Umberto Eco, The Open Work

Umberto Eco, (1932-2016) was an internationally acclaimed writer, philosopher, medievalist, professor, and the author of the best-selling novels Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose, and The Prague Cemetery.

His numerous nonfiction books include Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, Confessions of a Young Novelist, and The Open Work.

His book The Open Work is still considered significant for its concept of an openness in art (and architecture) —the creator’s decision to leave certain arrangements of a work open to the public to chance and to complete the work.

It embraces the element of multiplicity and plurality in art and the insistence of an interactive process between viewer/participant and piece/building.

The main questions Umberto Eco raises are intertwined in a continuing debate on literature, art, architecture, etc.

In terms of Perugini’s work with the Casa Sperimentale it can be seen that the family did not see the composition as the primary driving element for the design. Directed through an open and democratic process the building’s appearance is the result of this process and not the expression of the pre-existing plan or compositional vision.

In fact the current state of the Casa is merely one expression of an near infinite number of possible ‘solutions’, it is a snapshot that could be altered and extended endlessly in terms of space (extend of the structure) and variation (possible combinations within the set of elements).

Here is a link to the Open Work text LINK.

July 19, 2020