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The Kabbalah Project: Kabbalah in Art & Architecture


The Kabbalah Project (#KabbalahProject) is meant as a creative response to Alexander Gorlin's book, Kabbalah in Art and Architecture. Rather than taking an analytical or purely causal (influence-based) approach to Kabbalah in art and architecture, Gorlin creates a, "personal interpretation of the Kabbalah as a source of evocative ideas that have either inspired, or are illustrated by, significant works of art and architecture" (6). As Gorlin notes, there is something appropriate about ascribing kabbalism even where it wasn't originally intended, since Kabbalah is a "theory of correspondence with everything connected to everything else" (8).

Although I am charmed by Gorlin's book, I am curious whether the mystical ideas become mere architectural motifs rather than religiously resonant when used this way. In this project I am using twitpic and twitter to respond to Gorlin's creative seeking of kabbalistic principles in art and architecture. Unlike in my print scholarship where I am deeply interested in influence and causality in terms of mysticism in Jewish art and architecture, here I (like Gorlin) I am seeking to use examples that are both inspired by kabbalism and those that mere "illustrate" it. Although I will list my tweets below by theme, I am curious in how twitter and twitpic propose a different system of relations than print narrative. I am particularly interested in what Hayles and Simondon refer to as "The ability of technological elements to 'travel'" (Hayles 88). After one month, I will return and post my response, but I am also interested in other people's responses.

My list of themes comes primarily from Gorlin, though I have added and deleted a few to reflect my interests in gender and architecture.

Themes:

  1. The Ark, the Tent, and the Temple (#Ark, #Tent, #Temple)

  2. Heavenly Palaces and the Throne Chariot (#HeavenlyPalaces, #Throne)

  3. The Void (#Void)

  4. Sefirot (#Sefirot)

  5. Crown (#Crown)

  6. Vessels of Light (#Vessels)

  7. The Breaking of the Vessels (#Breaking)

  8. Repair (#Repair)

  9. The Firmament, Veils, & Latticework (#Firmament, #Veils, #Latticework)

  10. Crossing Gender Boundaries (#Gender)

Works Cited:

  • Alexander Gorlin, Kabbalah in Art and Architecture. NY: Pointed Leaf Press, 2013.

  • N. Katherine Hayles, How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. Chicago: U. Chicago P., 2012.

#kabbalah #kabbalahproject #religioninamericanhistory #thronechariot #heavenlypalaces #jacobsladder

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