Communion Pt II

The nature of the shared experience of the communion is itself shaped by the objects of its focus. Works of architecture initiate emotional responses in the viewer, and so the type, quality and condition of architecture directly shapes our shared experiences of it, orchestrating the nature of its communion. Grand, imperial architecture ignites us with a sense of awe and power, the pomp of Baroque ornament fills us with a sense of luxury and high society, the delicate carvings on a wall of a Gothic church fill us with a sense of profound reverence.

On contrast, the absence of meaningful architecture, the presence of cold, utilitarian construction, bland roads and dull walls, fills the passers by with a sense of emptiness and indifference. The inhospitable walls of stone and steel make the passers by feel unwelcome, make them feel like the only purpose of those structures is to keep the contents of those buildings safe by keeping the people out. This indifference and distrust is sensed and felt by them, reflected back at the walls, experienced once more, and once again intensified, filling the people who pass the place with a toxic air of apathy and cynicism.

In shaping the objects of our shared experience the craftsman can channel and guide the energy of the communion, building in it a sense of order and purpose, imbuing it with a nature of his own devising. To neglect the objects and buildings around us, to let them take their own utilitarian course is to give up this great power and let the energy flow as it may, colliding and clashing with rival forces of past art and causing distress, or dissipating away into nothingness and leaving us in a state of empty indifference.

But to tame this energy, to carve a beautiful path for it to flow, to guide it into magnificent configurations, is to use the full power of art as the building block of civilization, creating a sense of grandiosity and awe, of history and possibility, of order and sanctity, of power and purpose. The ultimate task of the artist and the craftsman is the creation of values upon which their work is built, the values that their work embodies and promotes, so rather than serving as a mirror that reflects the audience back at themselves, their work is a golden window through which the brilliant rays of the ideal world shine through, lighting up the faces the onlookers, dispelling their troubles, igniting in their heart a fierce sense of purpose and filling their lives with meaning.

April 2013