Buildings Missed By Words

written by Gabriele Kaiser


Anyone who has tried to translate an external object – for example, a house – into a linguistic system has had an unavoidable experience: every description decomposes its object. The more meticulous the description, the more fundamental the process of decomposition. As the writing tries to get closer and closer to the observed object, the words get more and more independent, spin around themselves, instead of turning around their true object, the house. The more we think that we master the instruments of language, the direr the consequences for the object examined by those instruments. No matter how carefully we observe, a building can never be captured in writing. Even an attempt to show the observed as a neutral visual find, without interpretation, is doomed, because every concept used for the description is already a result of choice.