JF Ptak Science Books Post 1104
The work of architectural delineator Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962) gives me the same sort of feeling that I get from Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York--a blistering, gritty, taut film that doesn't really add up to anything but it really doesn't matter; getting there being all of the fun...we know its just made up, even by Marvelous Marvin. We know that Mr. Ferriss wasn't going anywhere with these designs, that he wasn't going to kill us, trapped in his psycho-noir cityscapes. These designs are beautiful, and a wonderful background for something, so long as no one has to live in them. (Much more on Ferriss here.)
Why didn't I use Fritz Lang's Metropolis? The emotional (and not necessarily visual) metaphor just didn't work as well as The Gangs does for me; makes little sense, I know, because Ferriss knocked pretty loudly on Lang's door. It just didn't work for me.
In a way these designs could fit in my Blank and Empty Things category, lacking life, inspiration--even in their solitude these images have an advanced emptiness to me, moving well beyond simple solitude. Edward Hopper's 1942 Nighthawks is a painting of solitude, but it isn't necessarily empty.