UTILITY OF NON-EXISTENCE
"Thirty spokes converge in the hub of a wheel;
It is the center hole which makes it useful.
Mold clay to form the walls of a pot;
It is the emptiness within which gives its use.
Cut out doors and windows to make a room;
It is the space therein which makes it useful.
Therefore, we profit from the existence of things,
but are served by things which are non-existent."
Summary of the intentions of this exercise in which nothing will be what it seems.
Sometimes the most seemingly humble concepts, events, or elements of something are shown themselves as crucial over time. So, when the man became from nomadic to sedentary shepherd and stopped travelling all around with his cattle-food in tow, he replaced his home-canvass for a hut, and swapped the bindings on the legs of their cattle, during the night, for a fence. But just then, the fabric that, hanging, used to close his habitat made up of camel hair and the mobile gate that closing the fence that protected his animals, they both became doors.
In time, the growing clusters of huts were transformed into villas. And these into cities. Fences became defensive walls and the modest doors that used to protected them became the Access Gates to the cities.
Since then, the Void of Entry or the Gate will be, on the contrary, the open area that will welcome friends.
The hole in the door, "the non-existent" became at that time the most important symbolic element of cities.
Therefore, beginning from Mesopotamia, apart from the access doors to the cities, eventually appeared also other doors, the Symbolic Gates, through which the victorious armies entered into the "Glory". These were the Arcs de Triomphe, which, from Rome to our era, have become part of the architectural landscape of almost every city that can boast of a certain historical prestige.
And if we take even a step forward, we can adfirm that when we build a house we build foundations, walls, floors, partitions and roofs, but a house is useful precisely because of the gap between them, where we walk, move and live.
This exercise is intended to be part of a tour of both the forgotten symbolism of the non-existent and a reflection of what can be built with something as subtle and necessary as the Air.
José Miguel de Prada Poole