionally infecting more than six hundred human beings with syphilis, this too seems to have nothing to do with architecture, no…?!?
In the same vein, we could say that the infamous Tuskegee experiment, also in the United States, conducted between 1932 – 1972, when poor subjects were left intentionally untreated for syphilis, again, “for the glory of science,” this too seems to have nothing to do with architecture, no…?!?
But we believe they do.
As Life does.
And as Death does.
It is horrid when we read, about these “scientific experiments.”
Could architecture fight for a more ethical world, if not for a much more sensitive, much more compassionate, much more LOVING world…?????????????????
Or at least a world in which science would rather die than indulge again in such abhorrent activities…??????????????????
Syphilis killed many people.
The “Great Imitator”, as the illness was called, since it “imitated” other illnesses, probably killed more “geniuses” than any other.
No doubt, its connection with Eros, or Sex, is responsible for this.
Great souls were and are great lovers. Or at least with a great appetite for love making. As such, prone to all kinds of excesses, many deadly.
Baudelaire, Gauguin, Manet, Smetana, Heine, Maupassant, Lautrec, they all died of syphilis…!!!!!!!!!! While others, like Nietzsche, Van Gogh, Schubert, Wilde or even Napoleon apparently had it.
The helix-shaped Treponema Pallidum, causing syphilis, is visually “interesting”, but could one employ such words when thinking of its deadly effects...?????????
We ask you to explore and give visual architectonic expression to this illness that killed not only countless human beings (geniuses or not), but also, as it was mentioned above, the most basic ethical judgments of scientists and governments alike.
Design The House of Syphilis. You can locate it in Tuskegee, Alabama, where hundreds of poor blacks were left untreated for “the glory of science,” or in Paris where Toulouse-Lautrec and Baudelaire died of it. Or in any other place, for that matter, since this terrible illness knew no frontiers.
Please send us ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that responds to the theme to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish all the works received on our website, www.icarch.us. There is an entry fee of 30E (15E for students) payable by PayPal through the registration section of our website. The registration deadline is December 23rd, 2010. The submission deadline is January 23rd, 2011. If you have any questions, please contact us.