… they only come out a night. Augmented reality has to be considered as part of the future of humankind. There are many ways for us to add data to our lives beyond the what is there physically.This could be called metadata. In Snow Crash, a piece of hard and speculative scienc fiction by Neal Stephenson, they talk about Gargoyles: augmented reality users who are constantly feeding into the net from behind lenses like the ones above. In this novel, Stephenson used this as a derogatory term, but augmented reality can be playful and active rather than the stoicism and coldness behind what word “gargoyle” typically suggests. Augmented reality is a new form that appears personally empowering. And, as Michel Foucault said, knowledge is power.
Although carving gargoyles was a common enough occupation in the Middle Ages, there has been little work for a would-be gargoyle sculptor to sink his chisel and imagination into over the past four hundred odd years. Churches have sustained the market for sitting, standing , or air-borne saints, angels and cherubim, carved of stone or wood, right through the centuries , but gargoyles have become passé; that is until a Muslim stonemason became immortalized as a winged gargoyle at a Catholic cathedral in Lyon, France.
…”Now the priest had taught and fought through all the war, and his hair had grown white, but his eyes had grown young. And he said, “I was wrong and they are right. The sun, the symbol of our father, gives life to all those earthly things that are full of ugliness and energy. All the exaggerations are right, if they exaggerate the right thing. Let us point to heaven with tusks and horns and fins and trunks and tails so long as they all point to heaven. The ugly animals praise God as much as the beautiful. The frog’s eyes stand out of his head because he is staring at heaven. The giraffe’s neck is long because he is stretching towards heaven. The donkey has ears to hear–let him hear.” …
A Muslim stonemason who spent nearly four decades helping to restore an Roman Catholic cathedral in France has been immortalized as a winged gargoyle peering out from its facade — albeit with the inscription “God is great” at his clawed feet written in French and Arabic. This ostensible sign of inter-religious friendship is rooted in the Medieval tradition and reflects the city of Lyon’s links to its large Muslim population. However, a widely publicized outcry from a tiny extreme-right group has forced the Archdiocese of Lyon into damage control.
“I’d have to support Jeunes identitaires Lyonnais in general. It’s good to know these sorts of organized voices are still working. I hope they keep working. I hope they overthrow the Judaeo-masonic Fifth Republic and bring back a Catholic monarchy. I’m not sure this culture has been represented accurately. It must be a bad joke on a “friend” to put anything like his likeness in a gargoyle. Gargoyle’s are frightful reminders of demons and damnation. They’re not happy nor blessed. Gargoyle’s are tortured figures. Who in his right mind would feel complemented to have his face likened in a gargoyle? A Mason and a Mormon like Glenn Beck? Not me. They should put a tortured image of Glenn Beck in a gargoyle maybe. That might be funny.”
Ahmed Benzizine, a practicing Muslim born in Algeria, a former French colony, sees the gargoyle in his image as “a message of peace and tolerance.” This is a new twist on symbolic theological significance that held that even monstrous evil forces can do good work. The joke may be on Benzizine since in tangible form the gargoyle represented the ever-present threat of the devil, a reminder that prepared the worshipper to enter God’s house and seek salvation. “Good” was said to exist within the cathedral walls and “Evil” without. Benze is immortalized as the outsider and not permitted into the warmth of god’s womb.
Carl Jung observes “A symbol always stands for something more than its obvious and immediate meaning. Symbols, moreover, are natural and spontaneous products. No genius has ever sat down with a pen or brush in hand and invented a symbol. No one can take a more or less rational thought, reached as a logical conclusion or by deliberate intent, and than give it “symbolic form”. There are many symbols, however, that are not individual but collective in their nature and origin. These are chiefly religious images. The believer assumes that they are of divine origin – that they have been revealed to man.
The skeptic says flatly that they have been invented. Both are both somewhat right and wrong. . It is true, as the skeptic notes, that religious symbols and concepts have for centuries been the object of careful and quite conscious elaboration. It is equally true, as the believer implies, that their origin is so far buried in the mystery of the past that they seem to have no human source. But they are in fact “collective representations,” emanating from primeval dreams and creative fantasies. As such, these images are involuntary spontaneous manifestations and by no means intentional inventions.”
Benzizine, who arrived in France in 1970, is tickled to see his likeness on the facade of the cathedral, which dates to the 12th to 14th centuries and combines both Gothic and Roman architecture.”It looks like me except for the ears,” said the 59-year-old Benzizine. “They’re pointed like the devil. But the sculptor told me that angels have pointed ears, too.” For Emmanuel Fourchet, the sculptor who immortalized Benzizine in stone, “it was an occasion to pay tribute.”
Gargoyles can be traced back 4000 years to Egypt, Rome and Greece. Terra cotta water spouts depicting: lions, eagles, and other creatures, including those based on Greek and Roman mythology, were very common. Gargoyle water spouts were even found at the ruins of Pompeii. The first grotesque figures came from Egypt. The Egyptians believed in deities with the heads of animals and frequently replicated these deities in their architecture and wall paintings. When the Greeks saw the Sphinx, they began to incorporate grotesques into their own beliefs.
…And under the new inspiration they planned a gorgeous cathedral in the Gothic manner, with all the animals of the earth crawling over it, and all the possible ugly things making up one common beauty, because they all appealed to the god. The columns of the temple were carved like the necks of giraffes; the dome was like an ugly tortoise; and the highest pinnacle was a monkey standing on his head with his tail pointing at the sun. And yet the whole was beautiful, because it was lifted up in one living and religious gesture as a man lifts his hands in prayer. ( Chesterton )
The Greeks believed in many grotesques such as harpies, centaurs, griffins, and chimeras. Greek architects would often place statues of animals called acroterium, in the forms of griffins, at each corner of the roof of their treasuries and temples. In Greek mythology, griffins guarded the gold of Scythia from the Arimaspians, a race of one eyed giants or Cyclops, who would try to steal the gold.
For centuries scholars have asked why gargoyles inhabit their most solemn churches and institutions. Fantastic explanations have come down from the Middle Ages. Some art historians believe that gargoyles were meant to depict evil spirits over which the Christian church had triumphed. One theory suggests that these devils were frozen in stone as they fled the church. Supposedly, Christ set these spirits to work as useful examples to men instead of sending them straight to damnation. others say they kept evil spirits away. Psychologists suggest that gargoyles represent the fears and superstitions of medieval men. As life became more secure, the gargoyles became more comical and whimsical.
…But this great plan was never properly completed. The people had brought up on great wagons the heavy tortoise roof and the huge necks of stone, and all the thousand and one oddities that made up that unity, the owls and the efts and the crocodiles and the kangaroos, which hideous by themselves might have been magnificent if reared in one definite proportion and dedicated to the sun. For this was Gothic, this was romantic, this was Christian art; this was the whole advance of Shakespeare upon Sophocles. And that symbol which was to crown it all, the ape upside down, was really Christian; for man is the ape upside down…. ( Chesterton )
The term “gargoyle” is actually something of a misnomer. Technically, gargoyles have a waterspout issuing from their mouths, their function being to drain water away from the roof. (The word gargoyle shares the same root as “gargle” and comes from the Old French word gargouille which means “throat”). Figures without waterspouts are more properly referred to as “grotesques.”
So, to isolate gargoyles from a strictly medieval viewpoint, would be erroneous. However, the most famous example of horror art are the gargoyles on Notre Dame de Paris, the ancient and famous French cathedral; except these beasts, perched in saucy attitudes on the parapets are neither ancient or true gargoyles. They sprang from the imagination of the nineteenth-century restorer of Gothic monuments Viollet-le-Duc, and not from the whimsey of a thirteenth-century carver.
…But the rich, who had grown riotous in the long peace, obstructed the thing, and in some squabble a stone struck the priest on the head and he lost his memory. He saw piled in front of him frogs and elephants, monkeys and giraffes, toadstools and sharks, all the ugly things of the universe which he had collected to do honour to God. But he forgot why he had collected them. He could not remember the design or the object. He piled them all wildly into one heap fifty feet high; and when he had done it all the rich and influential went into a passion of applause and cried, “This is real art! This is Realism! This is things as they really are!”… ( Chesterton )
“…That, I fancy, is the only true origin of Realism. Realism is simply Romanticism that has lost its reason. This is so not merely in the sense of insanity but of suicide. It has lost its reason; that is its reason for existing. The old Greeks summoned godlike things to worship their god. The medieval Christians summoned all things to worship theirs, dwarfs and pelicans, monkeys and madmen. The modern realists summon all these million creatures to worship their god; and then have no god for them to worship. Paganism was in art a pure beauty; that was the dawn. Christianity was a beauty created by controlling a million monsters of ugliness; and that in my belief was the zenith and the noon. Modern art and science practically mean having the million monsters and being unable to control them; and I will venture to call that the disruption and the decay. The finest lengths of the Elgin marbles consist splendid houses going to the temple of a virgin. Christianity, with its gargoyles and grotesques, really amounted to saying this: that a donkey could go before all the horses of the world when it was really going to the temple. Romance means a holy donkey going to the temple. Realism means a lost donkey going nowhere. ( Chesterton )
I SAW a mouth jeering. A smile of melted red iron ran over it. Its laugh was full of nails rattling. It was a child’s dream of a mouth.
A fist hit the mouth: knuckles of gun-metal driven by an electric wrist and shoulder. It was a child’s dream of an arm.
The fist hit the mouth over and over, again and again. The mouth bled melted iron, and laughed its laughter of nails rattling.
And I saw the more the fist pounded the more the mouth laughed. The fist is pounding and pounding, and the mouth answering. ( Carl Sandberg, Gargoyle )