Caroline O'Donnell Gets Ugly . . .
Expanding on Karl Rosenkranz's Aesthetic of Ugliness
, an investigation into the "ugly . . . as a subject in itself, rather than an erroneous manifestation of the beautiful," Caroline O'Donnell defines ugliness as "something fundamentally unplanned, unexpected, not supposed to be," and as a result of unmet expectations. Varied in language yet consistent in eliciting shock and disgust, in an ability to repel, confuse, and confound, O'Donnell investigates recent ugliness in architecture as a vehicle for first a questioning of, and ultimately, a change in expectations themselves.
The amorphous is ugly only when it is supposed to have a form, yet does not. The asymmetrical is ugly only when it has previously been symmetrical and the symmetry has been destroyed . . . The issue is one of expectation.
"By provoking this constant readjustment of expectations," O'Donnell writes in Log
22, "ugliness is a motor for change," and emerges as "a condition that interests, engages, and affects the subject," thus making "our experience of the world more conscious":
In beginning to understand ugliness not as an opposite of beauty but a conditions in itself, ugliness becomes a valid architectural aspiration. . . .This marks the beginning of a movement . . . that strives for the creation of the positive ugly.
For more on ugliness, see Caroline O'Donnell's "Fugly," and Karl Rosenkranz's "Aesthetic of Ugliness," in Log
22, now available for purchase.
See the rest of Log 22