8 Pages

Travel, books & memory

Walter Benjamin and others have discussed the pitfalls of re-presentation. Ivan Gaskell, for instance, in his book on a single picture by Vermeer, Woman Standing at a Virginal of 1672 describes how a mid-19th century etching of the painting makes the woman avert her eyes. This was to have it conform with contemporary convention which held that only courtesans gazed back (Gaskell, 2000, p.135). We become aware that there has been some interference, that this is not a simple and total correspondence between the original and the re-presentation. In architecture, as in verbal translations between languages, this is in any case an impossibility; if there were total correspondence, it would be a clone of the original building.