Charlotte Rooijackers: Thought acrobatics on terms of the notion – Façade / façade

Mentor: Doreen Mende

Independent  reviewer: Walid Sadek

Arnhem, January 2012


This text is an attempt to formulate a relation to imagery as possible creators of different  physical realities. Central here is the notion of  façade. The point of entry for this text toward formulating diffe rent lines of thought, is a flaw in the software dictionary of my computer, as it gives two identical  definition of the meaning of façade. Through  the different chapters I explore  the relation of façade and  imagery,  the  façade in the vocabulary of modernist architecture, and the notion  of frontality  coined in relation to the myth of Medusa. The various considerations aim to des cribe a possibility  confront an d relate to an  existing reality; the eye as part of the body –  inhabitation on terms of what one choses to see.  


Ms. Rooijackers' text is intriguing to say the least. It is a rather digressive text, often nebulous, but punctuated with enough insights to allow for a relatively coherent reading. I recognize that the aim of this text is not the construction of a tightly argued explicatory thesis. Rather, it is primarily a series of excursuses which maintain a modicum of cohesiveness but are ultimately interested in opening as many possible interpretive venues as possible. But perhaps it is precisely here that my misgivings lie. For at many moments in the text, I encountered the ability of Ms. Rooijackers to grab my attention and articulate, in clear syntax and with an economy of words, a problematic worth pursuing. And yet, once stated, such a problematic then seems to disperse in a sea of quotes, paraphrases and interpretations which, even if interesting, tend to lose the possible generative propositions which could have been reached given more patience and rigor. But having said this much, allow me to be a little more precise within the purview of this very concise review. The pivotal proposition of Ms. Rooijackers' text is that the image as façade is a place to inhabit, and in doing so, calls for a move outside the agonistic space of true and false. A proposition, if thus correctly summarized, can quickly lead to a problematic that begins with the claims of Rabih Mroue's performance rather than conclude with it. If Mroue's work critically re-enchants – ( a paradox which out to be more carefully examined by Ms. Rooijackers) – what is often dismissed as ploys or unthinkingly adopted as revelation of a truer reality only hinted at by the image/façade, then more contextual political case studies could be much more interesting to pursue rather than the long and often verbose literature reviews on Modernist architecture or otherwise very interesting by fugitive discussions on the Medusa. There is a necessary link that is missing in the text as a whole. And my opinion is that it is the unexamined consequence of the political question of what lies outside the agonistic space of the true battling with the false. This is a question which is begged but ultimately avoided in the performance of Mroue and is consequently also missing from Ms. Rooijackers' thesis. W.S.