Architect in the Square

Uriel Kon On:

Architect in the Square by Adi Sorek

One of the wonders of literature is the writing artist’s ability to detach himself from his surrounding reality, in order to apply his craft through the invention of an autonomous space created in the rhythm and aroma of his personal language. In this manner Adi Sorek operates in the literary fantasy “Architect in the Square”: she places in front of us an imaginary creature—a sallow architect—whose creation is built in the rhythm of his paces and his imagination.

However, the act of inventing the space—a type of square or garden—is planned in a process opposite to the conventional architectural process: instead of the architect first building a miniature model of the space he dreams of erecting in the future, here the garden undergoes a metamorphosis and is built in real size, in real time. Moreover, it is the architect’s own scale that changes and diminishes, in order to view the garden from a different perspective: from the perspective of Kafka’s insect. Suddenly the trees, the tiles, the colors all turn into rare objects. The new garden is ‘Wunderkammer’—a magical space that takes on an unexpected beauty due to the personal view of the observer, the architect, the reader.

The architect in the square wanders “free” of all algorithmic weight, free of all purpose. He imagines and meets prickly pear bushes, colorful places and the voice of Umm Kulthum, but not for any defined purpose. Like des Esseintes, Joris-Karl Huysmans’ iconic literary character from his book “Against the Grain”, the odd architect we encounter in Sorek’s story engulfs himself in a space built according to personal components, with the desire to move inside the text—the garden—which is but an esthetic act born, breathing and ending in the boundaries determined by the author’s game of words.