Micro-architecture: the medieval metaphor and the ultra-contemporary Westeros:
If anything is killing blockbuster cinema it would have to be the TV series. You can barely leave the house without hearing the mention of Game of Thrones. Is this what the Book of Hours did to the church service? Because once you started getting your scripture in take-home form, devotion becomes private. And the books are illustrated, the margins are lavishly decorated, peopled and animaled by loons, varmints, hellions, scalawags, madcaps, and all sorts of monstrous creatures.
How you engage with the spiritus sanctus, whether it's in church or alone in your room, has an impact on two changing modes, your inner and your outer world. Isn't this the start of the revolution to come centuries later with Luther and the protestant ideal - no intermediaries, you can interact with God without having to go through a middle man. But what is the church if not a social space? So you lose out on something else, even if you read your Book of Hours with someone else.
A parallel is obviously being drawn. The primary mode of watching TV is now online (the medium will soon likely exist only as a name and not a form), which means primarily home / bedroom bound. But technology has advanced beyond the limits of the book metaphor and it can no longer be argued that the internet makes us more solitary or socially isolated. Phone in hand, out in the street, the inner world is being extended into the outer world by the not-so-simple tools we use. We could quote Heidegger, but why would we? Technology neither necessarily causes the kind of distance he's talking about nor precludes the presence he's searching for.
Before the intellectual groans of despair about Game of Thrones taking over the facebook feeds of friends' usually stand-up friends, think about how this book is made. It's mass-produced but not created by means of a computer. The guy who did belongs of a breed who refer to themselves as pop-up engineers - and it's in some ways just as crafty as all those goddamn creatures populating medieval manuscripts. And intellectual scorn is heaped in every age, against what was here before or against what is here now. The ultra-modern are 'bored' and the luddites are scandalised, or, intriguingly, disgusted, which implies physical rejection of the foreign substance, as well as more than a hint of moral condemnation. That being said, I'm not really into Game of Thrones and I've never been a lover of paraphernalia, but a lover of lovers of paraphernalia, internet addicts, hoarders, collectors, fan lit, and people who read those TV guides that wonder about the fates and futures of tv characters whose fates have already been written: Will Amber leave Johnny for Pedro?
These illuminations are at from a livre d'Heures, or Book of Hours, illuminated by the Frères Limbourg and belonging to Jean, duc de Berry, who was brother to King Charles of France. According to Emile Mâle, the late and great scholar of the late middle ages, these scenes reveal a 15th century desire to depict continuity between the Old and New Testaments. The buildings symbolise Jerusalem and the Old Law and from these crumbling edifices a building block is handed by a prophet to one of the apostles. The apostle, for his part, is neither holding the prophet's wedding train nor wrapping him in a winding sheet, but unveiling the truth in the ancient law. Eventually the building is handed off brick by brick and integrated into a new City of God. Reminds me that in 1967 the 1831 London Bridge was dismantled brick by brick and moved to Lake Havasu in Arizona, USA, in another old 2 new world allegory. A friend told me last night that apparently they thought they were getting Tower Bridge. Maybe the Eiffel tower in China's Window of the World theme park should be mined for its meta-meaning: psycho/deep-architecture for those who won't plumb the depths of Freud's paddling pool. If anyone can tell me what can be read into this rendering of Westeros, I'm all ears.